- Strong writing. From the plot to the dialogue to the characterizations to the structure, a good indie film is made of solid, well-thought out writing. Brokeback Mountain was a beautifully written story about two cowboys who fall in love. Do you think it would have been as successful if it hadn't been well written?
- Solid directing. A film can have a strong script but be ruined by a lack of vision from a director. Tom McCarthy's choices in both The Station Agent and The Visitor led to two wonderful films with well-executed quiet moments. In lesser hands, the same scripts could have easily fallen flat.
- Excellent acting. Even the best script and an amazing director cannot save a film if the acting is poor. Even with no-name actors, a film has a fighting chance if the acting is strong. Napoleon Dynamite was full of no-name actors who could act!
- Capable producer. I know capable sounds like a weak adjective but being capable is a very important attribute for a producer. He or she can't just be an excellent money person or just be a strong leader. A producer needs to be able to capably handle a million different things. It's impossible to be amazing at everything, so in the end, the producer needs to be capable of executing a film from beginning to end -- with strengths in many areas and know how to compensate for their weaknesses in others.
- Good sound. A great film can be ruined with bad sound. Don't skimp on your production sound.
- Enjoyable music. I can still hear Juno's catchy tunes in my head.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
What Are the Components of a Successful Indie Film?
Every hit indie film has similar components that contribute toward its success. Let's think about them.