We never got why some hotdogs cost £6 in ironic “Diners” and others cost 34p in Aldi (of course we later found out that it was because there was so much ground up pigeon meat in the latter but that’s not the point.) Our point being; people like to feel that when they pay more, they are getting more, but sometimes you can get the same thing much, much cheaper with the same results (although sometimes with a bit more pigeon). As our New York tranny pal LaFonda was saying to us the other day “don’t matter whether a bitch gets her bag from Primark or Armani, she still carrying her shit around in it all day.” We feel exactly the same way LaFonda does about bags about films. Some films really don’t need a massive budget to do the same job as the films shot on a shoestring; they can still make you laugh, cry and scream if they’re good enough, whether they were made for a few thousand or a few million.
All this waffle felt relevant as we are starting to apply for the BFI’s £5000 ishorts budget. This is just a flipping fabulous sounding initiative from the BFI to help emerging filmmakers turn fantasy to reality. We’ve always been fans of doing more with less (check out the music video we made for £50) and with even the smallest budget in our hands, we feel we could make something ripping!
With that in mind we started looking for examples of people doing more with less in the world of film, and found (to our utter delight) that most of our film heroes started their intimidating careers with short films or features they’d made on a wing, a prayer and probably a few sexual favours.
Case In Point
- David Lynch – Eraserhead
The film spent YEARS (4) in principal photography, on and off, as the tide of funding for Lynch’s $100,000 directorial debut ebbed and flowed. The man lived in a barn and made the props himself in order to get his (hideous) baby shot and made! His friends made repeated donations to help their buddy whilst Lynch worked as a paper-boy during filming to pay for the crews lunches. Dedication. It grossed $7 million and launched his career. SCORE
2. Pi – Darren Aronofsky
Made for $60,000 the film was Aronofsky’s directorial debut and won him the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Oh, and it grossed over $3 million despite a limited release. BOOYA
This is an obvious one. Fucking. Terrifying. Apparently it only costs around $25,000 to make something that scary. Filmed over eight days it went on to gross $248 million worldwide. WOWZA
4. Napoleon Dynamite – Jared and Jerusha Hess
5. Paranormal activity – Oren Peli
Another one using the same “found footage” technique as The Blair Witch project, costing a paltry $15,000 to make it grossed $193 million. Wish someone would “find” some footage for us.
So you see kids, dreams CAN come true and making a feature on nothing isn’t as wild eyed crazy as it seems. Just go do it!