The money hose

Filmmakers often talk about the Hollywood “money hose”: problems on big-budget films are simply “washed away” by throwing money at them, not always in a way you’d expect.

On a major studio production, it can cost anywhere from £250,000 to £millions every day to keep the shoot running once you account for crew, equipment rental, catering, actors and everything else that goes into a major production. Even a low-budget production can cost £10,000-£100,000 a day.

The difference comes with alarm clocks.

On a studio picture, if the director doesn’t like the alarm clock the designer has chosen for the hero to throw across the room, they will often quite happily stop and wait for the right clock to be found. People sit around doing literally nothing, wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds/dollars in the process, until the right clock is found.

On an indie, there isn’t that luxury. Costs and budgets are fixed, as are schedules, which are always tighter than a Downton Abbey corset. If the director doesn’t like the clock, they have to accept it or skip the shot and find another way to wake their hero up.

The truth is, we all use the money hose in our creative endeavours. We all buy ourselves more time when we’re unsure of something. We all come across (or create) barriers that either stop us completely or we spray away with time, money or resources.

What we really need to do is to adopt the indie filmmaking mindset: if you had a room full of people waiting on your to make a decision now, what would you do? How would you solve this is you absolutely had to, right this second?

If we put ourselves in this position and this mindset, more often than not we’ll find an incredible, inventive and innovative solution. At the very least we’ll be able to do something, keep creating and keep moving forward.

“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Rocky Balboa

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