No Time Like the Present to Make your Film

"When the cost of making films is as much as a pencil and a piece of paper, then you'll have true art." Jean Cocteau

The time has come to pick up the camera, do what you need to do and get your vision into the world.

Some random observations about great moments in DIY Filmmaking.

Cody Blue Snider.  Past DIY Fest winner, and budding filmmaker.
1. An actor we know was in need of an acting reel.  So he set up a camera in an empty room.  There were curtains blowing, and the light fell in the background.  Some sounds of a suitcase being zipped up, and the actor walked by the camera and disappeared somewhere off camera. A car door slammed.  The actor came back, sat in front of the camera, reached up and adjusted the focus on himself. A selfie film. He looked into camera and said "You want to know why I'm leaving you?  Let me tell you why."  He then proceeded to pour his heart out. Got up, paced around the room, tore the curtains, threw the chair, then cried desperately on camera. Until he recovered, said goodbye and left the frame.  The actor sent that short film off to a top agency, and he was signed immediately.  I know, the agent told us the story. Think outside the box. FILM OUTSIDE THE BOX (TM)

This winning film was shot over a year at the South Pole.
2. Last year's winning film was shot by a couple of filmmakers in Syria. They took out their cellphones and filmed scenes of Aleppo. Devastated. They caught a bombing on camera, and we watched as a young child was killed from shrapnel. We watched them walk through the haunted streets of their town. They came upon a cat in the street, starving. One of the filmmakers said "We should just film cats walking around Aleppo. Then maybe people would watch what's happening here. More people look at cat videos than watch when a country is falling apart."  If you have some tragedy, sociological reality that's at your doorstep, you owe it to your talent to turn the camera on and tell the story.

A still from the Syrian Film

3. Last year's break out hit from Sundance was a film called "Tangerine."  It was shot on an I-phone, and followed some colorful characters through Los Angeles. It wasn't unscripted, but the film felt like it was.  Real people. Real scenes. Real settings.  It wasn't part of our festival, but it could have been.  It's easy to turn your camera on - harder to edit the content - but still, worth the effort.

Werner Herzog with a camera definitely not DIY
4. Last year's world film entry focused on the actors in India who perform on roadside stands, a tradition that used to exist in the west, but now only exists on youtube.  We met a variety of actors who've been playing these same roles their entire lives - a religious festival which tells the epic story of the Hindu religion.  Who are these actors? What motivates them to tell their story?  A fascinating look into a world we rarely get to see.  You just never know where inspiration might strike.  Stay open to what moves you.

This film began as a DIY Film project, became a feature
5. One of our winning films was a scripted story about a man who thinks he's being followed. Eventually he confronts the person following him and realizes it's himself having returned from the future.  He tells himself that he should go to the local lottery shop and play a certain number in order to win.  That in the future he learns how to time travel, and that he's come back to change his life.  The original twist is - that he shoots himself, takes over his old identity and goes off to win the money for himself.  A brilliantly clever film shot without CGI, just traditional camera tricks and great acting.  Films don't have to hard or complex - sometimes the simplest tale is the best tale. The trick is to tell a story that moves you, the DIY Filmmaker.

There's no time like the present.  The clock be ticking.
What's the story that moves you? What's the story that makes you angry, makes you fall in love, makes you cry?  Do you have the time to put it on screen?  Just allow for a moment that your life has been lived to this very moment so that you can do just that - pick up the camera, turn it on and tell your story.  The worst thing that can happen is that it creates great success for you - and then you'll have to deal with that.
You can make a cat film - it just should be a compelling cat film.
Either way a painter doesn't always pick up a paint brush to pay the rent. 

Sometimes they pick up the paint brush to express an emotion, or to impart some feeling that they no longer want to keep inside.  Allow that emotion out, turn on your camera and put it onto film.

"Don't forget to thank us at Oscar time."

The DIY Film Festival Team