How To Make A Feature Film For 25K

Few feature films have racked up cultural significance or conquered cinematic feats while made on ultra (ultra, ultra... ultra) low budgets. There's the 1977 experimental, horror masterpiece that is "Eraserhead", which was wildly celebrated auteur David Lynch's 10K  budget debut into the realm of feature filmmaking. There are the found-footage horror gems "The Blair Witch Project: (made for 25K) and "Paranormal Activity" (made for 15K), the neo-Western action film that put Robert Rodriguez on the map, "El Mariachi" (made for 7K), and the clever neo-noir "Following" (made for 6K) by a then novice Christopher Nolan. 

Then there are the directors who made their impression on the indie film world with their low-budget contributions, oftentimes shaking up what was considered acceptable and palatable for large audiences. There are a handful of 90's cult classics that delivered filmmakers like Kevin...

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Writing Film Treatments: Why & How To Write Your Treatment

 

You have a story to tell, but before you embark on the process of writing the script, consider writing a treatment. A film treatment is a sexy outline of your story, a roadmap, a detailed synopsis of your film or visual project (music videos, commercials, etc.). It contains all the essential elements of your film, such as the core concept behind your story, significant scenes, main character arcs, and crucial plot points. It's purpose is to sell your story to a potential producer or investor but it's a valuable tool as part of the development process as well. It helps you explore the world in which your story lives, aids in nailing down the tone and genre of your project, and allows you to work out other kinks in plot points.

A treatment is the written pitch that can convince the reader, or in the case of our MAKE YOUR FEATURE COMPETITION, our investors (multiple) and producers (that's us - WMM) to want to read the full script. The basics...

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POV: Hobbyist To Award-Winning Filmmaker

 

Meet Robert Philipson of Shoga Films, a former professor of African-American studies, published author, and Harlem Renaissance historian. His work encompasses the intersectionality of race, music, & sexuality, through the unique lens of a queer Jewish man. An accomplished filmmaker of multiple award-winning films, Philipson has carved out a niche space for himself and his collaborators. WMM had a chance to catch up with him, in anticipation of his latest short film, Smoke, Lilies, and Jade.

WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as a filmmaker?  

RP: I grew up in Pasadena and pretty much lived in California (undergrad at UC Santa Cruz) until I went to Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1974-77. As a result of that experience, I worked towards a degree in Comparative Literature with a specialty in Black and African literature. Unable to get a tenure-track position, I left academia in the early 90s...

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POV: Community Is Everything For Filmmakers

In anticipation of the We Make Movies Creative Services launch, we thought we would chat with its Creative Director, Steven LaMorte. A director at heart, who enjoys empowering other people, and producer by trade, who produces like a director, Steven has made a name for himself as a special effects artist through his company Sleight of Hand Productions. He teamed up with WMM to teach mobile filmmaking to students of all ages all over the globe, and discovered the culture and values around filmmaking we embrace match his own sensibilities. He wishes to be the producer that he wishes he had while learning to make films, and considers himself to be "like mom and dad - I want you to have the sun, the moon, and the stars, but also be aware of budget." Welcome aboard, Steve!

WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as a filmmaker?  

SL: I'm originally from Staten Island, New York. Growing up as an only child,...

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POV: DIY Filmmaking With Style

We had a chance to sit down with the dedicated Chief of Production of We Make Movies, Eric Michael Kochmer. As a longtime member of the collective, he has always made himself available to the community, while broadening his own skillsets as he made his films. His tireless efforts to bolster fellow indie filmmakers led to the development of the production services offered through our production company. He is industrious, kind, and enterprising, but what makes him tick? We asked him!

WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as a filmmaker?  

EMK: I grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania and then I moved to New York City to study experimental theater. I’ve always had an interest in the peculiar which turned into a passion for the avant garde. Work that pushes the traditional boundaries of style and form, as well that pushes the envelope on what is appropriate and comfortable. Now...

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