On a cold and misty morning on 2 November 2015, principal photography for an ambitious feature film, Do Something, Jake, began. Ambitious because it was shot on zero budget with a large, international cast and expansive locations. Now nearing completion, the producers are planning a U.S. premiere in New York City following their World Premiere in the U.K. But there’s a little more to the story than that…
By breaking the rules of micro-budget filmmaking and adopting guerrilla filming techniques, Raya Films of London hope that ‘Street Shooting’ does the same for zero-budget film-making that ‘Found Footage’ did for the horror genre.
“The term ‘no-budget’ can be a little ambiguous,” explains Caroline Spence, co-founder of Raya Films and writer/producer for Do Something, Jake. “For some, it can mean anywhere from $7,000 to $50,000. We, however, had literally $0!
“Yet with today’s advances in technology, there’s huge scope to make something out of nothing. It can take years to raise finance for a movie, so many aspiring filmmakers just get out there and have a go at turning script to screen in their own unique way, and that’s what we’ve done.”
Throughout the filming process, the producers were able to offer work experience, on-the-job training, referrals and CV points to university graduates and people of all ages wishing to make a start in the film industry. They also helped promote small businesses and worked with a charity to give talks, workshops, and advice to disadvantaged youngsters interested in movie production. So it was about more than just making a movie – it was about education, experience, and creating an opportunity for everyone.
To shoot such an ambitious project on zero dollars isn’t for everyone, however, and requires a seriously strong nerve.
“With Do Something, Jake we were forced to take a radical approach in order to move forward in the film industry,” explains director, James Smith, “to shoot with no-budget, out in the street, in private residential properties, with help of friends, family, local businesses, students, and others enthusiastic or daft enough to believe in us. This approach is not for the fainthearted. This film pushed me to mental and physical limits that, even now when I reflect, make my eyes water.”
But the effort and risk were worth it.