Our mission at MicroFilmmaker Magazine is to connect and assist the ultra-low budget independent content creators who, more often than not, seem to get lost in the shuffle.
When we first started MFM in 2005, it was estimate that 70% of all films were made for $30,000 or less. Now, with the DSLR revolution and the professional users of YouTube, it’s likely that 80%-90% of all films are made for under $30,000.00.
Because this budget is so low that Hollywood contemptuously considers these films to be ‘Below No-Budget’, they have come to be referred to as ‘Micro-Cinema’ films–or, as we’ve shortened it further, Micro-Films. Micro-films are most often made by people who are working a normal job and funding most or all of their films out of their own pockets. These are the sort of people who are so passionate about making films that they might go hungry in order to be able to make a film they are creating. These are the people for which filmmaking isn’t about money–it’s about the magic that can only come from their souls when they pour their life’s blood into the art of making films.
We use the term ‘film’ loosely, because those who make films for less than $30,000 can rarely afford the expenses of actually shooting on ‘film.’ As such, they are the ones who most often experiment with digital film, digital video, high definition mediums, multimedia content, online storyworlds, ARG (Alternate Reality Gaming), and video games. (Which is why we now refere to “content creators” rather than just “filmmakers.” As our own World of Depleted showcases, opening doors on a variety of ways to create and interact with content also opens doors on a variety of stories which can be effectively told.) They are the ones who are pushing the envelope in ways that the current regime of Hollywood could never stomach.
And I have news for you, this isn’t a new trend!
MicroFilmmakers from the dawn of film have been pushing the envelope. In the new short film compilation, Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-garde Film 1894-1941, we see that fringe indie filmmakers were the ones testing the newest technologies long before Hollywood ever embraced them. (In fact, that’s literally what the term avant-garde means: ‘ahead of the pack!’) In 1896, there were MicroFilmmakers experimenting with colorizing moving films after they were shot, so that the projected film was in color! That’s forty-three years before the Wizard of Oz, folks!
All this to say, with as rich a heritage as Micro-Cinema has (even though the name was coined only a couple decades ago!), it was high time that someone created a filmmaking website that focused on connecting Micro-Cinema filmmakers and helping them improve their craft.
With that in mind, we created MicroFilmmaker Magazine to provide all the things that MicroFilmmakers need: how-to guides on building steady rigs, dollies, and other equipment, discounts on services MicroFilmmakers can really use, articles on better filmmaking techniques from preproduction to post, reviews of the newest cameras, software, equipment, and adapters in a MicroFilmmaker’s actual price range, a community section for filmmakers to converse and help one another, a critiques section for new Micro-Films for training purposes, and, finally, rolled out in 2012, our new Straight Shooter Film Reviews for publicity purposes.
The last two parts are especially worthy of note, because, we at MicroFilmmaker are so bent on making your films better, we want you to have the opportunity for both personalized training and publicity.
For training, we actually will do up to three critiques on a single film or piece of content: a rough critique, a semi-final critique, and a final critique. The first two are designed to help you work the bugs out of your film as your editing progresses, while the last critique, is the final coverage of your film. As such, you can improve your film exponentially by availing yourself of our site long before you ever submit your film to a film festival or agent. (And for new filmmakers, you can avoid a lot of mistakes by reading the critiques we do on other people’s films!)
For folks who’ve already improved their films through our critiques or just want to go straight to getting publicity for their films, our Straight Shooter Film Reviews give them the opportunity to get some killer press! Reviewers are film enthusiasts who’ll give films a fair shot and every film correctly submitted will be reviewed. Folks who make impressive films could win the coveted Flanagan-Varava Filmmaking Award, while folks who make really problematic films will have the reviewer stop watching when it becomes too painful, showing a percentage completed in his/her review. Either way, film watchers will know exactly what they’re getting into and filmmakers will know exactly why they kept their audience or where they lost them!
And because we are trying to help the microbudget content community, readers aren’t charged a membership fee for all our great content. (The only thing we charge any money for is a small fee to the film’s director or producer for our in-depth Film Critiques or for our new Straight Shooter film reviews.)
Don’t hide in the fringes of society any longer! Be part of the microfilmmaking revolution! (To read about my Editorial Vision, both in 2005 and, seven years later, in 2012, go to: Editorial Vision: Then & Now)