Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So You Want to Make Your Own Independent Movie

Being a bit of a movie buff, I've learned quite a lot about what it takes to make different kinds of pictures. (In the "business" we call them "pictures." I'm not actually in the "business") While for most novices we can't just go and make our own films--war films require too many actors, sci fi requires too many special effects, westerns require too much land--there is always the easy career starter of the independent film. These "mumblecore" fests may not make a lot of money, but they're cheap to put together and can get you the acclaim you need as a budding producer.

Here's what you'll need for your indie film:

1) Dialogue that is unlike anyone's real dialogue. Your characters have to be talky, and have to engage in all sorts of discourse (using big words like "discourse", which no one would in real life) with their equally talky friends about mundane things like why cigarettes haven't changed at all in a hundred years and yet soda cans are totally different now.

2) Either Parker Posey or Chloe Sevigny, since they signed some weird contract with Hollywood that requires either of them to be in every single indie film ever made.

3) Light acoustic guitar strumming. Nothing says "sensitive thoughtful quirky" quite like light acoustic guitar strumming.

4) A famous actress going for "indie cred". She can appear as the "manic pixie dream girl" love interest, or go a "braver" route and make herself look less glamorous. Nothing says serious actressing like uglying up!

5) The male actors need to be shaggy headed. I don't know about you, but when I encounter a shaggy headed guy in real life, I have to look around to make sure I'm not accidentally getting into the scene for an independent film.

6) A crappy car. Why is it that every independent film has to have at least one really-out-of-date-but-not-actually-a-classic-yet car? I think it's the quirkiness!

7) Deep title. Let's say the plot is about a young adult who failed out of college and hasn't told his folks yet and they think he's just visiting for the holiday but he's really planning to stay there long term. Avoid an obvious title like "Idiot Failure Boy" or "Look Who's Flunked". Instead, go with a title that elevates the film, like "Prodigal Son" or "Dried Ivy".

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