From the Archives: How To Make a Movie for $10,000 (1978)

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by Amos Poe

If we have learned anything from New Wave (punk) rock, it’s an aesthetic for the new form: the minimal sound and the maximum idea that what is fresh and unpretentious is somehow more truthful and—maybe—more honest. What’s the use of Elton John speaking of pain (unless of a hair transplant) or Peter Frampton talking of sorrow, when we all know that these two men can buy their way out of five or six infernos and can jet from here to eternity and never miss a gig? Not that rich boys don’t experience pain or that a fat wallet is any antidote for sorrow, it’s just that a million dollars will buy the kind of escape that most of us can’t afford. What many of us can afford, however, is to make movies. Sounds crazy? Well, I’m 27 years old, and in the last seven years I’ve finished 32 Super-8 films and seven 16 mm films (this is not a Guinness world record). These films, especially the early ones, can be categorized as home movies, portraits, structural films, diaries, “presence” films and epics. Lately I’ve taken to the full-length (90 minutes), fictional narrative format, and I’ve written, produced and directed Unmade Beds and The Foreigner in the last year and a half. These two films were produced for under $10,000 each.

In 1975, Ivan Krai, guitarist with the Patti Smith Group, and I were filming our favorite groups and bands. We used an old Bolex camera, which we acquired second hand, and a newer slightly dented Beaulieau. Both cameras could be held with one hand or placed on a tripod, so that we could hold a movie light simultaneously. After a couple of months of this, we edited the film and named it …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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