GOOD

How To: Win Film Festival Gold on a Shoestring

Affordable technology, low-to-no cost distribution channels like YouTube, and a proliferation of film festivals have all lead to the democratization of filmmaking. You don't need a blockbuster budget to make a good movie, but you'll still need skill and know-how. We recently turned to Jackson Adamsand Jenna Lyng, two award-winning young filmmakers and recent graduates of Emerson College, for some tips to make a quality movie on a shoestring budget.

1) Simple storytelling. The key to avoiding a costly production starts with the script. Focus your story around elements that you know you have access to. Unless you've got a friend with plenty of pull at Grand Central Station, avoid writing scenes at the helm of a runaway train.


2) It takes a village. Don't be afraid to get help from family and friends. Filmmaking is a collaborative process, and your production will require a lot of support. Do you know a carpenter who might be willing to lend a hand to the production? Maybe hire some students on your crew. They'll be some of the hardest workers. They may even hook you up with student discounts on anything from a lighting kit to any number of postproduction services.

3) Engage your fans. Whether it's your hometown or a special interest group, find the people who are enthusiastic about this project. Use Facebook and Twitter to spread word about your film. Get your community interested from the get-go and you'll not only have an easier time finding support during production, but you'll have built an audience for the finished film.

4) Choose your format. Film used to be the only way to go, but in the age of HD video, the possibilities for shooting gorgeous footage on the cheap are endless. Film will almost always be the more costly choice after the price of the stock, the processing, and the video transfer. If you shoot video, make sure you have the proper editing system to handle your files.

5) Strategic scouting. Choose locations where you can easily get permission to film your movie. Consider looking beyond urban areas, as smaller towns are more likely to help you out at no extra charge. Keep your locations clustered to save money on transportation costs and time.

6) MacGyver it. Substitute some of your equipment with tools from your garage. Use Chinese lanterns for soft lighting. Borrow a wheelchair or a shopping cart instead of renting a dolly. Buy some white and metallic cardboard at the corner store for lighting bounce. Nobody will judge your rag-tag equipment if you save thousands of dollars.

7) Use the sun. Shoot as much as you can outside and during the day. Natural lighting saves you money on expensive lights and generators, and it looks great. If you shoot during the summer, you'll have longer hours to work with.

8) Splurge on sound. Invest in good sound equipment and an experienced sound recordist and designer. Sound is one of the common weaknesses in student and low-budget independent film. Get it right the first time. Your actors will appreciate it and so will your audience.

9) Take your time. Don't rush if you don't have to. Storyboard every scene and make accurate lighting overheads for each set-up. Visit every location with your key crew and make sure they know the plan. On-set, make sure to get a satisfying take, even if it takes a while to get there—you'll have to cut bad footage anyways. Get plenty of coverage (i.e. footage), and never say "we'll fix it in post production." No matter how much you plan, you'll always wish you had more angles to work with. Do whatever you can to avoid costly reshoots.

10) Bask in indie film glory. Remember to invite all of your supporters to the premiere.

Jackson Adams has been making short films since he was twelve years old. He was recently selected from a pool of young filmmakers at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth—where his short film Warren Bud and His Propeller Plane won an Audience Award—to film and produce a short film profiling Pepsi Refresh Grantee Operation Gratitude.

Jackson and Jenna were recently selected from a pool of young filmmakers at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth—where their short film

Warren Bud and His Propeller Plane won an Audience Award—to film and produce a short film profiling Pepsi Refresh Grantee Operation Gratitude.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIlUKCrzw_s

This post originally appeared on www.refresheverything.com, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or submit your own idea today.

Articles

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture