Realism as a Tool in Low Budget Filmmaking

Even in a time where digital technology has made film production a more accessible art than ever, the costs associated with producing a film are high enough to bar many artistic voices without thousands of dollars in the bank from telling their own stories. In this research, I hope to explore how real spaces can be shaped with editing and camera work to appear in a way preferable to the story of a film in order to eliminate the costs of artificially producing a set. Techniques of realism such as shooting on location and allowing actors to improvise lines can be used to lower the budget of a film, and when done right, still give it artistic and intellectual credibility.

The concept of realism has taken on several faces throughout cinematic history. As soon as the technology to project moving images was developed, filmmakers began making “actualities”, or films that were incredible portrayals of actual reality simply because they moved. A fascination with portraying things in film as they appeared in reality, whether subjectively or objectively, persisted in artistic movements such as soviet montage, Italian neorealism, and French cinéma vérité. My research will further explore the motivation behind these movements and how stylistic techniques were used to reduce spending. I will attempt to recreate these techniques in my own work as well, exploring the real world applications of realism on low budget filmmaking.