The Life of an Indie filmMaker…the 9th wonder of the world

LOVE THIS VIDEO, very encouraging. Often times in Naija we think we are the only ones that have difficulty financing, making and distributing our films. But the reality is , everyone that is not being financed by the studio system has all those same issues. Even for those financed by the studios, sometimes there is so much interference from the suits, that you cant make the movie you set out to make, and they take it off your hands in post pro and do what they want.

Ultimately, are you making films SOLEY for profit? Soley to make an obscene amount of money?

Or are you making films because you cant see yourself doing anything else but telling those stories, and you just enjoy that privilege and are satisfied with it paying the bills and allowing you to make another film, and the next , and the next.

Will you be satisfied with just enough people seeing it to make it profitable to finance the next film but not getting mainstream distribution or name recognition?

Your reasons for being in the business will determine how you deal with delay, rejection, not getting recognition and even affect the kind of films you make etc

There are many great indie filmMakers out there whose films never cross the shores of their country for one reason or the other, some that are only seen in selected theatres. Not everyone would become a household name. The sooner we learn that the sooner we can move on.

So for all Indie FilmMaker, hope you are as encouraged from this as i am, we may have our down times,be broke, discouraged and maybe even depressed at times, but the satisfaction of making our films and getting a great response, certainly beats doing a “secure” job and living the rest of our lives with “shoulda coulda”

Started from nothing..now we here : Chris Nolan

STARTED FROM NOTHING – is a series of posts, dedicated to film makers(and movements) that without Bank loans,Studio finances, independently made films, some of which went on to be classics, but also became influential, not only in their country, but on Global cinema, and generations of film-makers directly inspired by them

Today Chris Nolan is known as the genius director that resurrected the Batman franchise, and the creator of cerebral thrillers like MOMENTO, and thinking man action INCEPTION. But he wasn’t always making billion dollar box office movies. He actually started VERY low key way back in London.

Most people think his first film to be MOMENTO, but it’s actually a low budget thriller called THE FOLLOWING. A film he shot over a period of a year , with little to no budget. The story in true Nolan style, is a non linear neo noir , with a protagonist, a writer who lacking inspiration, starts to follow strangers in hope of getting a great idea.

The story was inspired by a break in to Nolan’s own apartment which spiraled into the idea of a stranger watching you.

With no financing, the choice of shooting in Black&White not only fit the noir style, but was a way of cutting down the budget and hiding the fact that shots could take place months apart(often shooting one day a week,keeping that pace for a year)

Nolan write the script to accommodate his lack of budget and his friends shot on weekends over a period of a year using their own apartments, their friends, stealing some shots in public and also using restaurants.

“In black and white, it’s much more possible to hide some of your budgetary constraints,” Nolan said. “When you have absolutely no money and absolutely no resources, [trying] to achieve color cinematography is extremely difficult. [With black and white,] it’s much more possible to get some kind of level of style to the thing—quickly and easily throwing in some lights and shadow and going with that.”- Chris Nolan

The film toured the festival circuit, showed Nolan’s potential, and the rest as they say, is history. Nolan sparked enough interest to get financing for the impressive MOMENTO and today is Hollywood’s golden boy, who with two films alone (The Dark Knight+ Inception) cross the billion dollar mark in box office takes.

Not bad for someone who started from having no budget for his film, today, you have studios lining up to work with him.

Nolan is another inspirational Indie tale, and even as he makes billion dollar grossing movies, his voice is still clear in his output.

Started from nothing ..now we here: Roger Corman

STARTED FROM NOTHING is blog series dedicated to the heros and icons of independent cinema. Those whose movies and stories of triumph over odds gave hope and affirmation to aspiring film makers, that they too could do it. Some of them went on to make some of the most renowned film of the last 30-40 years,some carved a niche and grew a following others simply became inspiration of others

Now there are many types of independent film makers these days, but those in this series are directors,producers that:

started their careers and made their first film with No Government Assistance, No Bank Loan, and No Studio Financing; but went on to fledging careers with, in some cases with both commercial and critical acclaim.

They either sold personal items, used credit cards , got money from family and friends or independently cut deals with financiers to get their first film made.

ROGER CORMAN

It’s impossible to talk about independent cinema, or indeed American Cinema, without talking about Roger Corman. He may not have started Indie Film, but he’s certainly one of the Godfathers or Dons of the movement.

Like many people in independent film, he did not study film. He was an engineering student , but soon realized like many creative people that it wasn’t for him. he graduated and went on to studied modern English Literature for a term and decided to become a screenwriter. He wrote his first script and sold it, but was horrified with the final result, he decided he wanted better, and set out to became a producer/director.

He hustled and put some capital together, and made his first two films as writer/director/producer Monster from the Ocean Floor(1954) and The Fast and The Furious(1955). The success of those two films he financed and directed on his own led a deal with American International Pictures(nee American Releasing) , he directed 53 films for them over the next 15 years.

With hundreds of movies to his credit, Corman is one of the most prolific producers the film medium has ever produced, and one of the most successful–in his nearly-six-decades in the business, only about a dozen of his films have failed to turn a profit. Corman has been dubbed “The King of the Cult Film” and “The Pope of Pop Cinema,” and his filmography is packed with hundreds of remarkably entertaining films, dozens of genuine cult classics.

TRIVIA: A running gag in Hollywood was that Corman could negotiate the production of a film on a pay phone, shoot the film in the booth, and finance it with the money in the change slot.

He has hundreds of films to his credit of varying degrees of quality,commercial success, critical acclaim and vision. Known as the King of B movies, his films aren’t exactly a benchmark for film-Making or production , making everything from High art to some say Trash, but he did it anyway.

If nothing else(those that dislike B movies), one remarkable thing about him is that :

“Corman has displayed an unrivaled eye for talent over the years–it could almost be said that it would be easier to name the top directors, actors, writers, creators in Hollywood who didn’t get their start with Corman than those who did. Among those he mentored are Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, James Cameron, Robert De Niro, Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante and Sandra Bullock. His influence on modern American cinema is almost incalculable. In 2009, he was honored with an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.(Culled from IMDB)”

If anyone started from nothing , to become one of the most respected figures in American Cinema, acting as the catalyst for the career of many of American Cinema’s geniuses today, it’s Roger Corman

TRIVIA: At the 1974 Academy Awards nearly every major category featured wins or nominations by “Corman School” graduates–those whom Corman had either started in the business or mentored early in their career.