Backwards Filmmaking

29 Apr

A sneak preview of the ultra-low-budget film, Footprints, screened at the Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood last night.  The film follows a young amnesiac who mysteriously finds herself lying face down next to Doris Day’s footprints at Graumans Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.  The entire film takes place on or near Hollywood Boulevard over the course of one day.

There was a Q&A after the film with its writer/director/producer Steven Peros and many cast and crew.  Mr. Peros emphasized that he created the film “backwards,” meaning, he began with the budget and wrote, produced and directed accordingly.  Though he wouldn’t disclose the actually amount, he made it very clear that he had very little to work with.

Nonetheless, Footprints was an impressive film with excellent performances.  Though the film lacked expensive elements that typically sweeten a movie, it had heart and integrity.  I’m eager to do the same.

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3 Responses to “Backwards Filmmaking”

  1. Joletta April 29, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    It’s so interesting to think of a film being inspired by its budget. I definitely agree that a small budget can lead to originality, as it seems to be the case with Footprints.

  2. Chuck Norton April 29, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Nice. What do you think about this Chris?? It seems that at the end of the day that your making the FILM(aka – the concept, dream, artistic expression – etc) based upon budget instead of BUDGET based upon film.

    For making $$ this is of course what many people do in business world. But for an artists, it seems like the dream is filtered down to whatever the budget is.

    Does that make sense? I’m curious as to your thoughts.

    • Christopher April 29, 2010 at 11:06 am #

      Hey Chuck, you’re completely right. Micro-budget filmmaking begins with the budget, in most cases. High costs are a brutal reality in filmmaking, as opposed to singing or painting in general. So, if you plan on actually producing your film, you must conceive of an idea that will not cost too much.

      Many aspiring filmmakers dig themselves into a deep hole by writing a script that demands expensive production elements, so they either go into major debt and/or never complete the film – it’s sad, actually. In fact, Steven Peros, the maker of FOOTPRINTS, stated that he has 4 scripts he was trying to find investors for but couldn’t, so he wrote FOOTPRINTS with a tiny budget in mind.

      As to a budget squelching the imagination…I personally believe it enhances the imagination and forces creativity. The filter you speak of is good: it sifts out default big-budget thinking and forces one to rely on craft, innovation, and the performances. Like you’ve heard me say, it’s thinking outside the box, inside the box. Even a billion dollar movie has a billion dollar box!

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