The film market can sometimes be seen as a battle for eyeballs between the studios and lowly independent filmmakers – a kind of David versus Goliath showdown. There is no way your no-budget indie will ever make as much money as a studio film. No way you’ll ever be as well-known, and no way you’ll ever be as popular.
Therefore, in this landscape, what does success look like for your no-budget indie?
I found part of the answer to that conundrum by reading Chris Jones’s books and attending his Guerrilla Film Masterclass a number of times. To say he’s been a major catalyst to me in my filmmaking career is an understatement.
He was the man who inspired me to believe that I could actually make a feature film in the first place.
But, more than that, Chris and other mentors taught me that one of the first things you need to do when undertaking a big project like a feature film is to define your success before you start. What will a successful outcome look like for you and your film?
Chris encourages you to visualise your success. See yourself standing on the red carpet at your premiere with flashbulbs popping. I visualised that. I wanted that for my film. That was what I was aiming for.
And I didn’t want just any old film premiere. I wanted mine in the flipping West End of London! The Big Boys’ Playground. We successfully crowd-funded, sold out and held a West End Premiere. That box has been well and truly ticked!
Beyond that, we’ve had lots of other unexpected successes. Horror maestro Kim Newman said that ‘The Redeeming’ ‘Delivers some subtle chills’. The BBC described our film as ‘Psychologically terrifying’. BritFlicks crowned us 2018’s Number 3 Trailer on their website. We were the number 1 thriller on Amazon Prime UK for 6 weeks and we peaked at number 7 thriller on Prime US. We’re making some steady income on VOD and on track to be in profit in about 3 or 4 years.
And now we’ve been nominated for Best Thriller at the 2019 National Film Awards in the UK.
For a no-budget indie film shot for almost nothing, being listed with a couple of mega-budget films such as the US$40m ‘Annihilation’ and US$20m ‘Final Score’ is an extraordinary outcome. As Chris would say, ‘Truly remarkable – as in worthy of remark.’ Win or lose in this particular awards race, ‘The Redeeming’ has been a very successful no-budget indie film.
If you want to make no-budget feature films, then maybe you should attend the class.
But, if you want to make SUCCESSFUL no-budget indie films, you absolutely NEED to be at the Masterclass.
Maybe I’ll meet you there and you can tell me all about your plan to make a no-budget indie?
In the meantime, please help us show the world that no-budget indies can take on the studios at their own game by voting for ‘The Redeeming’ in the National Film Awards. You can find the voting link on our website at http://www.theredeeming.com
Brian Barnes is a London-based director whose debut feature film ‘The Redeeming’ was released in early 2018 on worldwide VOD platforms. The film peaked at number 7 on the Prime US thriller chart and was the number 1 thriller on Prime UK for 6 weeks. The trailer has now been watched nearly 160,000 times. Brian’s short film ‘The Urge’ won a Best Film award under jury president Timothy Burrill (producer of Roman Polanski’s ‘The Pianist’).