One for Bloke on the M4

That lack of female directors. Our man from Swindon keeps telling us that the original break these days comes not from being noted but forcing people to take note:

So he did, though, of course, that was much easier said than done. The biggest hurdle standing between most first-timers and the realization of their vision has always been money, and that was no different in Youmans’ case. He cobbled together a budget by taking a little here and a little there. “I put all of my savings into the film, which was around twenty-five hundred bucks,” he recalls. “I cashed out a lot of savings bonds that I’d gotten from family members. I was working at a beignet stand in City Park that’s no longer in operation now; it turned into another Café du Monde. It was quick, and a lot of cash for a high school job. I was stacking that up in the months leading to principal photography, and then me and my producer Mose Mayer started an Indiegogo. Started pooling from my family, some of Mose’s family donated a bit too, and that was enough to get us through production. We never had extra funds. There was a lot of stuff we needed to get for free.”

That first film can indeed be made on a shoestring.

11 thoughts on “One for Bloke on the M4”

  1. Virtually all first time directors have a very tough and very long battle to get a start.
    Many have stories much like the Guardian article.
    Some write a script so stunningly good that someone decides to invest in making it even if the writer, despite all the pressure not to, is insisting on directing it too. This insistence will almost certainly lead to some investors backing out and the film being made on a lower budget, often with the writer/director making almost nothing.
    Many spend, literally decades of their lives and their own time and money struggling to get a film off the ground. And will probably fail.
    There is this absurd, insulting idea around that being white, heterosexual and possessing a penis means that you are plucked from the crowd and given the job of directing a major feature when you have next to no track record and have made little to no effort and sacrificed nothing. Doesn’t happen.
    What does happen, and will happen increasingly, is that NOT being a white male heterosexual will give you a competitive advantage when it comes to getting state, or quasi-state funding (vital for most smallish films in the UK) – or simply when someone doing the hiring wants to display their piety.
    Already BAFTA is not allowing for consideration for awards films which don’t have the required diversity hires. As a large number of smaller films need to increase their visibility through award nominations this will have a serious impact on the whole area including fewer white straight directors.
    As per usual the feminists want to be handed the prize without effort while denigrating and stealing opportunities from those who have traditionally gone through purgatory to achieve it.

  2. The problem that many women seem to have is that they expect a formalised process: go to film school, get a piece of paper, start applying for jobs.

    You make a film, even a cheap thing on an iPhone, you can convince people you’ve got some skills more than a piece of paper. Go to film school for the learning, but don’t think the piece of paper matters.

    (by coincidence, the one woman I can name who did a film herself is Ava DuVernay who is named in this article).

  3. JS,

    “What does happen, and will happen increasingly, is that NOT being a white male heterosexual will give you a competitive advantage when it comes to getting state, or quasi-state funding (vital for most smallish films in the UK) – or simply when someone doing the hiring wants to display their piety.

    Already BAFTA is not allowing for consideration for awards films which don’t have the required diversity hires. As a large number of smaller films need to increase their visibility through award nominations this will have a serious impact on the whole area including fewer white straight directors.”

    The problem is that eventually (and it’s already happening) people will realise that the BAFTA awards are bullshit. Good films (which is all we really care about) won’t get picked.

    And the problem with state funding is that that has a cost. That typically requires hiring people with the skills to write you a good request for funding. It also means probably writing the write sort of box ticking film that then won’t have much commercial future. When you can make a film for $2500, why bother with all that?

  4. “That first film can indeed be made on a shoestring”: especially if your families are wealthy enough to supply lengths of shoestring.

  5. Doesn’t really need wealthy families.

    For example, Peter Jackson. Made his first film on a second hand camera, after work and at weekends with his mates over 5 years (granted it was then edited professionally). He built all the props, did all the makeup and effects himself. Even built a steadicam rig. Wonder whatever became of him in the film world?

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    This is about risk taking and we know women are generally risk averse compared to men.

    I saw something on Twitter that in the USA the average wage increase when changing jobs was around 8% whereas sticking with the job you’re in was only about 2%. Nobody pointed it out but again its partly why women tend to get paid less than men.

  7. ““That first film can indeed be made on a shoestring”: especially if your families are wealthy enough to supply lengths of shoestring.”

    $2500 is wealthy?

    You can actually make films for pretty much nothing but your time. $10000 Films like El Mariachi and Clerks would cost even less today because those were shot on film. Video is basically free. And the lesson from both is to make a film around what you can get. You work in a local shop, set a comedy in a local shop. Ask the manager if you can film after hours.Get local actors, family, friends to appear in it.Offer them all a cut of the profit. Know someone with a gun?

  8. The HBO project green light series was interesting and well worth watching if you are interested in the process of film making.
    In one there’s the lovely moment when someone is arguing for diversity when picking the director and is slapped down with line that we pick the best director then we can talk about diversity when it comes to the crew

  9. I haven’t been to the cinema in 20 years , I don’t have a television, I prefe documentary to drama. In the last year or so I have discovered YouTube, There is an amazing amount of really good stuff made by people who are filming with a camera costing less than an iPhone while doing their job or hobby: often it is better than ‘professional’ documentary material because the focus is on showing a job being done rather that showing off with distracting camera angles and disorientating cutting.

  10. This is about entrepreneurship and the focussed, almost obsessive, male achieving something that the typical Grauniad reader finds incredible. It is also about modest amounts of capital (Philip’s and Mose’s families contributed dozens or hundreds of times as much as Philip’s $2500 savings from his part-time job).
    Oh, by the way, NYU is a fairly high status university so a black kid from Louisiana needed some good grades or other backing to get in and he says his grades suffered so …?
    How did something that demonstrates how wrong the whining by Grauniad columnists is get published? It is about media and he’s black.

  11. @JS October 30, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Already BAFTA is not allowing for consideration for awards films which don’t have the required diversity hires. As a large number of smaller films need to increase their visibility through award nominations this will have a serious impact on the whole area including fewer white straight directors.
    As per usual the feminists want to be handed the prize without effort while denigrating and stealing opportunities from those who have traditionally gone through purgatory to achieve it.

    +1

    Although, like Booker, awards nowadays often mean “PC Woke* Critics like, Customers don’t”

    Four Weddings And A Funeral was very low budget as was The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain

    Lefties, minorities, Wimmen – put up or shut up

    Lefties pretend FI Group and Body Shop are a myth

    .
    * Woke seems to include Clarkson, Hammond and May too
    https://order-order.com/2019/10/29/brexit-voters-told-not-apply-grand-tour-job/

    .
    @djc October 30, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    +1

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