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Feature Film on $300: Joseph Greene Explains How and Why

July 6, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Editor’s note: Joseph Greene of Wolfen Films contacted Chicago DIY FIlm Magazine explaining that he’d just finished shooting a film in the area…and on a budget of $300. We had to find out how and why! The following is what he told us about his experience, and his advice for other filmmakers:

Joseph Greene

Like any good filmmaker, I love Kevin Smith. He’s really the reason I continue to even try. Lately he’s been all about, “If the studios won’t do it, do it yourself.” He put it in far more words, but more or less that’s it. I could go on for a long time about filmmaking philosophy but that’s not the point today.

In October, armed with nothing but an idea, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, I set out on this quest. The idea was to bring the entire multiverse of a community Dance Dance Revolution is, take the positive and negative… then blow them totally out of proportion, and add a little blood and extra melodrama.

This idea, like most, was met with a lot of raised eyebrows and not to mention outright mockery. But when I have such a radical idea, that’s just going to happen unfortunately. All you can do is seek out any and all input you can and use to make your work shine that much more.

Take to Facebook and more importantly Twitter. Yes Twitter. My film wouldn’t exist without the wise words of people in #scriptchat. Hash tags are your friends: use them. Also, don’t be afraid to hit up a filmmaker’s Twitter or Facebook for some advice. They’re (for the most part) really nice people. Some are really just glad you watched their stuff and will be willing to speak with you at length about things. Don’t be shy. Strangely enough, the filmmakers who opened up to me most seem to live in Sweden. Awesome people in Sweden.

Don’t be afraid to throw your own money at the project. I know Indiegogo and Kickstarter are there. But unless you have a few contacts with money ANYWAY, which most of us don’t, those methods put you shit outta luck and you’ll have a lot of angry friends. Go to your family, friends, even your enemies. Bottom line, don’t be afraid to beg. That’s what we writers and directors do… beg.

As far as how much you need, it depends on what you want to do (duh). But there’s always a cheaper way to do things. Buy your props and equipment off eBay or something. Or had to Home Depot and make your own stuff. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. Me and my 300 dollar budget can attest to that.

Film in places you’ve been before or places you know well. Convince your friends to let you film in their houses, because at least in Chicago, getting a random location can be tough business, unless of course you find someone just that awesome (I haven’t yet.)

When it comes down to getting a cast and crew together, I would normally say to grab your friends first… but going through the entire ‘friend’ thing myself, I’d have to say Craigslist is a much better choice. You’re more likely to get lucky and find someone totally awesome.

Dance Dance Revolution: The Warrior’s Path, couldn’t have been done without the great cast and crew I have. Treat them with as much respect as you can and you’ll get it right back. It’s a feeling like no other.

At the end of the day, you’ll have a film you can be proud of, and your cast and crew will be proud of. Buy them dinner or something to show your sheer appreciation. Film is a team sport. Don’t ever forget that.

Lastly, remember karma. Don’t make a list of people to hate on when you receive that Oscar or whatever; your success pisses the haters off enough. Just keep doing that.

Greene’s project was recently featured on WGN Radio and July 9th, “Dance Dance Revolution: The Warrior’s Path” will premiere at the Park Forest Cinema (now, Holiday Star Theater).

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