Back in 1994, after we published a series of articles on no-budget movies like El Mariachi and Clerks, we felt morally compelled to publish a more sober follow-up, The Myth of the Seven Thousand Dollar Movie. It was written by producers Mary Jane Skalski (Win Win) and Anthony Bregman (Our Idiot Brother), who back then were members of the New York production company Good Machine. They wrote: “If you’re like most low-budget filmmakers, the word deliverables probably ranks somewhere at the very bottom of your List of Major Concerns, below ‘Outline my next film’ and above ‘Pay back Uncle Mort’s $1,000 loan.’ > … > So, it’s almost 20 years later, and what did I spend yesterday talking about at the IFP Narrative Lab? Deliverables.
What I think Scott Macaulay is missing here is that creative people don’t want to do heavy lifting. The tools have gotten slicker, the industry has gotten smarter, but filmmakers still don’t know how to deliver a film. I don’t think they ever will, and that’s a good thing. Let them keep the creative juices swirling, leave the boring transcodes and captures to the rest of us.
The problem may then be producers not realizing there is more heavy lifting involved in their job description than they imagined.