Introduction to Guerrilla Filmmaking

Nov 30, 2008 by Derrick Faw · Leave a Comment ·
Filed under: Equipment 
John Cassavetes filming Shadows

John Cassavetes filming Shadows

It doesn’t take long to realize that filming requires more than just a good camera. It takes a lot of various equipment to make a video project come together. The first thing you will discover when you want to experiment with new techniques is that video equipment is very expensive. The good news is that with a little ingenuity, motivation, and a do it yourself (DIY) attitude you can make much of your own equipment reasonably cheap. A lot of people tell aspiring filmmakers that they don’t have a chance. That the business is too closed to outsiders, especially here in France. Well I for one refuse to that advice, but I keep it in mind. Just as with the popularization of hand held cameras in the late fifties a “New Wave” of filmmakers were born, today we stand at another crossroads. Filmmakers do not necessarily need to rely on big distribution companies anymore. A whole new audience has arrived via the Internet. Thus increasing the possibilities for new talent being discovered. If you have a drive to make your own films you can get it done, take John Cassavetes for example. His tactics for making films are now that of legend. Unable to receive funding from conventional sources, he looked anywhere he could to bring things together. From his own personal savings, acting in several films, contributions from friends, and multiple mortgages on his home, he was able to find the necessary money to make his films. He cast and crew consisted of friends, students and other volunteers. He has even been know to siphon electricity from a city power line. Ultimately though, the mark of his films was the passion and edge represented in the final product and not the methods he went about to achieve them. Since then several guerrilla filmmaker have made their mark on Hollywood. Most notably people like Spike Lee and Robert Rodriguez. One very important issue to consider though when looking to save money is the legality of what you do. For example shooting without permits in certain locations could cause yourself a lot of trouble. Also if you film in a professional environment, it is not a good idea to look cheap. People like to know they are paying for quality, and unfortunately appearance can play a hefty role in that aspect. As we begin in our own films, the issue of equipment and money is very near to us. It will be necessary for us to save money and cut corners whenever we can. Personally I have always liked to invent and make things, which is an added bonus. Also you may find, as I do, that what you might need simply doesn’t exist or needs modification. In upcoming post we will talk more about specific ideas and techniques to keep the cost down and have quality equipment on hand.

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