“Cheap” Is Relative

January 28, 2009

My old college roommate, Marcus Phillips, is a musician.  He’s written, I’d guess, over a hundred songs in the time that I’ve known him.  He’s produced at least three complete CDs.  All this took was time, energy, talent, and practice.  He’s spent maybe a couple hundred dollars on guitars over the years.

I, on the other hand, have made less than a dozen short films in the same period of time, and spent thousands of dollars over the years.

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the democratizing effects of inexpensive video production.  Don’t believe it for a second.

A good HD camera costs thousands of dollars; renting one can run hundreds per day.  Same for a decent grip and lighting package.  Art direction, costumes, make-up are variable, but consistently expensive.  And don’t forget sound and editing!

Then there’s all the people.  Even if you don’t pay them, you at least have to feed them.  You might resort to the indie film mainstays of pizza and sub sandwiches, but buying lunch for ten to twenty people still ain’t cheap.

Movies are not and never will be inexpensive, at least for an individual.  I’m confronting this fact as I go through my script to determine what I have, what I can borrow, and what I can afford to buy.

There is, of course, a fourth option: what I can afford to rewrite.  But let’s try to avoid that, shall we?


One comment

  1. […] of all, I’m shooting this on HD, which is cheaper than film (though still not cheap). I won’t have to actually make this decision until post production.  I grant you, this is […]

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