I was hepped to this article via The Adventures of Superseven‘s official page on Facebook: Jerry Kokich‘s How To Make A Web Series that he wrote for Filmmakingstuff.com. In it he gives some great advice when it comes to indie filmmaking using his own experience producing the Superseven web-series. And I think he brings up some great points in his article, but the main one is that many hopefuls waste their time (and money!) on the tech side when it’s the creative one that really matters. And that’s something I’ve been trying to tell people for years. You think you need a zillion dollar’s worth of equipment in order to make that masterpiece? No, all you need is a good, compelling story (or just a plain entertaining one!) and people will watch it even if you shot it on your darn iPhone.
In the end tech means very little. Sure, it can add a nice polish to an already good product, but – as the old musician’s proverb go – you can’t polish a turd pal. And that’s one of my main problems with today’s film industry. I’m gonna use Alien 4 as an example: I’ve done lighting on small local indie projects (and I’ve learned my fair share of available tricks when it comes to film editing) and from a strict technical point that movie is just perfect. Each scene is an individual masterpiece and is nothing short of breathtaking when it comes to scenery, lighting, camera filtering and editing. Still, I find it duller than watching the lawn grow. In November. The story is a hack-job at best, the characters pure cardboard and the dialogue is so excrutiatingly bad I can almost enjoy it on a pure ironic level. I have no idea how much it made at the box office, but I seriously doubt it had the same impact as Alien or the follow-up Aliens. Compare that to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (yep, Angry Old Fart is gonna bring up Tobe Hooper‘s classic once again!) or John Carpenter‘s Halloween that were shot on a beat-up old 16 mm camera (although I think Carpenter went with 35) with an inexperienced crew of enthusiasts, starring noob actors and for laughable budgets somewhere around $300,000.
That’s all you need. Enthusiasm and a great story. Don’t get stuck on the tech hooplah because chances are you’re gonna find yourself paralyzed by it. The average viewer is willing to accept a lot if he or she is truly entertained by your product. And to people that insist on the tech-talk (and FYI there’s a lot of that when it comes to music as well) I’ve got the same question I’ve had for years: So what typewriter did John Steinbeck use?
Anyway, it’s a great article. Read it here.