Diary of a Feature Film.

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That mind-numbing word which plagues both corporate films and entertainment projects alike…the one word that any producer knows can be an absolute conversation stopper with his creative team:

“We’ve come up with a fantastic 3D animation concept for the XYZ new product launch!”

“Yeah, looks great…but we don’t have the budget…”

Shooting the thriller genre feature film American Romance on location in the Pacific Northwest on an “ultra-low budget” was always going to be a challenge. To sell any movie in this new Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) world which is dominated by Netflix and Amazon is not easy without a slate of A-listers in the cast and ultra-high-end production values. We were blessed with a troupe of hard-working, talented actors (Jon Savage – “The Godfather Part III”, “The Deer Hunter”; Daveigh Chase – “The Ring”, “Donnie Darko”; Mark Boone Jr – “Memento”; “Sons of Anarchy”; “Batman Begins”); together with an amazing production team. The shoot lasted a carefully scheduled 17 days and every eventuality was planned for other than coping with the occasional equipment failure which is trickier than you might think when you’re filming in Post Falls, Idaho.

Surround yourself with good people

The key to the project’s success could be summed up in one word: “professionalism”. We would loved to have had more money to spend but were forced to work with what we had and so hand-picked a team of professionals that would instinctively know just how to do that. Making films, for business or for the big screen, is a collaborative process and knowing how to stretch limited funds to engage and impress an increasingly sophisticated audience is key. Of course, budget will often be dictated to a large extent by casting, shooting days, locations and (most importantly) the script……and we’ll take a closer look at these in future posts. But it’s never ceased to amaze me how not enough money can be more than compensated for by bundles of passion and commitment.