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Why did I make this movie? Part #3


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Two words: Robert Rodriguez.
Robert Rodriguez 200x300   Why did I make this movie? Part #3
Many of you probably have heard of his name. He is the director of such movies as Desperado, Sin City, Planet Terror and the Spy Kids movies. What many of you might not know is that Robert’s very first movie was an (almost) no-budget movie called El Mariachi. Well, it cost him $7000, but all that money was spent on film and film development. He didn’t spend any money on anything else. The actors were, except for the main guy, non-actors, locations and everything else were provided by the nice people of a small town in Mexico. For free. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should definitely check it out.

Robert, although for a short time attended film school, says that everything that you need to know about film making can be learned in ten minutes. His book, Rebel without a crew is a must read for every filmmaker. It is his personal diary from the time right before, during and after the filming of El Mariachi. If you want to get inspired, you read this book.

It starts out with him signing up for a medical experiment to raise the $7000. He is a test subject for some experimental drugs at a hospital in Texas. This is where he writes his screenplay and where he meets his villain for the movie. Then after he gets out, he takes to Mexico with his actor buddy and they make the movie. The book tells the whole story in details, and since it’s a diary, we learn of his struggles, fears, expectations, disappointments, and finally victories. And for this reason (and some others too) El Mariachi is and remains my favorite Robert Rodriguez movie.

Before I read this book, I already knew that I was going to make my movie, but it definitely helped me with how to actually do it. And it was extremely inspirational. If after reading this book you don’t run and start shooting your own movie, then something is wrong with you.

Here are some excerpts from the ten-minute film school part of the book:

So you want to be a filmmaker? First step to being a filmmaker is stop saying you want to be a filmmaker. It took me forever to be able to tell anyone I was a filmmaker and keep a straight face until I was well on my way. But the truth was I had been a filmmaker ever since the day I had closed my eyes and pictured myself making movies. The rest was inevitable. So you don’t want to be a filmmaker, you are a filmmaker. Go make yourself a business card. Next.

Now what about all the basic technical knowledge you need to actually make a film? I think some famous filmmaker once said that all the technical stuff you need to know in order to make movies can be learned in a week. He was being generous.
You can learn it in ten minutes.

The first lesson in this filmmaking school of thought is that it’s not your wallet that makes the movie, no matter what they tell you in school or in Hollywood. Think about it. Any monkey can tap himself out financially while making a movie. The idea is to tap yourself out creatively first.

They always tell you in film school and in Hollywood that in order to be a filmmaker you need to get movie experience so you can work you way up in the business. The reasoning being that by working on other films, even as a production assistant, you get to see firsthand how others make movie. Now, that’s exactly the kind of experience you don’t need. You don’t want to learn how other people make movies, especially real Hollywood movies, because nine times out of ten their methods are wasteful and inefficient. You don’t need to learn that!

Now roll that number into your camera iris on your lens and you have you F-stop. What’s an F-stop? Who cares what an F-stop is? Don’t worry about the F-stop. I never did. Just do what the meter tells you; the meter is your friend.

Enough schooling. Get your ass out there and make a movie because I’m telling you, Hollywood is ripe for the taking. There are so many creative people out there itching to make something, but they’re too negative in thinking they’ll never get anywhere or it’ll never happen. I know all that stuff because I believed the same thing for too long. So get on with it and call me when you’re done. You make the movie, and I’ll bring the popcorn.

Here are also a couple of links to his video version of the ten-minute film school:

0   Why did I make this movie? Part #3

0   Why did I make this movie? Part #3

Richard Kodai


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