Filmmaking 101

I'll be releasing the final episode of “The Adventures of Rinku & Dinesh” episode 4 tomorrow.  Is it the best thing I’ve ever made?  No. I would go so far to say that it’s probably one of the most retarded web series currently on YouTube.  Whether you find it funny or not, that's subjective, but I'm proud that we finished it.

I don’t think people realize how HARD it is to make things when you have no money.  Finding talented actors, securing locations, writing scripts, directing shots and editing footage is extremely difficult. Give me an idea, and I’ve always been able to somehow force it into existence while simultaneously wanting to kill myself.  

A few years ago, I decided I was done.   I stopped caring what anybody thought of me, which actually became liberating.  I let go of all my agents, disbanded my production company and got a full time job.

For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to put this giant Bobby Khan movie poster (which I produced) on my bedroom wall. Every morning when I was putting on my suit and tie for work, I stared at this poster and recalled the amount of effort and miracles that went behind making it. I remembered WHY I put the poster up in the first place.  Anything is possible

When the Disney movie “The Million Dollar Arm” came out.  My friend Lak and I made an audition video where we pretended to be the two Indians who came to America to play baseball.  The producers of the movie will see it and have no choice but to cast us!   It was intended to be serious but it had to be the worst, unintentionally hilarious, audition videos ever created. We looked like we were doing a horrible Saturday Night Live sketch and laughed our asses off at how terrible we were in it.  I remember telling Lak, we should make a comedy web series about these Indian guys and then never talked about it again.

Being a masochist, I had a creative impulse to make something again.  Lak mentioned to me, “Whatever happened to that Rinku and Dinesh idea?” The problem was, I didn’t have my production crew anymore and had ZERO resources.  Lak insisted “Dude, you don’t need anyone."  He was right, having no resources means nothing when you have great friends.

Every weekend for the next several months, me and some comedy/actor friends would shoot Rinku & Dinesh. Yes, producing still sucks, but it’s a lot more fun when you have no expectations.  I did all the pre-production, used lapel microphones, and when I was in the shot, I would give the camera for somebody else to hold. I didn’t care what the actors said as long as it was funny and the story moved forward. 

Joe, the baseball manager, Tanya, the hooker, Chris, the angry cop.  Everybody was hilarious in their own unique way and made additional contributions.  John Kviklys made the “Wanted” poster, Lak got guns and recruited two Mexican actors from his acting class.  I remember one time I wrote a draft, and in place of the dialogue I put, "Chris, come up with something funny here."  Wendi costume designed her entire wardrobe while Brian came up with the"Hold Up, Wait a Minute" catchphrase.  The list goes on...  

I want to stress that everybody worked for FREE and woke their ass up on Sunday mornings to shoot in random locations across L.A.  No egos involved and everyone brought 100%

I write this for aspiring filmmakers.  You don’t need money to shoot stuff. I see Kickstarters all the time, "I need X amount of money so I can shoot my web series or movie so I can hire this DP from USC and this lighting guy."  I want to slap these people.  The past ten years, I’ve shot two web series, numerous shorts and a feature movie with no budget.  What I DO have is basic filmmaking skills, (which is attainable), a decent work ethic, and amazing friends. 

I’m not saying what you make will look great.  In fact, your first couple attempts will probably suck. BUT THAT'S OK.   We're living in a day and age where it doesn't have to be perfect, and there's an audience for everything.  It's your responsibility to take a chance on yourself.  Ask your friends for help and then pay it forward.  That's pretty much what my entire creative existence is based on.  Write, shoot, edit, repeat.  

Good luck!












Tarun ShettyComment