“Time Lapse” – How To Make A Low-Budget Movie That Actually Stands A Chance

A still frame from the film Time Lapse


Question:
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.

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Another still frame from the film Time Lapse


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?
Huh, why?

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.

And, lastly…

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.

XOXO, whatever,

Over and Out.

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Tic-Tock – A third still frame from the film Time Lapse.

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.

Johnny Boogieman

About Johnny Boogieman (né Johnathan Boogiemanovich Goode) is an American comedy reviewer and a self-proclaimed cinema connoisseur, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. … Johnny grew up on a farm in Louisiana, as the only child of a Louisiana-based field worker, dressmaker, dog hairstylist, dog collar jewelry designer, dog walker for the elderly (dogs and owners), disabled and elderly dog walking aids creator-in-attempt, and homemaker, Dutch single mother. As large a clientele as dogs were for the barely-gasping-for-air family business, they were the proud owners of a single tabby cat alone, a streetwise and self-dependent hunter known by either of the street names Stringer Bell and El Capo (sometimes referred to as El Cato). … Having been amazed by the crazy wild early readings of Jules Verne, Johnny’s school days were spent dreaming he’d someday make for a good storyteller. Hence, as early as fourth grade, eager to prove himself to the world, he went for it and constructed a well-balanced heartbeat-skipping thrilling essay, pointing out to some well-reasoned critique of society and solid character arcs, committing to his talents to the fullest and diving right into that pool of majestic phrasing and complexity of thought, confident he’d soon get bejeweled with a spotless A and a pretty clap by the teacher, with gradually having the whole class join in looking up to him as he emerges from his seat to receive his essay evaluation. When results day came, though, little Johnny not only got a D, but he was mocked by the teacher and class for the gullible overexposure of his fragile overambitious mutating childish writing skills of questionable taste and poor poor quality. It was the “you’re tearing me apart, Lisa” equivalent of a child’s essay. He was rather massacred. He never got that brave ever again. … Anyway, Johnny mainly spent his summers field-working on a sunflower field with his uncle Berry under the widespread wings of the storks and the chesty white doves and clever black crows who all flew right under the neighbor’s umbrella caps patio ceiling installation thingy as soon as the first raindrop was godshed over the one-eyed monsters battalion that the sunflower sea was to Johnny. It drove the unwilling bird host nuts, and he’d storm right out yelling and cursing at the birds, “we’re going, we’re going” they went, and flew a semi-circle over the umbrella caps as to fool him and came right back the other way around pretending to be some fresh arrivals of clueless law-abiding American birds not yet acquainted with the police system of the patio. The guy wouldn’t take it out as it took ages to plant and he and his wife thought it made them look like fancy DIY people who had some ideas worthy of admiration. Oh, the bird manure, though, oh the bird manure. “Work your time, boy” – staring Johnny’s uncle frowned, his eye twinkled. … Cinema was to Johnny what he made plans for, what he made time for, what he looked up to all his life, and as he became a young adult, what he fancied himself to have a special talent to understand. It was the sort of a sixth sense, an intuition, a gut sense. He was the squad movie buff and a film whisperer. “No”, it whispered, “Fight Club ain’t no bueno. Mark my words and don’t ask why ‘cos you ain’t schooled enough to know why, boy.” He tried, though, he debated and disputed over a glass of scotch-on-the-rocks and under the jibe of a saxophone jazz, but it was as fruitless and dull as the poetry he wrote - unclean, uneven, and too abstract - as if he hadn’t found a voice to speak in yet. He did his part for years to come, reading as all writers ought to, writing and not publishing until he found out what he had to say with the peculiar piece of work. As for cinema, it happened one evening as he discussed legs-up-a-recliner their plans for the future with his lover-cum-best friend in their rented one-bedroom living space in New Jersey, that his lover casually contributed: “And then I thought we could start a film blog and you could do the content writing” – words that sunflower field Johnny with his gangster cat and his dewy eyes staring at the rainy-day con birds thought he’d never hear.

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