In independent filmmaking, as in life, people often shy away from talking about money. Nobody wants to talk about where they got it because they're paranoid that someone may steal their connection à la Derek Foreal in "Blow". It is also considered rude to ask the specifics of a film budget and the figures are rarely volunteered unless they are being boasted for effect. Some filmmakers are embarrassed that people will think they either overspent for a mediocre looking final product or were too inept to raise a sufficient amount. But being vague and mysterious about money only serves to distance the independent filmmaker from colleagues as well as anyone with a genuine curiosity about the process.
Our first short film in 2004 "The Clockmaker" cost about $1000. That money went to buying an $800 camera, DV tape stock, and any props and wardrobe that we couldn't beg, borrow, or steal. We didn't even have money to feed the actors, who were of course, unpaid.
7 years later, we spent $1000 to shoot a 2 minute teaser scene for "Dysphonia", the feature film this blog is dedicated to. This time we fed and paid the actors and crew that we could. Others worked for free out of kindness and because they liked the script and wanted to help to get it made. The teaser was produced to introduce people to the look and feel of the script and hopefully create interest in the potential for the full film. The budget of "Dysphonia" as detailed in our business plan is $187,000. This is a loose figure based upon similar films with a comparable number of locations, actors, makeup FX, and shooting schedule (4 weeks). We believe we can produce the 114 page script for this amount of money and convince both cast and crew to work for a lower or deferred salary based on the strength of the material and the ability to secure distribution when the film is completed.
We were realistic when we released the teaser that while we hoped people would respond positively to it, nobody was going to write a check to a company unproven in producing a feature film of that scale and budget size. So, we have decided to produce a feature horror film cheaply ($2,000-$5,000) that we could raise the money for quickly, produce independently, edit, and self distribute. Any money made from this smaller film would go toward the production of "Dysphonia". It would at least show we could handle production of a feature length horror film and prove I could direct it.
In the coming weeks, we will be launching an Indiegogo page to help raise the funds to produce "Veil". There will be information about the film on the page as well as our website www.tensundays.com/veil.html. We've refrained from using crowdfunding sites in the past but we think this is the perfect project to try it out. Production will take place in Virginia & West Virginia this summer and of course there will be excellent perks for those who donate. Anyone interested in helping but unable to donate money can contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.