Sunday, 9 August 2009

Do you want to do this the easy way… or the hard way?

By the Production Team

12 days principle photography, a budget of £6,000 and nine months from first draft to premiere. The result - a 110 minute feature film entitled Ambleton Delight, starring a respected British actor. However, as is so often the case, sometimes the making can be an equally interesting story!

This blog will reveal how it was done, with tips, contacts, photographs, production notes, links to free software, interviews, guest blogs and video clips. Everything we would like to have known before we started, but had to learn the hard way, so you don’t. And that leads us to the first and most vital piece of information that easily rolls off the tongue but the reality is undeniable: It is hard. By this we mean REALLY HARD!

When we began the production some people thought it was a joke; they doubted if we could really complete it without the necessary connections and money (the so called ‘easy way’). We couldn’t help but feel slightly patronised as those ‘in the industry’ (whatever that means!) shared knowing glances and shook their heads sympathetically at our naiveté. Our intended budget of £5,000 didn’t even register on their scales –it is labeled ‘no budget’ (by comparison £100,000 is considered ‘micro-budget’). Filmmaking is an extremely expensive business - £5,000 is what many productions would spend on a day’s catering. (Note: in this blog we will use the more accurate description of ‘next-to-nothing budget’). So this was not going to be easy.

But with a lot of hard work and passion we did pull it off without the requisite industry connections and financing. So no matter who you are –from a high budget producer looking at ways of saving money, to a struggling filmmaker without any- we are sure there are going to be some gems in here that will prove valuable to your production. Some of you might have family members or friends involved in making films, prioritising their dreams over a stable full time job. Hopefully we can give you a glimpse of what they are going though and what it takes to get a feature off the ground.

But don’t think we are claiming to know it all -actually far from it. Film making is a strange and capricious business. And no two experiences are ever going to be the same. A paint by numbers approach is never going to work. So while there are plenty of guidelines and rules we found that intentionally or otherwise we blatantly disregarded most of them. So maybe this blog may not just enlighten and inspire you, but also be a guide for how not to do it!

Finally, we also see this as a collaborative blog –maybe you have some tips and information you can add. The blog will be presented in the chronological order of production and based around key phases. Feel free to add comments, reflections, suggestions.

‘Nothing difficult is easy,’ as they say. So we’ll show you how we did it... the hard way!

Ambleton Delight Production Team

Production team on location (left to right): Dan Parkes (Director/Producer), Sinéad Ferguson (Producer/Production Designer), Itsuka Yamasaki (Writer/Producer)

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