August 6, 2018
podcast

How to Shoot a Feature Film for Only $7,000

With only $7K, two weeks, and no crew, this is how Alejandro Montoya Marín made an action-filled comedy feature.

If you're wondering why these parameters, here's the reason: it took 7,000 bucks for Robert Rodriguez to shoot his breakout film El Mariachi. And since it’s the 25th anniversary of that film, Rodriguez decided to host a show with El Rey called Rebel Without a Crew where he picks five filmmakers to make a feature each using the same arsenal. Our guest on this episode, Alejandro Montoya Marín, was one of those filmmakers selected.

The contingency of being on the show was that you would make a feature film with $7K and only fourteen shooting days—with only a plus-one as your crew. Marín's finished film, Monday, is a delirious ride laced with equal parts gender-bending action and surprisingly cheeky comedy. It's crazy to think this thing only cost a few grand! Here's a look at the trailer:

In this conversation, No Film Schooler and filmmaker Christopher Boone and I chat with Marín how he was able to pull all this off, and how ultimately, this experience was the perfect way to get past the hurdle where he can now call himself a feature filmmaker. If you are experiencing the gnawing self-doubt and endless list of must-haves that can sometimes hover around the making of a feature film, this conversation is good medicine.

Topics we discuss in this podcast:

  • How Alejandro Montoya Marín wrote the script in three days and why he knew it could be made for $7K
  • Why he spent more money on sound than picture
  • How to pull off the fourteen-day shooting schedule (with only nine-hour days)
  • Why Albuquerque and New Mexico are great places to be an indie filmmaker
  • What it was like to be filmed for the Rebel Without a Crew series and get first-hand advice from Robert Rodriguez
  • What filmmakers can learn from this very useful exercise

To find out the latest updates on where you can see Monday, go here or follow Alejandro on Instagram.

Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.

Please subscribe and rate us on iTunesSoundcloud, or the podcasting app of your choice. You can play all of our No Film School interview episodes right here:

This episode was edited by Jon Fusco.

Your Comment

6 Comments

This was a really enjoyable interview! Please let me know if you ever want to do sort of a follow-up or spin-off episode about how to shoot a feature for even less money in only slightly more time. That's how I made my feature debut as a writer/director - which is having a free premiere in LA this Wednesday 8/8 if anyone is interested. Here's the Eventbrite link to get more info and RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scraps-los-angeles-premiere-88-at-8-pm-tick...)

August 6, 2018 at 7:20PM, Edited August 6, 7:20PM

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Daniel Shar
Writer/Director
292

Hey Daniel, thanks for listening and for sharing. Break a leg at your LA premiere! Sounds like fun, and a ticket price I can get behind.

August 6, 2018 at 8:26PM

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Oakley Anderson-Moore
Writer
Director/Shooter/Editor

Thank you! Any and all NoFilmSchoolers in the LA area with $0 to spare are welcome to come!

August 6, 2018 at 8:31PM

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Daniel Shar
Writer/Director
292

Daniel, I watched the trailer for Scraps. Looks solid! I'd definitely watch the premiere if I lived in LA (I'm in Oregon). Out of curiosity, what did you spend on the film? As a no-budget filmmaker myself I'm always curious to hear how other filmmakers did it.

Here's a trailer for a feature-length adaptation of Pilgrim's Progress that I shot for my church on a budget of around $2,500. We released the film free online and are up to around 110K totally organic views. I never would have guessed my first feature film would be a family friendly musical, but overall I'm pretty proud of how it turned out given the ambition of the story and the resources we had.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufnXBsA8tKE

August 7, 2018 at 3:03PM

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David West
Filmmaker
1056

That was outstanding ... my favorite interview in a long time ..

August 7, 2018 at 12:02PM, Edited August 7, 12:02PM

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Cool name!

August 8, 2018 at 1:25PM

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Álex Montoya
Writer/Director
530