Hi Film Folk!
We shall be ignoring the elements that are decided by nature and nurture such as the potential upbringing Nolan had. Born rich or poor, it is up to the individual to pursue their dreams and so let us begin with the efforts the young director made towards his.
Like so many before him, Nolan cut his teeth on, and found his style with, shorts.
He made 3, in public knowledge, Doodlebug, Tarantella, Larceny.
Watch Doodlebug below:
Incrementally Increase Budgets
As you will hear continually from The Film Doctor Team (and from many others) you have to start within your reach. You can throw a lycra-donning Christian Bale off a Gotham City skyscraper while being shot at by a man on fire or have Leonardo DiCaprio step into a collapsible dream-city AFTER you’ve made something a little more humble and affordable.
His first film, FOLLOWING, reportedly cost just £3, 000 and was shot over the course of a year.
“At the time I did Following (1998), I was looking at the American ultra-low-budget model that didn’t really exist in the UK. A low-budget film in England tended to be about £500,000 to £600,000. In America, there was a tradition of guys like Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith making films for thousands, and that’s what we’d been doing for short films. So it was really just a case of using that knowledge and expanding it to feature length. I hear of people doing it in the UK now and I think that’s a great thing.”
We all know (or should know!) what great buzz and notice film festivals can get you and your film.
“The procedure is basically to try to get into film festivals. I’m half American, so I was able to come over to America and live here and start battering the American film festivals. There are a lot of great festivals, not just Sundance. So the key is to get it screened at a festival and start interesting people there.”
Ask and You May Receive
So when you’re at a Festival (or any other platform for you and your film) what more can you do?
“(On Memento (2000)) The budget was about £3million, which is low for an independent film – but yes, it was a huge leap of faith. “Memento” was clearly on a bigger scale than Following (1998) but, at the same time, there were very strong stylistic connections. People want to see something that shows them you can do what you say. That’s the trick.”
The People Around You
We do not know the full extent of the Nolan clan’s working habits…but we do know that Christopher Nolan’s success is not strictly attributed to him.
His wife Emma Thomas has produced almost all of his projects from his earliest shorts right up to the present day.
There must be something about this collective arrangement that fuels the director’s success.
Go to America (or stay there!)
“There’s a very limited pool of finance in the UK. To be honest, it’s a very clubby kind of place. In Hollywood there’s a great openness, almost a voracious appetite for new people. In England there’s a great suspicion of the new. In cultural terms, that can be a good thing, but when you’re trying to break into the film industry, it’s definitely a bad thing. I never had any luck with interesting people in small projects when I was doing Following. Never had any support whatsoever from the British film industry, other than Working Title, the company that [producer] Emma Thomas was working for at the time. They let me use their photocopier, stuff like that, which is not to be underestimated.”
Don’t Copy Other People
This whole post has been about how to achieve Mr. Nolan’s career so far but obviously you are not Christopher Nolan. You are you. You may end up more or less successful but either way you will always be you.
The man himself agrees:
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that everybody’s situation is unique, and the one thing I’ve learned is that instead of copying someone else’s model for a low-budget film, you really have to look at what you’ve got available and see how you can tell the story you want to tell, using the things that you have around you. “
The Dark Knight Rises is released on the 20th July.
‘MONDAY PRESCRIPTION’ No. 22 – Don’t try and be anybody else but do analyse, with prejudice, the exact ways that your favourites reached their status.Join us on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and sign up to our emails on the right hand side for articles straight to your inbox. Any questions/thoughts/experiences of your own??? Leave a comment below! Have a great week! The Film Doctor Team Check out our previous MONDAY PRESCRIPTIONS
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