14 Lessons From Making A $3500 Feature Film by Adam Bradley

Adam Bradley, Filmmaker/Actor of YESTERDAY LAST YEAR: When I was getting started in the film industry somebody shared a phrase with me that has stuck with me for the last 23 years. FAST, CHEAP and GOOD – pick two.

My name is Adam Bradley and in 2012 I wrote, produced, acted in and edited a no-budget feature film called YESTERDAY LAST YEAR.

YESTERDAY LAST YEAR is a mumblecore sci-fi film about a love triangle that gets more complicated once a time-machine enters the picture. We shot it in 9 days with three actors in one location for $3,500 bucks.

A couple of months ago if was released on Amazon Prime and Vimeo on Demand.

Adam Bradley, Filmmaker/Actor of YESTERDAY LAST YEAR

So in this video what I actually want to do is share my experiences, the lessons that I learned and the mistakes that I made creating this work.

There’s a lot of information out there about making your own work. But not enough people talk about one of the central challenges involved in making your own work which I believe is this. Unless you have a lot of money to spend, you’re going to be the one doing a lot of that work. And when you are writing and producing and acting and editing and maybe even directing, additional challenges come into play.

For me everything boils down to one key rule. Once you are actually on set, you’re going to be under the gun and everything has to be done fast. Which means now you have to choose between cheap and good. If you’ve spent your time in development and in pre-production planning properly, you can get a lot of quality for not very much money. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned.

First, you have to have partners. And you have to have partners who are in it for the long haul. You’ve got to have people who are right there with you on day one and will be there all the way through until the bitter, bitter end.

But you need to pick those people carefully. You have to trust them and you have to like them. You have to be able to disagree with them and resolve those disagreements without throwing stuff at each other.

And in addition to that you want skillsets that compliment each other. In my experience there are people who are really good at making things happen and then there are people who are really good at getting things done. People who can make things happen, these are the sort of people who can walk into a luxury hotel, ask to speak to the manager and 15 minutes later you’ve got yourself a suite and use of the rooftop bar once it closes for the night.

People who get things done, these are the sort of people who will pay attention to  every single dollar and where it’s going. Who will know what the actor’s schedules are, who will know who has what sort of dietary restriction, who can look at the schedule and say “Yeah, this makes sense. Now we need to move this scene over here.” You need both of those skill sets. And if you are writing something because you also want to direct and produce it…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



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