Ryan Gielen shares some low budget tips for directing with little space or money.Gielen
Over the past few years I’ve contributed articles focused on my experience independently promoting and distributing my previous two features, The Graduates and Turtle Hill, Brooklyn. But before an indie filmmaker can distribute their film, they have to shoot it, and one of the biggest challenges on features of any size is the cost of creativity — the demands of production can make it extremely challenging to take the time to visually articulate moments, scenes, sequences and themes the way you dreamed up in pre-production.
On my most recent feature, Drinking Games, we faced this challenge constantly — we made the suspense-filled drama for under $100,000 in twelve days, on location inside a real dormitory. My cinematographer Andrew “Tank” Rivara had to light tiny rooms for the RED, while the budget and the clock were working against us from the beginning! While touring the film at various colleges and film schools prior to our digital release, the audience reaction was incredibly positive, and two big questions kept popping up:
Given the challenges we faced, the questions we received, and our success (I admit, I’m biased) in making the film work, I decided to put together a series of five to ten-minute videos focusing on the scenes that best highlighted our use of the limited tools we did have — a jib, a dolly, the RED, good lenses and creativity — to help those who may face the same challenges.
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