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Not filmed in Dallas.

24 March 2014

So, I finally got around to watching Dallas Buyers Club this weekend. It’s a pretty great film, and it deserves all the Oscars and Oscar nods it got. But don’t worry — if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m not going to get all spoilery.

What I am going to talk about is the story behind the story, because that’s fascinating to me.

I read online that this wasn’t the first time they’d tried to make this movie — Dennis Hopper wanted to direct it in the mid-90s, but couldn’t get funding. Funding was still a problem this time around, and if Matthew McConaughey hadn’t come in with a huge chunk of his own money, it probably wouldn’t have gotten made. Still, the budget was fantastically low — about $5.5 million, which is essentially like building a brand-new car for $350. You can do it, you’re just not very likely to succeed.

To give you an estimate of just how low that number is, the makeup department on that film had $250 to work with. That’s it. And they did it.

And even with no resources, no money, and shooting a film about Dallas in New Orleans, they managed to come up with one hell of a great film.

Lesson here — for me, anyway — is not to worry about what you don’t have. Just start with what you do have, and make the best art you can from there. There will be plenty of people around telling you that you need this software, or this degree, or that many hours of writing time…

But you don’t. You have what you need inside your brain. Now go do it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 24 March 2014 1218

    I thoroughly agree on this, and am also looking forward to seeing that movie myself.

    People have told me that, since English is technically my second language, I should do more classes on grammar and syntax while at university (I minored in English by the way, but focused more on book construction and old stye printing). My answer to their suggestions was to counter with the arguement that I have everything I need, just need to practice. Practice makes perfect, no?

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