This is a guest post from Evan Kidd, an independent filmmaker whose first no-budget feature Son of Clowns is currently playing the festival circuit and gearing up for its VOD release on Amazon next month. You can keep up with him on twitter.
Evan's also written two previous posts about Son of Clowns for this site, both of which are provide some helpful insights into the tricky logistics of the no-budget filmmaking process. Check 'em out below.
It’s been one busy summer. And that's just how I like it.
Set against the absurd general climate of the human population right now (lol politics), I’ve been on the festival circuit with my film about a circus, Son of Clowns, directing a new short film & releasing an old one, and attempting to write an 8 episode micro-budget series called Home Remedy.
All while preparing for the November 15th VOD release of Son of Clowns.
No pun intended, but it’s a little like being a full time circus performer. Juggling is a required skill in this field.
But how do we juggle not only being the sole driving force behind the creation of our independent films, but also ensure they are seen as well? That's the part no one talks about. Not film schools, film festivals, or industry insiders.
Here's the key. You ARE the industry when you create micro-budget cinema.
What I mean by that is you are the sole driving force behind the success of your project. You get to decide what kind of filmmaker you want to be. You get to create your own opportunities.
Don’t care about people seeing your work? No problem. Your film will sit in the ocean of shorts that is YouTube & Vimeo. But I slightly doubt that's what you want. Right?
To be seen, watched in full even, that's the goal for most of us, but it's also something that is becoming increasingly difficult to swing nowadays.
Of course, with social media it’s easier than ever to fire off some tweets and call your film marketable. But we're fooling ourselves if we think that's enough. We have to do more. Be more.
We have to juggle.
What I mean by that is to simply have more than one ball (film) in the air at all times. To truly juggle will open you up to more possibilities than that one project you’ve been hung up on for a year and a half.
In fact, that's been my exact relationship to my feature film Son of Clowns.
See, filmmaking is quite fascinating when you break it down structurally. Making a film is probably one of the most intense and time sensitive things you could attempt to do in this life. But what comes after that is both parts easy and incredibly difficult.
When your film is finished you enter what I like to call the cooling period. You've taken the proverbial casserole out of the oven, but it’s not quite ready for consumption. No matter how hungry you may be.
You’ll likely take it to film festivals, develop a marketing campaign, do a press tour, or any other combination of tasks to ensure that once you release your film it is actually seen.
Very few of us have the luxury of a Beyonce style surprise release. But that's okay. We can’t all be Beyonce.
For the rest of us we’ll have to settle for keeping the momentum going. It may sound counterproductive to have more going than the one “big” or “main” project you want to focus on. But it can actually be helpful.
Of course, some might argue that focusing on multiple projects at once will ruin the quality of all of them. Perhaps there's some truth to that, but in the end, that idea comes from the fact that we're probably chasing perfection in everything we do.
Here's a quick video I made about why perfection is impossible.
Now let's get back to the topic of juggling. Allow me to return to the music industry once more for example. Let’s look at Frank Ocean.
This summer Frank Ocean was set to finally release his highly anticipated follow up to his 2012 debut “Channel Orange”. However a few days before this big release he dropped a surprise album “Endless” that was completely standalone. It literally had nothing to do with the “main course” so to speak that his fans were truly vying for. But thats alright.
Did anyone ask for this other album? No. Did some write it off by the time the main album was released. Of course. But it did something very interesting, it got more folks talking about Frank Ocean. And in turn put even more eyeballs on his main album outside of his core fans.
Simply put, Frank Ocean steered the conversation away from his main focus only to have it return to it twice as strong.
Again. It’s an entirely different industry from the world of filmmaking we all inhabit. But I feel there are some strong takeaways here.
Instead of focusing on one project for years and years, please be okay with embarking on side artistic endeavours. It’s only healthy.
Our industry has a way of creation which says you make on thing, put it out, and move on. But for most of us indie and no-budget filmmakers, it's perhaps more helpful to keep on juggling. Any one of those projects could be the one that sets you up for success with the rest.
So let's shuffle the deck, shall we?
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