Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ideas For Low Budget Movie Makers

We live in an era in which extravagant CGI effects have become commonplace, whether one is talking about the depiction of real world events like the sinking of the Titanic or the depiction of fantasy worlds like the worlds described by JRR Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings books and their predecessor The Hobbit. Such effects are undoubtedly expensive, though, and not all filmmakers have access to budgets that big. What's an aspiring movie maker to do if he can't raise the capital?

One idea is to make a movie like The Blair Wolf Project. It looked like an amateurish video, but that was part of its realism, or so I've been told. (Other than seeing brief clips from the movie, I never actually saw it, but I hear that it sold well enough to justify the money the movie makers spent making it. $248 million dollars worldwide isn't chump change. Not bad, considering that it cost $35,000 to make.)

Another movie which had a feel of realism was the 1972 movie The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. Or Jimmy Blacksmith, depending on whether you prefer the spelling on the cover of the book on which the movie was based. The movie depicted the horrid murder committed by an Australian aborigine and his friends, and the thing which impressed me the most about the scened in which the murder was portrayed was the fact that it was shot from a middle distance, almost as if it was a documentary, rather the normal way of filming such scenes in most American movies. Of course, the perception that it was similar to a documentary may actually have been enhanced with some fairly sophisticated movie special effects. It felt very real when one of the murderers chopped of the head of a person attempting to flee the scene. (Well, actually, "chopped off" might be overstatement. As I recall, he more or less scalped the guy.)

Another idea is to make a movie which is totally driven by dialogue (in other words, by ideas), as was My Dinner With Andre. That was a movie which would have worked just as well as a stage play, although the movie makers chose to make a movie instead. I remember being impressed with the fact that there were no chase scenes, no special effects, and pretty much no action scenes. Even if one had been comparing it to old-style movies such as the ones made by stars like John Wayne or Audrey Hepburn, that was a pretty impressive feat. I couldn't help but think that such a movie might have worked well as a means of presenting a scene or story in which a Christian believer would attempt to share the gospel of Christ with an unbeliever like Penn Jillette, the atheist who stupidly wants to be allowed to keep his Christmas even though he denies that there was anything special about Jesus Christ (or at the very least, that there is or was any real God).

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