The Wall of No Money

I was reading a very good summary of why indie movies are dying at Ted Hope’s blog which goes through the reasons films today cost what they do.  Interesting films right now are going to cost around 500K or less.  You can read about the business here.

Artistically, making a film like that, which I’m about to do, is definitely full of compromises.  There’s never enough money or enough time to make a film, which is part of what makes it exciting.  But more money comes with a different kind of compromise.  For example, it’s one thing to not be able to shoot film, as opposed to digital, because you can’t afford it, and another thing to not be able to shoot film because some idiot executive has decided that film is dead.  The lack of money becomes a sort of cold, unfeeling wall, but at least it’s not irrational or opinionated.  That wall never has a dumb idea: it’s just a wall.  You can complain about it all you want, it won’t take it personally.

We’ll see how making this film goes, and what we are doing is fairly ambitious considering how much money we have; ie. there’s a lot of locations, we have some stars, our overtime is non-existant.  On the other side, we have an incredibly talented cast and crew – and no one is in this for the paycheck.  I wish we could pay everyone more, or what they deserve, which would be even more than that, but we can’t.  The wall says no.

The wall isn’t a cheap bastard.  It’s not going to rob you, or lie to you.  It’s not going to take away your final cut.  It’s not going to try to fuck your star.  It’s not going to scream at your agent, or sue you.  It sets the parameters, and you have to work within them.  It tells you what you have and gives you virtually nothing more.  I have to say, while it’s heartbreaking to lose an idea to the wall, it’s not as soul destroying as losing an idea to a bad decision, or someone with more power who has a different idea that clashes with yours.  It’s just a wall.  It’s a fact of life.  We’re lucky to have the space we’ve been given.  It’s not such a bad space inside the wall, and, when you used every inch of it, there’s actually more room for ideas than you thought.


One thought on “The Wall of No Money

  1. Michael,

    From reading your posts I can tell you’ve been planning how best to make your film for a long, long time. You believe in your project, your team, and your vision, and I truly hope everything works out as best it can so you can serve to lead the rest of the indie community by example!

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