Friday, April 2, 2010

How To Shoot Low Budget

Shooting around the World with very little Money
Gator is now around for many years and over the years we shot projects all around the world inlcuding Germany, Austria, USA, Canada, Italy, France, Spain and Brazil, maybe I forgot some places. How do we manage to shoot with the most beautiful actresses and models in strange places like Honolulu, Hollywood, Vancouver, Vienna, Lecce doing all this low budget horror and thriller projects.
First I had some wonderful talent and crews, many of the actresses lik Katja, Barbara, Debby and Anja who are able not only to act but also to produce.

To know how to set up a production is very important. When I first worked for Disney they asked me if I had been in the army, as working for Disney is similar to be in the army. I do not know the US army but compared to German army Disney was really more fun. Anyway there is some truth in it. Big media conglomerates are usually very well organized and have all resources you need to do a proper job. So you have no trouble if you work for a company like Disney.
If you shoot low budget without being part of a multimillion dollar conglomerate things are different. You then have to operate like Robert E. Lee or Rommel with only small cast and crew. You can learn a lot from great army leaders like Hannibal, Ludendorff & Hindenburg, Rommel & Monty and the hilarious Robert E. Lee. And even better: It´s NOT a matter of life and Death (unless you shoot with Lydie Denier or Bette Davis). Movie Making is fun. Keep this always in mind.

I found out several things make my life easier while shooting low budget:

1. like Lloyd Kaufman I prefer to shoot scene after scene like a theater play.
It´s easier for the actors and everyone else and if something happens (an actor
gets sick or has an accident) you are able to re-act

2. I try to be a nice guy on the set. I do not scream or yell. Lubitsch always
treated his cast and crew nice and with respect. Otto Preminger (whom I adore as
as director and producer) acted on the set like an idiot. Cast and crew were
afraid of him. (thinking of Lydie Denier I am not quite sure, if this is really
so clever, what I am witing here)

3. Be always prepared and have only cast and crew on the set you really need.
If you need an actor at 2 pm don´t ask him to be on theset at 6 am

4. I found out you achieve more working 6-8 hours a day than starting at 6am and
shoot till midnight. We usually come to the set at 9.30 am and usually work
till 7 pm or 8 pm. The actreses / actors have their make-up done at 10.00 am
and we start shooting at 11.00 am. Around 2 pm we have lunch. Feed your cast.
It´s not expensive especially if you work with beautiful models and actresses,
I´ve rarely seen them ordering anything else than salad!
I prefer to go to a restaurant what was easy when we were shooting in the Hedler
studios in Berlin Tempelhof. There were plenty of Italian, Chinese and other
restaurants around. However if you are shooting somewhere with no restaurants
close, order at leat some pizza or pasta.
The worst thing you can do is shoot 14 hours a day with no lunch break.

To set up production there are also some books and dvds showing many important things how to do: I can strongly recommend the books and DVDs of Troma´s LLoyd Kaufman:

- Make Your Own Damn Movie and - Direct Your Own Damn Movie

Lloud Kaufman is not only a dedicated filmmaker, boss of one of the most independentproduction comaonies ever, he is also the chairman of the Board of the IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance)
The IFTA is a trade association of independent porducers and distributors of motion pictures and televison programming. The organisation, formerly known as the American Film Market Association was established in 1980 to create the now famous and most important trade show, the AFM (American Film Market).

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