Ideas and thoughts aren’t expensive,” says Richard Linklater, 29, who spent all of $23,000 to make Slacker, his first feature film, about ’90s youth who languish in postcollege limbo. ”As long as your time’s not worth anything, it doesn’t have to cost a lot.” For those kindred cinema spirits, Linklater suggests the following:
Start bugging friends and family for donations about five years before the project begins.
Shame suppliers into lending equipment: ”Appeal to their artistic spirit.”
Borrow creatively. ”We knew of a local public-television station that had a dolly and never used it — we returned it about two months later.”
Get a roommate who’s a cameraman. And who owns a camera.
Cast people from the street who aren’t ”jaded on movies” and offer them experience, not pay.
Serve your cast and crew healthy, cheap food, like homemade tacos and stir-fried vegetables.
Use your oil company credit cards to charge $5 worth of gas and $25 worth of soft drinks.
Be prepared to put up with a lot: If you don’t pay people, you can’t fire them.
Slacker’s final costs (insurance, legal fees, music rights, blowing the prints up from 16 mm to 35 mm) will probably blow up the budget to between $100,000 and $150,000, but that’s still teeny potatoes by Hollywood standards. One analyst predicts a $1.5 million gross for the picture, now playing in 12 theaters nationwide — not bad by slacking standards.