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