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Depleted: A New Movement
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For nearly five years, we've had a variety of filmmakers give behind-the-scenes info on their films and insight into the filmmaking process. However, what you've never seen is a large chunk of the MFM staff collaborating on a single film franchise and sharing our results with you. We've stated that Hollywood caliber quality is in the hands of the no-budget filmmakers of the world. Now we're going to put our statements to the test.

We're using all the same tools that our readers have at their hands: social networking, grassroots publicity, out-of-the-box marketing, collaborative agreements, deferred payment contracts, and ebay/Craig's List! Using these tools we've already gotten filmmakers, visual effects artists, photographers, and musicians from around the globe to agree to help out with this project. Each step along the way, we'll be doing articles updating you on how things are going, what's happening, and what things we've found successful.

As a quick overview, the world of Depleted is one of a dystopian future that has resulted from man's inhumanity to man as seen through the lens of terror, paranoia, and violent civil unrest. It grows so devastating that the world's economy and food supplies are crippled, leading to starvation and plague. Unlike most post apocalyptic movies, nuclear bombs, some grand war, nor zombies are not to blame for the damage done to the world (although many secrets remain as to what things sparked the fear and civil unrest in the first place). Because of this, we can show a highly damaged and isolated world, without having to shoot in deserts or in bomb shredded tenements. Green screens can (and will) be used to augment shots, not to completely replace them. This brings down the price point for shooting, while still allowing us to use the many abilities of low-budget effects to our advantage. (You may not be able to do every Hollywood FX trick, but with some good pre-planning, you can do a number of them quite believably.)

And even though the characters that drive this film are extremely flawed and dark in a manner that has rarely been seen in American cinema, this will be no depressing, hand-wringing drama. Rather, the feature will be a deeply nuanced action-adventure film that'll leave your pulse pounding--complete with gunfights and tense chases. We'll be using the technology that Alex Ferrari popularized with realistic gas recoil airsoft guns and post effects muzzle and smoke effects, to bring down the price and to prevent us from having to have an armorer on set. (Of course, as is always the case, we'll make sure to alert the authorities as to what we're doing ahead of time, so we don't get thrown in jail!)

To show that we absolutely are practicing what we preach, this film will have a $30K budget which will be raised by crowdfunding. (For more information on one popular source of crowdfunding, be sure to read Sheri Candler's great article on this subject from this issue.) One of the biggest ways we'll be building excitement for the film is going to be through the film's website, which we're aiming to launch by May, and it's connected new media streams. To get people further invested, we'll have a short film that's a prologue to the feature that will be released in June. Folks who sign up for our mailing list will get songs from the short and feature soundtrack, as well as exclusive inside information as it's released.

Shortly thereafter, the most unusual element of this filmmaking process will unfold as short films set in the world of Depleted created by other award winning filmmakers start to appear. (We've approached filmmakers that have impressed us to create their visions of this world. Filmmakers from the U.S. to Israel and from the UK to Australia are already on board and prepping their films.) Further content, secrets, easter eggs, and films will continue to roll out through the site until we shoot the feature early next year. (And, if the technology is finally available, we'll be shooting it on the RED Scarlet, with its 120-150 fps 3K capabilities.) Then we'll have updates on the actual production, what shooting with the new technology was like, and the tricks we developed in the field.

Our goal is to have the film released by next Christmas, in a number of different attractive options, from online digital rental to massive collector's edition DVD/Book combos. And because we've made sure to procure soundtrack creation rights from the talented musicians we're working with, fans'll even be able to buy the killer soundtrack in a variety of attractive ways!

Stay tuned for future updates on this project!

God Bless,

Jeremy Hanke
Microfilmmaker Magazine

JeremyHankePicture The director of two feature length films and half a dozen short films, Jeremy Hanke founded Microfilmmaker Magazine to help all no-budget filmmakers make better films. His first book on low-budget special effects techniques, GreenScreen Made Easy, (which he co-wrote with Michele Yamazaki) was released by MWP to very favorable reviews. He's curently working on the sci-fi film franchise, World of Depleted through Depleted: Day 419 and the feature film, Depleted.

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