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Low Budget or Outsider Filmmaking

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Low Budget or Outsider Filmmaking
Terry Cronin, 3Boys Productions
1399 South Harbor City Blvd
Melbourne Florida 32901


 “Film will only become an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper.”
--Jean Cocteau

 Philosophy:           1) Learning in itself is good.

                              2) I am not a professional but an enthusiast.

 1. Why: Why do you want to do this?

     Everything begins with an idea. Aim the story at your strengths and your budget. Location and          

      talent.(i.e. The Melbourne causeway)

     Every project is a learning experience.

2. Writing: write it down.

       “Ask everybody, they will all tell you they’ve got ideas for movies, but if they don’t have it 

         written down it ain’t shit.” Better Duck

       HOLLYWOOD SECRET #11: Kids don't like English and Foreigners don't speak English.

        So keep the film visual. Thus, T&A and Action-Adventure.

       Remember one page equals one minute in standard format.

 Font Courier

12 point 10 pitch

12 point is the height

pitch is the number of letters in an inch.

       In the USA, you should register your script with the Writer's Guild of America. Registration  

       costs approximately $US 25 and the Guild takes a copy of your script for storage and gives

       you a registration number. This number should be displayed prominently on the cover page of

       your script.


See Example: Original Script for “Under the Bridge


3. Teamwork & Talent- develop an entourage.

       (i.e. Formation of 3Boys Productions with Bob Lizek and Pat Martin).

  Casting non-actors: use a video camera and try them out. Rehearse with the video camera.


4. Format Video vs. Film.

    Video: VHS, 8mm, Hi-8, U-matic, Beta

     Film:  Super 8, 16mm, Super 16, 35mm

     Digital: Digital 8, Mini-DV, DV and Digital Beta

         Film Stock: Studio Film and Tape 1(800)824-3130 http://www.sftweb.com

Fuji 500T 2 100’ rolls

Fuji 250 Daylight 200’ roll

                   Fuji 250 Daylight 400’ roll

total: $196.65

5.Lights and equipment Lighting package


         Microphone(s) and recorder (DAT, 4-track, cassette, videocassette)

          CRYSTAL SYNC is where the camera and the tape recording device have been

          modified so that their internal drive motors reference their speed to a crystal

          oscillation and thus maintain a highly accurate running speed.  The camera and

           recording device are not physically connected in any way, but all other

           double-system sound procedures apply;  slating, etc


7.      Shooting tips

A.     The Long shot then cutaways. Shooting ratio 1:1 or 2:1(“normal”6:1)

B.      Dolly shot Vs. Zoom- “Many filmmakers already know that a wheelchair works splendidly for dolly shots” Rick Schmidt, Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices

C.      Crane shot- Bucket truck

D.      Stills and slides (behind-the-scenes video)

E.       Food!


8. Developing and Transfer: Telecine or Rank transfer. Video is 30 fps. Film is 24 fps (Super8 18 fps)

Processing Labs

Yale Labs 1(800) 955-9253

10555 Victory Blvd

North Hollywood, CA 91606

color negative .14/foot

prep for video .02/foot

transfer to video $87.50/30 min.

Beta Tape $33.00

Monaco 1(415) 626-1100

234 9th street

San Francisco, CA 94103

Color negative .18/foot

Western Cine 1(303) 783-1020

312 South Pearl Street

Denver, Colorado 80209

Color negative .16/foot

Film Process and Transfer-Nashville

1(800) 844-1675

color negative .18/foot

Cine Atlanta 1(800) 633-1448

color negative .13-.15/foot

transfer to video $225/hour

Beta tape $45.00


9.   Editing: Linear vs. Non-linear

                Deck to Deck

                Media 100 at the Alliance.

                Desktop Editing.

                Capture cards and FireWire

 10.  Budget

          Budget for “Under the Bridge” 1998


1.       Film stock 1000’ 16mm Fuji stock             203.18

    Studio film and tape 1(800) 824-3130

2.       Processing Yale Labs                                   375.85


3.       Lights and equipment                                      30.00


4.       DAT recorder                                                  50.00

5.       Cameraman: Julian Martin                           200.00

6.       Production asst, stills and sound:                 150.00

       Abel Klainbaum

7.       Editing: Abel Klainbaum                              150.00

8.       Media 100 Alliance                                      300.00

9.       Set construction supplies                                   71.56

10.    Bucket truck                                                  50.00

11.    Stills: film and processing                                72.01

12.    Dolly construction                                            55.00

13.     4 track rental Florida discount music            40.00

14.    Gas for Julian’s car                                          15.00

15.    Microphone                                                     31.80

16.    Beta tape                                                         28.62

17.    DAT tape                                                            8.50


Total                                                                          $1681.52


11. Premiere, Press, Critics and Festivals.

      Hype!   Old Hollywood Proverb: “There is no such thing as bad press.”

    “Send out invitations, invite the press, invite the people that turned you down, then watch what 

      happens  when you see them, they will know now that you make movies, and that you DO what

      NOBODY, but Speilberg, you, Lucas, Tarentino, you, Scorsese, you, do...and that’s make

       movies!” ---Better Duck

  “Although the story concept was solid, I think the urination scene was too strong to show to an

     all- ages audience.”-- Kris Kemp, FLO Film Fest, West Palm Beach


12. Accumulate information

 A. Experience.--Be an extra in as many movies as you can.

 B. Film School/classes

C.    Contacts- Alliance/IFP-South -http://www.alliance-cinema.org    

                                                       IFP website - http://www.ifp.org

                       210 2nd Street Miami Beach FL 33139 (305)-538-8242

                        E-mail: bsherer@bigfoot.com (Barron Sherer)

                        The Florida Blue Sheet

                        7238 Hiawassee Oak Drive Orlando, FL 32818-8360 (407) 292-7458

                        E-mail: Bluesheet@aol.com

D. Books that I found helpful

                Lee R. Bobker with Louise Marinis, Making Movies From Script to Screen, Harcourt 

                 Brace Jovanovich 1973

                Edward Pincus and Steven Ascher, The Filmmaker’s Handbook, Plume/Penguin 1984

                David W. Samuelson, Motion Picture Techniques, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd 1984

                Rick Schmidt, Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices, Penguin Books 1993

 E. Helpful Internet Sites

Super8 Sound 

2805 West Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505 

phone: 818-848-5522 fax: 818-848-5956 e-mail s8s@worldnet.att.net 


Betterduck Productions


Rick Schmidt’s Feature Filmmaking At Used Car Prices


Alex's Guide To No-Budget Filmmaking


Cyber Film School


Scriptwriting Secrets


Ben Model's homepage (OIFFS)—How Ben was ousted from film school

and still made a hugely successful (2 thumbs up!) no-budget feature.


Kevin Smith (CLERKS) and crew


A Screenwriter's World O' Links

This is the place for all your screenwriting questions.


Screenwriters & Playwrights Home Page


Drew's Scripts-O-Rama which contains archives and pointers to a large number of scripts on the Net.









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