Movies to Study (For Budget to Special Effects)

So I’ve started putting together a list of movies with two criteria. One, the movie must have special effects and great settings, preferably in a fantasy setting. And two, the budget on the movie must be cheap. I would drag out these movies and watch the “making of” to gather ideas and some know-how. Although there are other movies I’d want to pull my inspirations from, these movies are crucial to look at from a financial light.

Because the new one was not as amazing...

Because the new one was not as amazing…

Here is the list thus far, not adjusted for inflation.
Conan the Barbarian: $20,000,000.
Conan the Destroyer: $18,000,000 (est).
Following: $6,000 (est).
Rocky: $1,000,000.
Night of the Living Dead: $4,200,000.
Excalibur: $11,000,000.
The Blair Witch Project: $750,000 (max est).
Paranormal Activity: $15,000.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: $17,000,000.
Halloween: $320,000.
 
Of the movies listed, you maybe wondering about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Conan movies. Compared to the average fan film makers budget, these price tags are still quite high. However, they are a degree of mentionable quality that can be achieved at a decent enough price.
 
Let’s discuss what each of the films brings to the table and why. The first thing of mention is that the horror films are among the cheapest. Halloween, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity all have price tags well below a million.
 
Yet these horror movies bring a few mentionable qualities to them: TBWP brought strong use of the setting to it. Halloween manages its bloody special effects while Paranormal Activity uses a few clever illusions with their camera work. While Night of the Living Dead is critical for its application of makeup.
 
There are three that really stand out for different reasons.
 
The first is Following, one of Nolan’s earliest films. The Wikipedia article on it currently mentions that the most expensive aspect of the movie was the film that Nolan used, jacking up the price to approximately $6,000 which is a maximum estimate at best. I’ve yet to see this but it’s on my to do list.
 
Rocky is a critical reminder of the importance of an interesting, central character. A movie can be defined by only a strong central character, and frequently is. This means that a well design, well prepared and well acted main character can be a tremendous deciding factor if all else fails.
 
The last movie is Excalibur. While $11,000,000 is still high of a price tag, it was a movie filled with tremendous props and setting. Amazing costumes, splended settings and violent, glorious battles. And yet it maybe filled with more battles and bloodshed than even Conan the Barbarian and yet almost half the price.
 
Unfortunately, only the Conan movies are in my collection. I’ll have to rectify this…

Goodbye July

What is this I don't even...

What is this I don’t even…

I’ve already covered issues about my car yesterday. But the truth is far more sinister. The whole month of July… sucks. 

Besides the vehicle, my cable and internet provider has been unable to assign a decent time to come over and repair my internet. I can get it done on Saturday, but they won’t do it after 5 on the week days, when I’ll be at work. Although they’ve refunded us for the month, Diablo III and Team Fortress 2 are out until it is fixed. 

Thus, with reluctance, I cracked open Mass Effect 3, one of the view recent games in my collection with optional online elements. 

It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to it. But I wanted to savor the time I had to myself, not playing the game.

Once Mass Effect starts, you can’t really divert time away from it. After playing through the original game twice, once as a “Good” Soldier Shepard and again as an “Evil” Engineer Shepard, I decided to try a femshep (female Shepard). But I stopped, recognizing a very addictive new experience.

Y’see, I barely started and it was already a different experience, as Kaidan Alenko was hitting on me.  “Man,” I tell myself. “I’ve barely started and this is only ME1. Everyone’ll be humping down my door once I hit ME2.” 

It’s true. Play ME as a man and the women will be coy and make you chase them. Play it as a woman and they’ll be after you. In gaming, the choice to play as a woman is often more like choosing your favorite Barbie doll to play an MMORPG or Diablo. But being a woman in an intricate storytelling experience like this? That’s something else. 

But if I’m going to play a woman, I’m going to do it from the ground up. Which means going back to Mass Effect and slugging my way back up. 

My impressions after 20 hours of ME3 are pretty basic. I like how they dropped the obnoxious resource-searching for a game of Reaper tag. The combat is tight as ever. The “explory-telling” is nice, but I keep wishing I could take the story off of the rails: Options to use charm or threaten are rare, the tale doesn’t let you go about things in any order you choose (the first game was great at this) and I get the feeling that, at this point, everything that happens is barely my decision and more the consequences of my actions from the previous 2 games. 

Choice is an illusion once you’re facing the consequences.

My hunt for a new roommate continues, but I’m closing in on a few likely prospects. I also meant to bug the writers of my anthology yesterday night about their progress, but decided to wait until tonight when I had access to Gmail and a regular computer (not my phone).

I’m half through Brunner. I was hoping that the stories would become more simple for movie making purposes, but that is not the case. His arsenal also expanded, with a new Skaven repeating crossbow, a hatchet and Drakesmalice, some kind of magic longsword. Therefore, I’ve picked two prospective stories which would be ideal for a short movie: “What Price Vengence” and “The Money-Lender’s Price”.

Two new horror stories coming out for a different anthology soon. Hope to be done this weekend.