How to Make $250K Indie Film Look Like $25 Million Blockbuster with Gaelan Connell
Every once in a while I come across a filmmaker who is just a bit crazier than I am. This is true for writer/director Gaelan Connell who's film Blood Sand and Gold is a true indie film miracle. This mad man decided to raise $250,000 (much of which was out of pocket) and go off and make a big budget action film, just one problem he didn't have a big budget.
Yes, I know $250K is a lot of money but it's not enough for what Gaelan was attempting to do. Check this out, Blood Sand and Gold was shot over the course of 58 days across 5 countries and 4 continents! It has Jason Bourne/James Bond style action. I mean it's nuts. Check out the trailer below:
I had to have him on the show to reveal his secret sauce on how he was able to accomplish this crazy mission. Not only did he jump on the podcast and drops some MAJOR knowledge bombs, he also wrote up an article laying out his top 5 filmmaking tips. Take a listen to the podcast then read Gaelan's article. Enjoy and get ready to be inspired!
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Here's a behind the scenes look at the indie marvel Blood Sand and Gold.
Blood Sand and Gold is a modern day treasure hunt action adventure film. Shot over the course of 58 days across 5 countries (and 4 continents!), the story follows ex-criminal Jack Riordan (Aaron Costa Ganis) and Mave Adams (Monica West) as they hunt down Sir Francis Drake’s stolen treasure.
So far, everything feels pretty standard, right? Action movie, check. International settings, check. Explosions, desert landscapes, helicopters, and a tiger…check. But wait: We made this whole movie with a budget of less than $250k.
Why? We intentionally made Blood Sand and Gold outside of the Hollywood system to prove, firstly, that it can be done, and secondly, that nowadays there’s a way to stretch budgets further than indie films ever thought possible. In addition to the (comparatively) minuscule budget, we gave ourselves a challenge: no agents, no managers, no money people, no casting directors. And wouldn’t you know it, every insider we approached in Hollywood said,
“Sounds cool! Never going to happen.”
Blood Sand and Gold premieres March 10, 2017 in select theaters, online and ondemand. As we discuss in the Podcast, here are some tricks on how we made it happen.
Trick 1: Film outside the country.
We intentionally shot Blood Sand and Gold in countries outside of the US. Shooting outside of the US is a magical experience. Unlike LA or NY, where seeing a production is as commonplace as grabbing coffee at Starbucks, people in areas where filming is more novel, approach filmmaking as a once in a lifetime experience, which means everyone is willing to pitch in and lend a hand.
For example, starting production in Guadalajara Mexico allowed us to garner some early media attention by leading Mexican press, the awesome film commission of Guadalajara helped supply us resources for free (locations, police for action scenes, etc) which allowed us to do huge stunts on a fraction of the budget. It also led to more grassroots cooperation to help with production. People all over the world came out of the woodwork to support our project, whether it was the 200k Mercedes SLS that a friend of a friend in Mexico let us use, or the epic treasure chest prop that a villager in Merzouga, Morocco lent us for the opening sequence of the film.