A $17,000,000 Movie

28 Sep

During our record-breaking 113-degree day in Los Angeles yesterday, I had the opportunity to be on the set of a $17,000,000 feature film.  My friend is the director of photography, so I was able to get close to the action and observe.  Including the on-set medic and retired police officers, there must have been 50-60 people there, and that’s not including all the folks working behind-the-scenes elsewhere!

As I stood watching, I couldn’t help compare my tiny production with the spectacle before me.  I kept thinking the set-design alone for that one location probably cost more than my film will all together.  However, in the end, the most indelible impression left on me was the realization that they were doing exactly what I and my crew did, except at a much larger scale.  There simply were a lot more people because there were a lot more variables to control.

Like most Hollywood productions, my friend and his crew film less than 3 script pages per day on average.  Me and my crew, on the other hand, averaged 11 pages per day.  Efficiency has nothing to do with it.  The crew yesterday was professional and worked very hard.  Everyone stayed on task and kept alert.  It simply comes down to variables and they had a lot more to deal with.

My film was intentionally designed and developed to minimize variables.  We had one primary location and the story takes place within 24 hours.  That’s why about 8 of us were able to film it all in 7 days!  It all comes down to variables…



2 Responses to “A $17,000,000 Movie”

  1. Susan September 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    I keep thinking that “Once” which is now one of my favorite films was made in 3 weeks for 130,000 euros.

    • Christopher September 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

      Great example, Susan. It’s so true. In the end, people simply want to watch and support a film that is well-made, regardless of budget. I’m not against big-budget films. I’m just against the notion that you need a lot of money to make a good film. That’s the biggest lie a ton of filmmakers sadly still believe…

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