Making A $500,000 Movie For $85,000 – Full Interview with ON THE HORIZON’s Pascal Payant

Watch the video interview on Youtube here


Film Courage: Pascal, what is the difference between making a $500 movie versus an $85,000 movie?

Pascal Payant: Exactly the same. Seriously… it just goes to different aspects of it but it was not more complicated because when I do a film, I try to do it with the bare minimum. For example with ON THE HORIZON we made it for $85,000 but most of that money went for travel, actors, food, plane tickets and it goes fast like this [snaps his fingers]. So when it is time to do the budget it’s not that complex. So whether I am doing a $500 or $85,000 film, I am using exactly the same technique. I shoot the same way. The only thing I had was a bigger camera. But other than that, it was exactly the same process.


“I love doing short films. Short films are about finding your style and signature.”



Watch the video on Youtube here

Film Courage: Which camera was it?

Pascal Payant: I used the Red Dragon. I used it because I was debating. I was like “Should I go with Canon?” With the Red I chose it because I knew that my shoot would be chaotic, traveling all the time and I know that sometimes I might miss something. With the raw footage you can fix everything later, so that was a fail-safe.

Film Courage: With ON THE HORIZON you had it as a short film first and then you decided to make it as a feature film. Aside from making it a longer movie, did you notice that were things that surprised you with having this longer script in lengthening the film?

Pascal Payant: No. For me it was more…well let me say that I love doing short films. Short films are about finding your style and signature. I had an idea and I wanted to do it.

For instance with the short film for ON THE HORIZON, I shot that in like three hours and it came out amazingly. We shot in the desert. So when I did that I was in the process of finding my funding source for the feature film. I was searching for like $300,000. That’s a lot of money! With that idea I was like “Can I make this story?” with ON THE HORIZON and just reshape it to make it around $60,000 to $85,000.

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

I scaled it down and I was asking favors from people. I know it’s kind of a cliché but you ask people for favors, look for sponsors and it worked out. Sometimes by doing something an idea clicks. And when I did the short film version that was the revelation of “Oh, screw the $300,000.” Let’s make it for maybe $60,000 and I’m sure it’s going to be easier to find investors and it worked.

Film Courage: I often hear filmmakers say they want to make something but they don’t have the budget. That they make a film, it has to be a $1,000,000 plus project. How was it for you to come to that decision that if I am going to do this, this is all the budget I may get currently and I still want to make it?

Pascal Payant: Yeah, but I’ve been doing this for the past ten to fifteen years and I’ve always used the same technique. No crew. I do everything myself…..(hear more of Pascal Payant’s full interview on Youtube here).


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The project is open for submissions until February 23rd, 2017 at 4:00PM PST. There are $25,000 in cash awards available to the top 10 videos that will be chosen by Nickelodeon.