It’s Impossible To Make A Feature Film For $1000 – Mark Harris

It’s Impossible To Make A Feature Film For $1000 – Mark Harris

Film Courage: Three things you wish you’d known before
you made your first feature film? Mark Harris, Filmmaker: Oh my gosh, three things I wish I’d
known before I made my first feature film?
I wish out all right let me say this I think because I didn’t know anything I
didn’t know anything at all about filmmaking like I’m glad everything
happened the way it did because I think had out this is me I think because I
didn’t know a lot it made me want to improve so many people wrong improvement
you know just let people know like look I can do this I can do this and the way
I got into the film business is I’m not different business but into directing
which actually I don’t want to say by accident but it was it was there was a
director who promises that you know I write all these screenplays and he
promised that the screenplay that option total be the next screenplay that he
write he didn’t go through with his work and at that particular time I was
emotional about it I was angry about it but what I did was
I went out and I made my first film yeah as I look back I’m thankful that he said
no cuz hey he made that for his film I would never probably get on the set and
start to direct but once I got on set to direct my first film even though I
didn’t know anything I don’t know anything about filmmaking I didn’t know
what I was doing I knew that this is where I want what I wanted to do so I
don’t think that’s anything that I wish I had of known because you know at that
particular time I could say well I wish I had went to film school but I don’t
wish I had what to film school because I love I love that whole process of
learning as I go along learning as I make different films in because if for
me for me making it my it was like I was
film school for me and every time I was I was screen the film I would get this
constructive criticism not only did it make me a better filmmaker but that
criticism made me a better human being that I probably would have received have
had I went to film school so as I as I got that criticism I didn’t go I didn’t
think I would do everything I had to listen so when you listen to the able to
accept constructive criticism that does something to you to your character you
know so a lot of us again a lot of us don’t want to display our work because
of that of that constructive criticism you know so there’s no I don’t think
there’s anything that I I wish I hadn’t known going to going to you know I don’t
think there’s anything I’m blessed to have to took the road that I took as far
as as a filmmaker I mean there’s something to be said sometimes for not
researching something and just trying it as long as it’s not life-threatening
because sometimes then you talk yourself out of it mm-hmm and you go oh well if I
do this and it’s not this then this is gonna happen and so sometimes maybe it’s
better to just say like you said just do it and then you kind of learn as you go
and and with your first film you said it was all wide-shots you didn’t have any
close ups or mediums and so but if you had been to like Precious about it you
maybe you wouldn’t have made the first one and then it wouldn’t have led to the
second one i mean i’m just theorizing here i don’t see the thing is that I
think if I went to film school I probably would have thought okay I can’t
make a film for 5,000 oh if that first film it was made for like a thousand
dollars I would like I can’t make a film for a thousand dollars you know because
in probably film school I don’t know maybe they’re taught that you need a
certain budget but I wasn’t thinking about budget I wasn’t thinking about I
thought okay I know I can make a film for $5,000 I know I could make a film
for $10,000 so had I went to film school I probably had that I probably didn’t
think that way I probably okay I need 150,000 to make a film during that
particular time you know and so that’s why
I’m thankful that I went in that direction because you know hey I’m
saying I have a thousand dollars I mean just cause I’m gonna make a movie you
know and uh even though it shot it was everything we shot in watch sighs I’m
grateful I’m thankful you know because the next one we had our medium shots we
had our wide shots we’re not close-ups and then you know and you know each each
project you know I’ve seen it you know grow and grow and grow
I’m gonna go get you know I’m always I consider myself a student filmmaker
because I’m always learning I’m watching my favorite I’m watching the interviews
I’m always cuz I always consider myself a student filmmaker and I would never
ever escape that good plug thank you for just one more time and it no I’m kidding you

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Same thing happened to me but I did go in knowing a few things. I did do my first feature for 750 dollars. The key is to always be learning and don't make the same mistakes.

    The first one helped me get a bigger budget for the second one. 🙂

  2. This video, and the comments below from other just do it filmmakers, is probably the most inspiring thing I’ve heard in the last 1,000 videos on filmmaking. Thanks and Respect.

  3. Roger Corman basically proved that you can make a feature film for any amount of money provided you do your planning thoroughly before you do anything and stick to it: "How I Made A Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost A Dime" is absolutely vital reading.

  4. Most of the top filmmakers, never went to film school. Christopher Nolan, Terry Gilliam, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Steven Spielberg, Ethan Coen. Film School is a complete waste of money, you can learn a whole lot more if you go out there and make your film by yourself. Self taught. The only benefit film school has in the connections you make in the film industry. I know this to be true as I am an independent filmmaker and I'm working on my first feature, having made 10 short films and 1 documentary. While, some film school students make 1 student short film and then suddenly they are classified as film directors when they do not have a body of work at all.

  5. To make a 1000$ movie you have to have competent yet very underpaid crew and actors. The rest-logistics, locations, post- you can manage yourself for free (minus your mental and physical health- check The making of « Primer » movie).
    And forget about the festivals and the cinema distribution. Only the web can save you.
    It is the brutal truth.

  6. This is the first time I can recall an interviewee acknowledging that they (like many of us) learn from watching Film Courage

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