Low (budget) blow

So talking earlier and discussing the penchant some journalists and film makers have to what can only be described as  overly referencing their low/no budget in relation to the film, so much as so it’s to the detriment of the actual topic of the film I was inspired to write this post remembering a few circumstances where I heard the film makers bleat on about their limited resources.

Mangue NegroMany years ago, at first, small or no budget films were derided, then as technology improved,the ability or rather opportunity to make decent and sometimes relatively high quality films became available to more people for a lower cost, allowing the truly talented, innovative and dedicated to be able to produce something much more than the mere budget would suggest possible (such as Mangue Negro).

Low budget filmmaking soon, and rightly so, became a badge of pride, a sign of dedication, determination and love, in truth it was a victory for creativity over the money men.

ColinSoon, for some this ethos became lost and the budget description became the marketing USP instead of the films credentials, and I often feel that the UK film Colin could have done even better had people focused on the uniqueness of the approach rather than the bullshit made for £50 approach. Which lets face it, if we were film lecturers with a mass of free or subsidised resources we could probably pull off a feature length for that price (although to be fair I doubt very many could reach that level of quality as achieved by Marc Price) and years after that there seems to be a deluge of film makers using the low/no budget excuse, one would assume, to either court pity or lower expectations for what ever reasons.

ZombieI hope now that the cycle is soon to change again as it has become too easy to market something as low/no budget and almost every new indie filmmaker does it (the crew and producers of the UK film Wasteland repeatedly brought it up in a recent Q&A), and I find it just reduces expectations and shifts focus from the most important thing – the film. This is a shame as for me, you should talk solely about the film, especially in a niche genre such as this where budget is no indicator of quality and, for better or worse, a whole bunch of blood and gore can (almost always) appease the gorehounds watching the most turgid of zombie bloodbaths. Todd Sheets i’m looking at you!

Quite frankly, if you can’t raise the capital required to make your script you need to either get out there and raise more money or work on some more feasible scripts in the mean time which require less resources, how about the classic siege film from Night of the Living Dead to A Killing Strain via a million films in between. Limited locations and limited cast. Simples. Build your career then make that zombie film you wanted to.

But I digress, by harping on about your low/no budget I know that you want to reduce my expectations, and as a result there is a higher probability that I will think that it is a good film or at least it is better than I thought it would be therefore when I speak to people about it I will say stuff with a more positive spin like “better than expected”, “good attempt” throwing in words that may make it seem better than had I gone in thinking I was going to get something good, as now I will be more predisposed to looking past the cheapness or lack of creative thinking due to budget restrictions. It’s all relative.

So a crap film becomes a mediocre film or a dull film wasn’t as dull as I expected, so therefore logically it must be entertaining.Complete crap and mind trickery, a crap film is a crap film, you just tricked me into thinking it would be an awful film, this time i am looking at you Zombie Diaries!

If your main marketing blurb is, or you start with promoting it as a low/no budget film, please don’t expect me or many others to get excited for yet another seemingly amateur entry in a sea of amateur entries, no one could possibly go through them all separating the wheat from the chaff and so decisions have to be made as in what to watch and what to skip. Frankly, if you’re pushing it as a low budget film and someone else is pushing the story or some other gimmick (most zombies on screen ever for example) give me that instead.

Oh, and don’t go spouting crap about supporting indie filmmakers to me, at this level they should have some say in the marketing and most definitely how things come across in interviews…talk about the film and not how you had a lower budget than the last low budget film. Talk about how you came up with creative solutions and not how you had more planned but people on kickstarter wouldn’t give you an extra £5k formore CGI…and stay away from the journalistic hacks who are trying to always angle filmmakers into generic low budget story angles rather than treating them as actual filmmakers.

There are plenty of small low/no budget short and feature length films out there and funnily enough I don’t remember any of them disproportionately going on about the budget compared to the film. This is a genre based on a  love of horror (and eating brains) and we as fans know that, we don’t expect an technological masterpiece we expect to be entertained.


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