I am a long-term computer professional that has also trained as a filmmaker/videographer.
The script for Joker referenced here reads more like a transcript of the movie than a pre-edit shooting script. I found a script for Joker that claims to be an earlier draft and it is more interesting to me to compare the versions and see how the script changed when shot and edited.
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In Dune, Paul is an intentional commentary of the White Savior trope; the novel uses the white savior trope but not to give us a white savior. Herbert saw Western society as flawed in its exploitation of non-western cultures. In the book (don't know how this is treated in the new movie) Paul and Jessica talk about how the Fremen culture has been seeded with certain myths and legends by the Bene Gesserit's Missionaria Protectiva that they will have to utilize and leverage to save the Atreides house (not trying to get too spoilery about the movie but the book should be beyond spoiling by now). In some interviews he compares Paul to the main character in "Lawrence of Arabia" and how Paul is an alternative take on the story. Part of the conflict of Paul is that once he has started the "savior" myth to save himself and his family he loses control of it. Part of the sequel "Dune Messiah" is Paul dealing with the horrible costs of starting that ball rolling. He's not a "savior" but an opportunist using a convenient story to save himself and only later seeing the costs and wondering if he did the right thing (short-term gain vs long-term cost).
That is some great information. Also glad to see that you were able to pay the actor. Look forward to seeing more films and articles.
While the photo with this article shows a very expensive camera rig, you say you spent about $1,000 making the short. You list a Panasonic S1H as the actual camera on the shoot with 3 Rokinon Cine DS Primes. This is also a pretty pricey package but could be rented (quick internet check) for about $400 per day (camera and lenses). There's also Manfrotto sticks and head and an Edelkrone slider, a Tilta wireless follow focus, a Small HD monitor. The question is if you spent most of the $1,000 renting this equipment or was this just what you had lying around? A rough breakdown of a budget would be helpful when planning this type of shoot.
If you look at the leaked budget for "The Village" M. Night pulled about $10 million off the top of the $70 million budget. If you add in the other producers and the top 5 actors then you're at about $23 million (1/3 of the budget). So he self finances "The Visit" and he's down to $5 million for the whole movie. So he built a profitable name with other people's money so he could afford to self finance on a budget.
He's mostly a good writer/director but this article is missing context as to how he is even in a position to do what most filmmakers can't afford to do.