Thursday, August 6, 2009


“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”
- Orson Welles

One Director.

One Writer (Director may be the writer. Director may also be the producer).

No more than 5 person crew. Director, shooter, sound mixer, and *two wild cards. *(Any crew persons of your choosing.)

No guns.

No extras or background. Background must be actual, and not hired or staged.

No location fees.

No permits.

No insurance.

No “movie” lights. Natural light and practical lights only (“available light”), which may be manipulated, i.e., bounced, diffused, gelled, etc.

No grip equipment.

No set dressings. Props only at actor/character insistence, or necessary to character, per writer or director vision, i.e., Lionel’s Blanket.

Actor is makeup/hair/wardrobe ready.
No hair/makeup person. No wardrobe purchased – must be actors’ own clothes, or borrowed, or loaned.

No paperwork. Script ok. Call sheet ok. Shot list or storyboard ok. No Production Reports. No time reports. No labor logs.

must complete rough-cut or offline before passing off to an Editor. Films edited throughout by Director held in highest regard.

No special equipment, i.e., cranes, dollies, steadicam, car mounts, etc. - sticks (tripod) and handheld only. Camera may be stabilized by anything in surroundings, i.e., sidewalk, car, mailbox, etc.

Only equipment permissible is basic camera, sound, and items needed to manipulate “available light,” as previously mentioned.

Camera filters
allowed. Special lenses allowed.

Any digital format is acceptable. No film. Though film is the most beautiful shooting format, it is cost prohibitive and cumbersome, and its use is in conflict with our goal – telling the story by any means possible.

In our choosing the digital format,
it is imperative the content of the story, and the shooting technique, be conducive to our medium. Gone with the Wind would have been ineffective in DV, but The Blair Witch Project would have been ineffective without the use of DV.

no less than 75 minutes in length, and no more than 100 minutes.

Maximum 18 shoot days. Re-shoot and pickup/b-roll days may be added if necessary.

must take place in one city, though it is unnecessary to be “city specific.” Fictional cities ok, like Oz.

No location “lock downs.” Scene must be recorded amidst real conditions. Ok to get personal appearance releases from passersby (another permitted piece of paperwork?).

must be self-made (made by any of the filmmakers), public domain, or contributed. Bottom line, no music rights will be purchased for ridiculous sums from known, professional artists, or anyone else for that matter.

Sound design is ok. Post-Production manipulation of image is ok, i.e., color correct, slow motion, etc.

In summation, the creation of a film generally requires the highest complexity amongst the arts, yet more often than not it generates the lowest form of art. The Declaration aims to reverse the formula. Like a painting, or a novel, a film produced under the Declaration requires few mechanics, and less obstruction in the creation of the Motion Picture as high art.

Essentially, the Declaration of Independents is an effort to dilute the filmmaking process, and reduce it to its simplest and most vital components – Story, Image, Direction, and Performance.

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