The purpose of this project was to learn every aspect of the film business, and to do so within the guidelines of an ultra-low budget digital format. This meant creating a project that could be written, produced, and directed all for fewer than fifty thousand dollars. All of the money had to be raised by me as well. The process began day one in the classroom, learning every step of the way. It began by turning an idea into a feature length film script. This was done over the course of a year. The next step began putting together every piece of preproduction. Preproduction involved casting, location scouting, and fund raising. Fund raising proved to be the most difficult aspect to the entire process. For “Zellwood” we were unable to reach the ultimate goal of fifty thousand dollars, and had to readjust on the fly to make the project work on a budget that would be half the size. This is not uncommon in the industry, but it is an extremely difficult hurdle to handle. In order to do this the script had to be scaled down in order to accommodate the new numbers. The actual filming of “Zellwood” proved to be both the most invigorating aspect as well as one of the most disappointing. The thrill of watching my words and acts come to life was amazing. Each day having to compromise my vision in order to get the entire script filmed on an extremely tight schedule was difficult. The compromise meant sacrificing a bit of quality. Once the filming was finished similar issues would arise in postproduction. Financial and time constraints would once again cause compromises along the way. The promotion and eventual selling and distribution of the film continues be incredibly difficult. The film has been sold and paid for in six foreign territories so far, and a deal for domestic distribution has been signed. Finding a distributor involved iii contacting other filmmakers and trying to find someone trustworthy in the industry. Hopefully we are currently in business with one now. In conclusion I have left this project as a much wiser student and filmmaker. Making a film under these circumstances can be done, and can be done successfully, but making a film with far more resources would be the only way I would attempt to do so again. I have learned the hard way that this is a business first and foremost. I believe that this process is an excellent way to learn the business.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Visual Arts and Design
Film; Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Sutton, Jason, "Re-imaging A Career In Filmmaking" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2790.