IMDb Polls

Poll: Indies for Dummies

You want to make it as a film-maker, but you've got no A-lister to cast (not even B or C), no transcendent Kaufmanesque screenplay, no major studio contract, no particular skills as far as editing and directing goes, to put it simply: you're no Tarantino. But you have a vague idea of what your story should be... and you want to make an impact.

So, if you had to pick one, which of these (overused?) little tricks would you use to make your film debut more memorable?

After voting, you may discuss the list here

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!
     

    Brian O'Halloran in Clerks (1994)

    NO STORY?

    Real is the deal ... They'll look at your film like in a mirror ... the more boring and insignificant, the more meaningful it will be ... it will show your true independence, your courageous stance toward cinematic conventions. No you won't undergo the tyranny of plot, the dictatorship of having to "tell a story", the screen says its truth and they'll be there to experience it, and to drop some positive labels such as: a true-to-life story, a character study, documentary-like realism, slap-in-a-face etc

  2. Vote!
     

    Vincent Cassel in La Haine (1995)

    NO ORIGINALITY?

    Be proud of your references ... Michel in Breathless (1960) was a fan of Bogie, Mr. Blonde mentioned Lee Marvin in Reservoir Dogs (1992), Vinz in La Haine (1995) impersonated Travis Bickle in front of his mirror etc? Point is: acknowledge your references, and never be ashamed to explicitly show them in your movie, just because it's an indie doesn't make any less of a movie, and at least, it's a fine way to pay tribute to those who inspired you.

  3. Vote!
     

    Guy Pearce stars as Leonard

    NO PLOT?

    A beginning, a middle and an ending, but not in that order... Or the Rashomon (1950) principle: to make a mind-bending and puzzling story out of a simple storyline, just remember: you have to 'delinearize' your narrative. Chris Nolan had to make his bones with Memento (2000), before his Rubik-like masterpiece Inception (2010). And don't get me started on Tarantino.

  4. Vote!
     

    Richard Edson, Eszter Balint, and John Lurie in Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

    NO STYLE?

    All colors and no black-and-white makes Indie a dull film... Most viewers aren't fan of old movies yet their eyes are irresistibly attracted to black, white and their fifty shades of gray... they do give a unique touch to your film, stylizing it without trying hard, providing an "atmosphere" à la Shadows (1958), The 400 Blows (1959) and Breathless (1960). So one simple rule, if colors aren't significant to the plot, use B&W, it won't add much ... except everything.

  5. Vote!
     

    James Duval, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jena Malone in Donnie Darko (2001)

    NO POINT?

    Make them scratch their heads or drop their jaws ... More commonly known as the WTF principle, it consists on concluding the film with more questions than answers, for that, either you shock the viewers, like in Night of the Living Dead (1968), or you puzzle them like in Donnie Darko (2001). Either ways, viewers will say "WTF has just happened?". Naturally, you can play it like Lynch in Eraserhead (1977) and base the whole movie on the WTF principle, riskier move but with better results in case of success.

  6. Vote!
     

    Sean Penn in The Tree of Life (2011)

    NO SUBSTANCE?

    Depth is nothing, but nothingness is deep ... You didn't get it? Never mind, some stuff is just beyond rational thinking and this is what art movies are for, conveying the kind of messages that demand many viewings to be fully gotten, and since you target a niche market, you'll find followers. The point is to explore abstraction and metaphysics like in The Tree of Life (2011), Marty and QT made it cooler to quote the Bible than Led Zeppelin, why not you? Or you can also explore some psychological and spiritual subjects, whose introspective content will justify the use of a dream-like atmosphere and a poetic screenwriting, there is no answer to life, why should your film have one?

  7. Vote!
     

    Tommy Wiseau in The Room (2003)

    NO TALENT?

    I call worst, I mean, first ... The picture says it all, with such a cult-classic as Tommy Wiseau's The Room (2003), any Indie film made today would be immune to the accusation of worst.acting.ever (as Comic Book Guy would say), but there is a reason why the film is taken more seriously than serious movies: everything was deliberate (or was it?). Naturally, you have Memento (2000) the first story told in reverse, or Russian Ark (2002), the first film consisting on a single continuous shot, but the world is still waiting for the first director to make a film all shot in the dark, or one consisting on long monologue etc. it's gutsy, risky ... but whatever it will be, you'll be the first, not to mention... the last.

  8. Vote!
     

    Heather Donahue in The Blair Witch Project (1999)

    NO MONEY?

    Absence of means as a mean by itself ... You don't have much space for shooting? Take your small group of people and put them in a confined space, and you'll have a claustrophobic masterpiece like Cube (1997) or The Descent (2005)... no material? did you know the camera used for The Blair Witch Project (1999) was bought in Wal-Mart... and most of the film was improvised? Many classics were low-budget movies, you know why? Because there's no price for creativity (wow, that was nicely put).

  9. Vote!
     

    Simon of Cyrene (Jarreth Merz) helps Jesus (Jim Caviezel) carry his Cross.

    NO PUBLICITY?

    In the name of God, Sex and Violence... You got it, be controversial, shocking and provocative ... always look at the darker sides of ... religion (Life of Brian (1979))... sex (Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)) and violence (any Abel Ferrara's film) these easy targets are also perfectly compatible: take violence and religion for instance (The Passion of the Christ (2004)) or sex (Irreversible (2002)), anti-conformist fans will watch your film to defend it, haters to criticize it, and in-betweeners will be curious enough to know where they stand for, each one will be buzzing around on Twitter/Facebook/Youtube/Instagram and other social-networks giving you all the publicity you'll need. And think of a cool and shocking poster while you're at it.

  10. Vote!
     

    Matt Dillon and Thandiwe Newton in Crash (2004)

    NO FOCUS?

    Too many stories in mind? Just overlap them... Since Magnolia (1999), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Amores perros (2000) or the controversial Award-winning (Crash (2004)), Hyperlink movies (overlapping stories) proved to have non-disastrous effects even for non-disaster movies, and that way, you hit many birds with one stone by exploring all the ideas you developed in your fertile mind and combine them in one film, if you don't have a proper storyline, just think of reassembling the pieces of the puzzle for a mind-blowing climax or some sociologically relevant message.


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