I think indie film makers also deal with alot of issues that either don't effect big Hollywood films or they are effected by them but the studios simply fix the issues quickly and quietly. As an indie film maker I work with either a very low budget or no budget at all. and things have to fit into that budget even if it hurts the final product, which it often does do the cost of props, makeup, costumes etc. see when a bid studio movie runs into an issues they have the resorces to fix the issue quickly with little to no stress involved while in the indie film game if we run out of money we're screwed and alot of film makers just quit and move on, I had to make alot of tough calls on set, a good example would be during the final weekend of shooting an actress who had a big part in that days schedule did a no show and we were scrambling to figure out what to do without her, when my EP (executive producer) called her to find out where she was she simply said "Oh I forgot" and that was that . so I came up with a plan and did a quick rewrite on set while filming was happening on the other scenes we were shooting. Other people would have had a melt down but at that point in the shoot I knew we were almost finished and we couldn't quit at this point because we overcame so much to make so close to the finish line .
I'm often asked what I would do if a big Hollywood film company would give me a $100,000 dollar budget what I would do. Would I make ONE really great movie with a genre star in the lead role or would I make FIVE movies with a $20,000 dollar budget for each ??
This is a question that I struggle with because the easy answer is I would make ONE movie and HOPE it launches my career in Hollywood, this is what I think most people would do, I'm NOT like most people I think I would make FIVE movies with a $20,000 dollar budget and establish myself in the film world.
While both paths are full of risks and have the chance to both fail and succeed It's about taking a calculated risk, right, think about it for a moment, if you take that $100,000 dollars and spend it on the ONE film and it tanks where do you go from there ? you have burned a relationship with a studio, you burned through a hundred thousand dollars and have little to nothing to show for it. Now if you make FIVE small budget films you have an opportunity to establish yourself and your film making style over the course of FIVE films, makes more sense to do it this way if the first film does badly and the second film does a little better then film #3 becomes something HUGE and it results in more offers to write / direct more movies you win in the end and you still have $40,000 dollars to make your next two projects.
Now back to why I think it's so important to finish indie films. For me personally I had a cast that was mostly first time actors / actresses that were counting on me to finish the project to launch their careers just like I was counting on them to help me realize my dream of making movies . If one of us succeeds we all succeed if one of us fails we all fail.
This is the mental state I have when I'm writing, working on scripts, stories etc. because I know that once my job is done as writer I will have to cast and find actors and actresses that are just as passionate as I am to make this script come to life, I was lucky when making Sins of Man : Rise of Mortis I used craigslist to find my cast because I didn't know they had websites like newenglandfilm.com and a Maine Actors page on facebook for casting options. I assembled a cast that was passionate about acting and wanted to make my dream come true, they had faith in me, my script and my vision and for that I am forever grateful. their passion was the reason I kept going through all the much that we encountered on set in the beginning of the shoot.
As we get ready to start casting for Sins of Man II : Vengeance next week I have the mind set that I will cast the roles needed and I will finish the movie on time and on budget if we actually have a budget for this movie we had almost NO BUDGET for Rise of Mortis but we all worked together to make our collective dreams come true.
IN CLOSING : I think if you start something you should do whatever it takes to finish it, I sacrificed days, hours, weeks of my life to make Sins of Man : Rise of Mortis happen, I missed play dates with my kids, family dinners, birthdays because my job was to finish the movie. It took me 33 and a half years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, this is my dream job, wow ! I'm living my dream and it feels so amazing to say that, is it an easy job, no, are there alot of sleepless nights working, yes. Do I have the talent to write and direct films ? Yes. I took a leap of faith a few years ago having NO IDEA what I was getting myself into and here I am with my amazing returning cast members, crew and my partner in Crime aka my Executive Producer Chris Fyfe getting ready to work on my second film Sins of Man : Vengeance .
STAY HUNGRY, STAY HUMBLE My Friends :)