Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Low Budget Locations

With microbudget productions it’s helpful, no essential, to write and use what you already have access to, or can get very cheap. In my past movies I’ve used my place, friends places, a warehouse my producer had free access to and guerilla exteriors.

Monsters in the Woods is a different animal. A year ago I would have scouted out some remote locales and shot the whole thing guerilla. But, having signed a name actor and wanting to take some of the action to the next level, its not really feasible to be shooting guerilla. So I told my producer to look into permits for national forests. He came up with Big Bear. It’s the closets and best spot for the price. Permits and whatnot are surprisingly affordable depending on your cast and crew size.

Have you bought your copy of Trap yet?

So yesterday, my producer and I trekked out to Big Bear to pick the primary locations, numbering 3. We’ll take another trip or two in the next few weeks to lock the minor locations, storyboard and block out all the action (sans actors.)

I got up about 15 till 7am and walked down to my locale Starbucks (can’t start a long day with out a hardy maple scone and coffee.) I bussed to Culver City to meet with my producer (I don’t drive – it’s a thing – and my producer has a car, but no license. Don’t ask.) We got on the road just after 9 and made surprisingly good time. We go into Big Bear just after 11. We have a quick meeting with Betty from the Big Bear Film Commission. She goes over prices, rules and recommends a few shooting spots.

I had never actually been to Big Bear. It’s really beautiful. There are a lot of fallen trees out there too, from fires. If we’re careful not to shoot them so much in the 1st 3rd of the movie, we can use them to help depicted our major earthquake at the end of act 1. (Maybe)

We’re trying to keep all of our shooting spots in Big Bear close to one another to aid with quick company moves. It took us about 3 hours but we find all three of our major locales, and all are within earshot of one another. We also take a little time to block some of the general action and shots.

The 1st spot is about a 10-minute hike from one of the visitor center. It will be both our crew camp in the movie and for real. Crafty and whatnot will be set up there all day and the other 2 locations are on either side.

We pack it in around 3 and arrive back in Culver City around 5. I buss back to Burbank (I don’t drive – it’s a thing) and arrive around 730. I clean up a few actor contracts, watch a few episodes of the final season of The Shield (great show) and do a little interneting before bed.

Anybody else think the Sucker Puck trailer is the tits?


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