How to make a feature film for less than $200

Originally published on May 29, 2011 at Facebook, the lucky bastards.

1. Acquire USD$200
2. Acquire a quality camcorder that costs less than $200
3. Write a script
4. Distribute the script to prospective collaborators
5. Wait for BIG Hollywood to throw me a bone
6. Post an ad on Craigslist looking for a dedicated crew that will work for free
7. Look for alternatives to fund the project, which includes an option like YouTube
8. Look for an additional source of income, possibly another part-time job
9. Spend $8 on a McDonald’s extra value meal
10. Spend $4 renting a newly released movie on Blu-ray
11. Spend $33 filling up the car’s gas tank
12. Spend $82 replacing a defunct part of the oven
13. Spend $75 on this week’s groceries
14. Spend $300 on a new lawnmower
15. Spend $10,000 helping some poor schlub in Nigeria trying to reclaim throne as rightful king of a unknown, remote village
16. Spend $275,000 on a trip to Hawaii for a vacation to relax from all the stress
17. While staring blankly out at the calming blue waves and golden beach, sipping on a sweet cup of tea, as seagulls caw and perch on the telephone lines covered in dew, I come to an epiphany of the grandiose action at which I shall partake to accomplish the goal of creating the next great American film. Quickly, I rush to my typewriter, the romantic tool of great writers in history, and hunched over it, I begin to write.
18. “It was but only a year ago I set out to overcome this great obstacle in front of me. I was determined to become an auteur of cinema. With a budget of $200, I knew it was within grasp. Soon, with my actions following proper to any Horatio Alger literature, my dream was falling into place, block by block, brick by brick, Lego by Lego. I had climbed the social ladder so high and so quickly, and acquired so much success, I realized I didn’t need to make any films at all.

There, standing from the balcony of my $20 million mansion looking out at the legion of fans gathered below in the courtyard applauding me, I raised a hand and gestured gratefully for all the support the fans had given me in contributing to my successes. We poured the wine and ate expensive caviar on buttery Ritz crackers. But eventually, the self-celebratory gala was growing tiresome and I retired to my master bedroom to have a nap.

In my dreams, I imagined a poor child from the ghetto, in his raggedy imposter Mossimo T-shirt covered with grains of rice, running through the damp alleyways of Crime and Suffering. The child knew of only one way out. And that was towards the green light of Capitalism. It beckoned him to become a better worker and a fighter for justice. Soon, he would be donning the armor of a policeman. He cleaned up his town and ran for mayor. All was happiness and joy for the child, and then I awoken drenched in sweat.

I couldn’t help but feel a sense of sorrow for the child. He did not exist, yet I had felt a connection to him as if he were me. Angered by this association, the indignation of it, I stormed over to the dresser where I had encased my script behind glass. I grabbed the glowing fire iron from the fireplace and shattered the case.

And there it was, my script in all it’s pristine condition. I could still smell the ribbon ink. I snatched it and hurled it into the fireplace. It crackled and blistered, what seemed to have been eternity, as I watched it blacken slowly I sensed it screaming for me to save it from the flames of damnation. A tear fell down my cheek. And I turned my back to it.

Outside, the gala had gained its second wind and the crowd was becoming more jubilant. And here I was, mourning the lost of a bundle of paper. Or was it a trove of ideas?

I made my way to the balcony cautiously. It had started raining. In the distance, I could hear the thunder clapping. This was my stage. And they are my audience. I returned to my bedroom and closed the curtains. And the storm started.”
18. Forget about it and go ride a bike
19. The end

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