It’s a sad truth that $300 doesn’t go very far in today’s world, least of all when it comes to making a movie. Good for us is the fact that somebody forgot to tell director Shawn Holmes, who through the power of goodwill and scrounging managed to create his debut feature, Memory Lane, with exactly that budget.
With the film coming to the UK later this year courtesy of Left Films, you can take an exclusive advance peek at the brand new trailer right here alongside a syndicated Q&A on the movie and then ask yourself… Would you die for love?
Memory Lane stars Michael Allen, Zac Snyder, Meg Barrick and Julian Curi; it was directed, produced, and co-written by Shawn Holmes. Check out all the goods below, and keep it right here for more on Memory Lane as it becomes available!
After the mysterious death of his girlfriend, Nick attempts suicide but is brought back to life. He discovers he can time travel in the moments between life and death so to find his girlfriend’s killer, he just needs to keep killing himself… over and over and over again.
Memory Lane Syndicated Q&A:
Q: $300US is a very small number for any film. How was the money spent?
A: Memory Lane may very well be the most inexpensive film ever made. $286US was spent loading the filmmaker’s refrigerator with food for the actors before the first day of shooting. An additional $6US was spent on fake blood. Everything else needed for the film was either borrowed or created out of things that the cast and crew already had.
Q: How long did the film take to complete?
A: Memory Lane was written in August and September of 2010. It was shot over 6 weekends in April and May of 2011. It was edited in June and July. It took 11 months from inception to completion.
Q: Since Shawn was making this film independently with such a small budget, obviously he wasn’t being paid. How did he support himself during the 11 months that it took to make Memory Lane?
A: Director, producer, and co-writer Shawn Holmes worked as a freelance photographer, graphic designer, and music video director for local artists in Ohio while shooting Memory Lane. He also stole money from his mother.
Q: Quite a bit of buzz was generated before Memory Lane was even shot. How did you go about doing this?
A: Within a month of the Memory Lane fan page going live on Facebook, it almost earned more likes than the film festival at which they wanted to premiere the movie. Realizing the inherent power of their newfound fan base and the buzz that it was generating in the local media outlets, they began to use their Facebook page to help get the movie made. If they needed a prop such as a gun, they could announce this on their page and challenge their fans to find them a real gun to use. The winners were awarded with a free DVD of the finished movie, invites to private screenings, or even walk-on roles in the movie.
Q: Why was the film shot with no budget?
A: Memory Lane was designed to be shot no matter what. Shawn and HK (Sathappan) wrote locations into the script that they knew they had access to. They wrote in people who they already knew could act. After going through a month of fundraising, with no considerable progress, they realized that the only way Memory Lane would get made was to just go out and make it – the way Memory Lane had always been designed.
Q: What sort of equipment was used for the production?
A: Shawn already owned a Canon T2i DSLR prior to the film’s production. This camera was used for every shot in the finished film. The lighting used were simple construction lights that can be purchased at most hardware stores for less than $20. For audio they borrowed a Zoom H4N. Shawn edited the entire film on his laptop – a standard 13” MacBook Pro with Final Cut Pro. Color correction was done in Adobe After Effects.
Q: There are some stunning effects shots in the film; how did Shawn go about getting some of those shots?
A: Most of the effects shots in the film are practical effects. Sometimes a simple digital fade is used for Nick’s return from Memory Lane. The flickering lights above the tub in the garage were created by rubbing frayed wires against an electrically charged bird cage to produce a truly random flickering effect.
Another notable effects shot is the explosion during an Afghanistan War flashback. Michael Guy Allen, who stars as Nick Boxer, is a combat veteran, and he enlisted the help of his military friends to shoot an actual grenade launcher in the basement of a hair salon, which turns out beautifully chaotic in the finished film. No one was harmed.
Q: Though the film is over an hour long, it seems to fly by in the blink of an eye. How does Shawn’s directing style influence the finished movie?
A: Shawn has stated that his directing style can be reduced to the use of two basic tools, character want and his own curiosity: “What the character wants in this scene, sprinkled with a touch of my curiosity is what drives the movie from beat to beat. While editing, if two people are talking and I can’t get the want to matter enough to me on a personal level, I’ll let them talk over images or sounds that do intrigue me. Images or sounds that intensify the want. Images or sounds that my curiosity has led me to. For instance, in the scene where our boys go after Harper. Ben is driving the car, he and Nick are planning what they’re going to do in what is essentially the next scene, the future. Movies are this great thing that let you take these narrative liberties that would be utterly nonsensical in any other medium. So, as they were talking about the future… I sort of let myself wander further into what they were talking about. And the result is two men, caught up in the past, presently discussing the future that begins to occur right before your eyes. That’s interesting to me. Its stunning evidence of where my curiosity has led me.”
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