11 Keys to Filming in a Small Town

It’s often said that creating a boot-strapped, no-budget independent film is a lot like raising a child – it takes a village. But why stop there? If you’re as lucky as we were when we shot Cement Suitcase, you might be able to enlist the muscle of quite a few villages.

We shot in seven small towns in the beautiful wine country of Washington state and couldn’t have been happier with the beauty we captured and the incredible support that we got. Now that we launched on March 1 on iTunes, Amazon, and Cable VOD, the fans we gathered in the Yakima Valley are still our Facebook warriors, Kickstarter supporters, and Tugg promoters, and we’re hoping they’ll continue to be our base of support.

If you’re used to filming in NY and Los Angeles, you might not be used to this kind of help. You might not even accept it because it feels unnatural and untrustworthy to you. But if you follow these tips, many of which we learned completely accidentally, you’ll be able to harness the power that shooting in a small town can give you.

1. Make a website. This should be the very first thing you do. Some people might tell you this is a piece of PR that you don’t need until after the film is finished, but we found it to be an amazing tool for pre-production. A website legitimizes you in a small town and acts as a net to catch all the help that you’ll need to make the film. Many of our volunteer helpers found us through our website, emailed us, and came out every day to help.

2. Use Craigslist. If you’re looking for help, post on Craigslist or wherever else you can post ads cheaply. We put up notices for the roles we were looking to cast in the area, which led to help we couldn’t have imagined finding otherwise. One person saw our ad, found our website, and emailed us to say that she owned a furniture store, in case we needed any furniture, a bus, in case we needed transportation, and that she was also a professional makeup artist. That woman was Carol Matthews, and she ended up being our makeup artist for the whole film…

Read the rest of 11 Keys to Filming in a Small Town, originally found in MovieMaker Magazine.