“Time Lapse” – How To Make A Low-Budget Movie That Actually Stands A Chance
Do you regularly get mistaken for Patrick Star and are you real dumb?
(Well, hi there Real Dumb, I’m Dad!)
Hey champ, do I got a way to lift that miss-buttoned spirits of yours by making you see someone in a movie who’ll make you figure if they were any dumber their name would start with ‘Inter’ and end in ‘stellar’s plot’.
And here I am today before you unraveling the story of WHY a low-budget time-paradox director one day went for dumbing their characters down and it was the best decision he ever made!
So, buckle up your seat belt lil-fella, for we are taking a trip forth in time to meet your 8-p.m.-tomorrow self and do they have the secret message for you… hidden in the bottom of this text. Read on for it now! Or scroll right down and miss out on the adventure if you’re feeling like a grey cloud.
Time Lapse’s undisputed plot, as hinted above, is about three roommates who find a camera that produces a polaroid each day of what they’ll be doing tomorrow at 8 p.m.
Clever. Clean. Intriguing, so far.
How do you execute it well enough to take your best low-budget bet?
a) Audience Psychology
The first smart thing director Bradley King (as well as many others) did was choose a plot-based instead of a character-driven storyline. Why was this smart, you ask?
Because the one key thing to consider before the creation of any art project is your intended audience.
Therefore, you have:
1. Your average viewer
2. Your informed viewer
So, to elaborate on point 1, let’s say my mom as much as the next average viewer will positively and 100-%-edly not lose her cool over whether the film’s acting should win an Academy Award any time soon OR if the character’s depth and profoundness is deep and profound enough in all aspects. She will be happy to be entertained for the evening.
And, as for point 2, an informed viewer such as myself, will know as soon as they read the “low-budget” label to lower their snobby standards and expect acting will be mediocre at best and character development will be low-to-mediocre on a good-hair day because we know we’re about to see how smart was a fresh-out-of-school director with their literal Burger King pocket change and we are traditionally well-encouraged to put on a smirk for the first 15 minutes through; and then – have the time of our life when the satisfactory plot crashes down to garbage all we ever thought we knew about film.
And, as a director yourself – weighing the odds it is absolutely more winnable to have a reality check and take a bet on an entertaining plot rather than bite off more than you can chew and go for a high-end (harder to decipher and consume) fine art that’s affirmatively gonna get looked over and left for eternity to rotten on the back shelf that took more funds to reach anyway; that said unless you’re a wunderkind – but we both know you’re not, so why sabotage your one chance for success?
Now, it would be splendid to have it all and not compromise on any sort of quality but as the title up there says you do only got 20 dollars in your pocket and zero background, sub-zero support, and not even the faintest idea of a solid resume to put together.
Not a thing safe for your dreams and ambitions.
b) Character Psychology
I want to herein flatten before your feet my film expertise by solidly arguing that what holds back endless candidates for a bearable movie is forcing (much like Cinderella’s stepsisters into the glass slipper) leading characters into The Genius trope, deluded into thinking that’s what we’re after. The Prodigy. The Sexy-Yet-Witty Intellectual – wise far beyond their age and sexiness as to not only outwit those who are older than he and many far wiser than she, but to also never fall for an emotional trap in spite of their painful and traumatizing childhood.
Because they’re just better than everyone else.
Now, failure with this formula occurs plain because unless a script writer has an elaborate network of consultant experts (which a low-budget writer doesn’t) and they are also a brilliant writer with a solid grasp on human psychology, The Genius character will always stay just a ridiculous trope and they’re not fooling anyone – even a 5-year-old nose a real genius has raw, unsexy flaws and failures and they’re just as often unwise, fragile and diverse. Yes, I’m aware of the spelling.
No writer can fake what they’re a stranger to and there is hardly anyone on the planet both a space engineering genius and a writing genius such as myself <3.
Now, contrary to popular belief, I’m arguing that the characters in “Time Lapse” are not stupid human beings. They’re average.
But what they also are is falling victim to an extraordinary force there’s next to no escape from. How can anyone… how would you walk away from a fortune telling devise, and what’s more (you put Nala in danger), how would you resist (or even think of not to) trust your future self when they advise you to something?
To resist such a game on emotional flaws you need to be one hell of a (not genius, but -) wise, stable, stoic, self-fulfilled human being. Perhaps a monk. Maybe a god.
But, you know, even a stoic – would squirm, now and again.
To support this argument I am just casually throwing in “The Wild Ass’s Skin” and its life-consumption properties, but I am quoting an entirely different book:
“…‘Can you think what the Mirror of Erised shows us all?’ Harry shook his head.
‘Let me explain. The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is. Does that help.’” – extract from “Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling, after which Dumbledore goes on to say how the Mirror of Erised has driven people mad with a certain play on emotion of its own.
c) Plot Philosophy
Okay, to crack this one and know how to use it, before making a movie you need to be a fan of a great philosopher.
Bradley King here was a fan of Martin Heidegger, and found a few particularly innovative spots in his work that inspired this rainbow of a storyline.
Now, I will simplify the drawn-out-of-context lines for the purposes of wanting to be liked, but just picture how he used some exhausting German words like ‘Streichholzschächtelchen’ – I know, right?
1. TIME – Any moment in observing my Being (not cut-out, but correlated to the world inside which it exists) is not a ‘now’, nor a combination of ‘nows’, nor is it infinite. A moment is always a combination of The Present, The Past, and The Future coexisting in a nonlinear unity. The Present does not take the front seat: I have been, I am, and I will be – all together in a unity. Time is finite.
2. YOU – are beautiful no matter what they say.
3. DEATH – Time finds a meaning in Death, not in eternity. Death is that which my Potential for Being is to be measured against. In anticipating my own Death, in my Being anticipating towards Death (usually occurring moments before death), I am being my most authentic self, cut away from the relations to others.
When seeing “Time Lapse” try and see this concept put in motion by a Polaroid fortune-telling camera device and try and answer to your own time-paradox related questions out loud.
Considering the Heidegger concept, the characters’ ideas (both helpful and unhelpful) did come from themselves. An extra layer of chicken-and-the-egg paradox is put on by being emotionally unable to look way when you know you can see your freaking future in a photograph every day. You can’t just forget that it’s right there.
Well, that’s it, young one, that’s all I have to say, but just be on the lookout for the name of Bradley King in any future film credits and let’s just cross our fingers having funds won’t compromise his integrity and all that having choices won’t hurt him too much, since it has a way of doing that to artists.
Over and Out.
P.S. The message from 8-p.m.-tomorrow you reads: ‘a) Follow Movie Boogie’s Guideline, and b) It Wasn’t a Chocolate Truffle’, and whatever that b) one unriddles to is beyond my brains.