For some time now I have been aware of the micro budget feature film, Four Eyed Monsters, which was made by two US guys with nothing but determination, ambition and a lot of savvy. The half hour presentation above really illustrates who they are and how much they put into the endeavour.
There’s huge amounts to learn from their experiences, but for me there are a few real biggies.
First, there are two of them and they clearly compliment each other. This is one of the golden rules I propose on the masterclasses I run – GET A PARTNER! It’s not just twice as effective, but ten times as effective. This is how you add MASSIVE ENERGY to your project. I have had that experience myself and I can tell you, productivity soars when you get a partner who is on the same page.
Second, you can’t do what they did. Just like Gone Fishing and the way I made it, there is huge lessons to learn, but you can’t use the whole model as a template. You can cherry pick ideas, but what is really on offer is the entrepreneurial sizzle that inspires, directs and ultimately catalyses into your own unique concepts. You need to create your own model and destiny drawing inspiration and stealing occasional ideas.
These guys have really made a soap opera about their lives, the podcasts being the window – they are kind of like a cousin or sister, and you love dipping into their lives, and ‘hey, they made a film too’. Not everyone will have that marketable charisma and charm – and crucially, their film itself fits within this ephemeral model. Consider how they would have done had they made a horror film? I suspect not as well. So their content, style, presentation, themes are all very well integrated and form a great package. This was not calculated when they began, more evolved along the way. But hey, if you don’t get on the journey, you can’t evolve enroute – SO STOP PROCRASTINATING! (note to self, remember to take same medicine here)
Fourth. The biggie. You can see how much work has been put into the endeavour, and frankly, after years of work, they are not really even breaking even. This is completely cool at the right time in your life, but if you are older, or if you have bigger responsibilities, this approach becomes more dangerous. When I made The Runner with Gen, we were in EXACTLY The same boat. Yep, we had that many credit cards too.
On our Gone Fishing workshop (the online one), we spend a good forty minutes detailing out a career plan for film makers, a step by step, blow by blow template of what to do, when and how to avoid the traps that cost years of your life. You can see very clearly that these guys have gone through a protracted learning curve and forged the way for others. But to simply copy what they have done would be a mistake. Your film and concept has unique strengths and weaknesses and you will need to play to those weakness and strengths – but most crucially, you MUST strategise where in your career you are right now, so you can make choices based on a step by step guided evolution, rather than just running as fast as you can and hoping it will all work out.
Great case study and very inspiring.
So here is the question. What are you going to do now? TAKE ACTION! Go on…
Onwards and upwards!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author