Fake it ‘til you make it… as an independent film-maker

In a feature that first appeared in Encore, independent film-maker Michael Budd tells us how to bluff it on set.

What exactly does an independent film-maker do?

Anything he or she can do to get their film made. This could include begging, stealing and borrowing.

What skills do you need to be good at the job?

You need to be passionate about film, creative, have laser beam focus and lead a team without blowing your top and having temper tantrums. We won’t mention any names.

Who are the people you work closest with?

Actors, crew, investors and anyone else you want to hear about the story you are trying to tell.

Is there any lingo we need to know to do the job?

In pre-production it’s ‘you’re going to love this movie’.

In production it is ‘action, cut and let’s shoot it again’.

In post-production it’s ‘who wants to see a rough cut?’

On completion, it’s ‘you are definitely going to love this movie’.

What does a typical day on the job entail?

Running behind before you have even started.

Drinking lots of coffee.

Screaming a lot.

Answering a thousand questions.

Trying to get as many shots as possible, while still staying roughly on schedule.

Explaining to the fire department why you may have set off the fire alarm.

Explaining to the police why you have removed a fence from around a building without permission.

All this and more. Not necessarily in that order.

What does an independent film-maker wear?

A cap of some sort, preferably backwards, is a prerequisite. Comfortable yet funky shoes and headphones around the neck (so if you’re not happy with what someone is saying, you can put them on).

What’s the best part of the job?

Working with many talented and creative people and seeing them all come together to realise the film’s vision. Eventually watching the final product on the big screen is also a high point.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Raising finance is the biggest challenge followed by finding the right team to make the film.

How do you become an independent film-maker?

Have a great story, tell as many people that will listen that this story needs to be told, and then go for it.


This feature first appeared in the tablet edition of Encore. To download click on the links below.



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