Everyone who picks up a camera eventually gets the delusion they can make a feature film. Actually, delusion isn’t the right word. Anyone can fill 90 minutes worth of, ‘time.’ But executing at a level of excellence, where you can sit through a screening without making excuses about the budget, the sound, replacing actors and such, that is the actual goal.
I often calm my own feature-mania with a few practical questions:
- Have you shot a twenty minute piece that you’re absolutely happy with? (If not, then why try for ninty?)
- Do you have a team around you that can support you in your endeavor with the budget you have available? (It’s a long haul carrying all of these pieces and DIY’ing everything by yourself)
- Do you have a couple years to set a side and get this done?
This last question is addressed excellently by Brendan Nagle, winner of Best film and Audience Prize at the 2012 Hollywood and Vine Film Festival.
Film days take interminably longer than you might expect. 30 days easily streach to 40, at which point, you’ve really got to manage your resources. On a studio set, it’s easy to spend $20,000- 30,000 per hour of a production day. Be even on the barest, shoe stringy-est of budgets, production days are going to cost you money, social equity and the confidence of your cast and crew.
And post. Even when you do edit your project yourself… who’s going to do the sound score? Who’s going to do the sound design? Who’s going to do the color correction? Motion graphics? These are totally diffrent expertise, be careful shouldering all of these burdens yourself – you might never finish a project.
Brendan talked to us about other challenges he had during shooting his first feature. As he mentions, he’s not ‘finished’ with the film two years after starting it, but he’s gotten some recognition in a small film festival, and he’s moving on.