How I'd Shoot A Low-Budget Film If I Was Shooting A Low-Budget Film, Which I'm Not

Kevin Long
Kevin Long's picture

Even though I'll never make a movie, I'm ever on the lookout for some interesting visual locations that are both practical and cheap and exotic and (preferably) obscure.

Ideas I've diddled around with in the past:

1) a detective movie with all the interiors filmed in various public buildings designed by I.M. Pei

2) A 80s-styled teen sex comedy filmed entirely indoors, inside completely-enclosed 80s-built structures (Shopping malls, enclosed schools like Countryside High, Airport terminals, bank lobbies), all of which (Through clever editing) would appear to be directly connected to each other, as though everyone lives inside some huge hotel/condo/airport/mall/campus complex. (The only external shot would also be the only FX shot in the movie, as we truck back through a window and see that the entire city is in a series of huge domes on the surface of a hell-like Venus.

3) A straight-script version of Othello filmed in various abandoned locations in wintertime, with a lot of snow on the ground. Places like Chernobyl (Obviously only a few on-location shots), downtown Gary, Indiana, the abandoned sections of Detroit, and some of the more senic abandoned locations in Japan.

4) Something filmed using these locations in lieu of any kind of external street, crowd, or city shots. Again, like 2, it'd appear as though the whole world is one huge connected subway system, with food courts and apartments built into it via clever editing. No idea what the story would be. The idea just struck me.

In all of these cases, the location has nothing to do with the story. The Teen Sex Comedy is *just* a Teen Sex Comedy, the fact that it's on Venus is entirely subliminal, except for the last shot, which itself is gratuitous. But the idea of filming it entirely indoors in a kind of 80s-opolis is interesting. Likewise, there's absolutely no reason my version of Othello would take place in a burned out, abandoned, decrepit world, other than it's interesting visually. The reason for shooting an entire dectective movie in I.M. Pei public buildings is simply because they have a similar, but varied architectural style, and hence set a unified and interesting visual theme for the movie.

I've had a long love of truely low-budget, really-indie films (As opposed to modern independents, which are more like the minor leagues for the major studios), with budgets around $3,000,000. I'm a product of my generation in that regard, and hence I've always kind of had an eye for maximizing the budget while still being visually distinctive.

So how 'bout you folks? How would you maximize your visual pop with VERY limited resources? Sound off below!