Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ultralow budget films pointless

In a headline that won't curry favour with budding film makers, Stage Screen and Radio (SSR), the magazine for the British Media Union BECTU reports making a film under $75,000 dollars is pointless.

A conclusion it may well have drawn from the film council's report.

SSR reports that "a useful survey" of low and micro budge films by the UK Film Council proposed about 100 films get made each year in the UK of which 75 are made with private funds.

More importantly 80 never get cinema play and around 50 barely make it onto DVD.

Many of the workers attached to these films work on deferred payment, in fact 60 or so. This means the crew are not paid and will probably not be - a crime says BECTU's under the national minimum wage.

Some observations by the UK film Counci's survey downloaded from the site
  • The web is still not being used as a distribution or play out medium for film makers
  • Low budget encourages innovation and the emergence of new talent.
  • It exploits a new wave of distribution opportunities based on the long tail phenomenon.
  • "A not uncommon assumption amongst interviewees was that low and micro-budget films provided opportunities for filmmakers from a wide range of backgrounds to gain experience of feature filmmaking. It was hard to find much positive evidence to back this assumption up, at least as a widespread phenomenon". - direct lift from report
The reasons for the surge in low costs, which should be of interest to video journalists across newspapers and independent sites is the reduced entry point.

A parrallel could be drawn with the number of people now making video, some purely for the fun of it, which may never draw sizeable audiences; others who need the audiences to justify the capital outlay.

And the numbers will indeed get more competitive as new generations of digi film makers and the likes find equipment and skill easier to attain.

The point? You can cut it many ways, but here's a few. It's obvious there will always be winners and losers:

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