June 11, 2001 - News from A Rendezvous With Audrey #2
Actor's headshots and resumes are coming in daily! We will hold auditions at the end of June. Filming is scheduled for the last two weekends of July and the first weekend of August. We won't actually need that much time but we want to allow for weather and various people's schedules.
Of course this is guerilla filmmaking! That means do everything as inexpensively as possible but still come up with a quality, entertaining product.
The average big studio movie budget last year was $85 million to shoot and distribute one film. The average small studio film cost $20 million. Big name stars get $10 to $20 million per film.
With these kinds of numbers how can a small independent filmmaker stand much chance of getting his/her film seen?
Every year a few successful films are made for a tiny fraction of the cost of the Hollywood productions. One recent example was the "Blair Witch Project". A few years ago Robert Rodriguez used $7,000 he got mostly from having medical experiments performed on his body to create the successful "El Mariachi" which started him on a career in Hollywood.
The tradition of independents making successful films on shoestring budgets goes back many years. In the 50s Roger Corman was making classic 'B' movies like "Little Shop of Horrors" in two days on minuscule budgets.
But it's not just a matter of getting some friends together and shooting some film. With a tiny budget there's no margin of error so it is even more important to plan every detail, starting with a great script.
Like any good script it needs to grab the audience's interest right away and keep their attention right to the end. But on a shoestring budget you can't have a cast of thousands, exotic locations and other eye-candy. So you write for a small cast and keep it simple so you only need a small crew and a few, free, contemporary locations. Even if everyone will work for free you still need to feed them, which isn't free, so keep the head-count small.
Some additional rules are
No children or animals - too hard to control and possible legal complications.
No special props, gunfire, weapons and stunts - expensive and dangerous.
The script for A Rendezvous With Audrey was created with all these things in mind.