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“I was too cheap to even buy a can of black paint.” -R. Rodriguez

September 28, 2010

Following up on my previous post, I thought it was a good idea to refresh you on a video many of you may have already seen. I first saw this video last semester in Narrative Editing class (which I know was canceled this semester so I guess this goes out to all of you who couldn’t take it) and was blown away. In a time where people are losing jobs and making money is difficult, how can we make films with a high production value? Well, ask Robert Rodriguez and he’ll tell you money doesn’t have anything to do with it. Using only his creativity and the resources given to him, he famously created El Mariachi for only $7 grand and sold it to Columbia Pictures.

Now before you watch the video, you should keep in mind a few things:
1. This is his debut feature film but most definitely not his first film. As you will see, Rodriguez knows exactly what he is doing and that only comes from experience. Before making El Mariachi, he probably had 100 other films he made as “practice.”
2. He shot this in the early 90s. We are now in 2010. Times have changed and you might say, “what he was able to do then can’t happen today!” While that may be true to some extent, it is not necessarily completely true. Technology has given even the average person an opportunity at being a filmmaker. With HD camcorders becoming cheaper and cheaper, the playing field is becoming more and more level and while the competition has vastly increased, so has the opportunities. As they say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
3. I can’t stress this enough: RESOURCES and FRIENDS!! One of the top 10 things Esther Robinson mentioned was to “create strength through community.” Your friends are going to be your biggest asset and will help you out in ways money may not be able to. Watch how Robert Rodriguez organized the people in the community as well as his friends to create his film.
4. Editing. Rodriguez is a natural born editor. This goes back to point 1 in that it’s all from experience but he really shows how important it is to know HOW to edit when shooting on the fly.


Robert Rodriguez’s TEN MINUTE FILM SCHOOL, Parts 1 and 2

About 10 years later, Rodriguez is given a much higher budget to make Once Upon a Time in Mexico but his mentality and filmmaking style haven’t changed. Here’s 10 MINUTE FLICK SCHOOL:

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