A-Z of Independent Film

By Elliot Grove

A is for Actor

...the most exploited component of an independent film. Usually actors work free in a feature film hoping that they will be discovered and be able to launch their careers. Often, independent filmmakers will hire a name actor for a day or tow on the set in a cameo role hoping that the 'name' will help to pull in investors and enhance sales. In America, the actors on low budget independent features are called 'the moveable props' in deference to their abundant supply.

In the USA, actors are represented by SAG, and in the UK by Equity.

B is for Blonde

... the nickname for a 2k portable light that can be plugged into household current. A 750 watt light is called a redhead. These lights are considered the staple of independent filmmakers. Thus the phrase: I'm shooting with a blonde and two redheads. This equipment can be packed in a small case and easily transported with a camera in the back of a taxi.

At Raindance we have a great evening course called the Power of Lighting in which simple three point lighting is explained.

BIFA: Acronym for the British Independent Film Awards, the only awards specifically for independently produced film in Europe.
Not to be confused with Biffa - the London-based waste-disposal company.

B is for Budget - uuaully the first thing you get asked when you are trying to drum up interest in your film.

C is for Culture Jamming

...a publicity technique employed by many independent filmmakers as a way to enhance scanty marketing budgets by associating themselves (uninvited) with successful brands, or by courting controversy.

Camera is used for image capture. Independent filmmakers chose the right camera for the story and the budget. Rentals can vary from £50 per day for a near broadcast quality DV camera to £10,000 per day for a large 35mm kit with track, dolly and lenses.

Film cameras are defined by the width (gauge) of the film stock: 8mm, 16mm, 35mm and 70mm. Specialty gauges are super 8mm, super 16mm, and super 35mm. Imax cameras take 70mm film sideways to allow for a 135mm x 70mm frame.
Tape formats are VHS, Super VHS, Beta, Digibeta, Mini DV, DVCAM, DVPro and HDTV.

Raindance Film Festival screens work originated on all formats. See the submission requirementshere.

D is for Distribution

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