Making a No-Budget Feature Film After Graduation

Hudson Hughes graduated from University this year and decided to test his skills by making a no-budget feature film.

The result is Wednesday In Space, a sci-fi comedy, all shot in one location, in one week and made with no-budget.

In this following interview, Hudson talks about why he decided to become a filmmaker and shares his advice on how to make a no-budget feature film.

 
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Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?

It was only a couple of years ago that I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I’ve been making films since I was 9 years old. The great thing about being a filmmaker (unlike being a lawyer or an astronaut) is that you can try it out before you commit your life to it. And if you fail, nobody goes to jail or gets sucked into the cold vacuum of space.

I only really decided that this is what I want to do with my life after studying two years of electromechanical engineering. I realised filmmaking may be the only job I can do as it combines everything I’m good at with everything I’m passionate about.

I finished my degree and don’t regret it because the university allowed me to explore other things like radio, theatre, stand-up and improv, which all improved my films – especially since I write comedies.

Can You Briefly Explain the Plot of Wednesday In Space?

Wednesday in Space is a sci-fi and dark comedy that takes place almost entirely within a small diner floating in Space. The central character is Lucha Flax, a traffic cop, who decides to play detective when she finds a dead body in the diner’s toilet.

I say central character rather than protagonist as the film bounces around between the diner staff, government spooks, French-speaking rebels, washed-up musicians and aggressive TV commercials. You may be wondering how they all fit in a tiny restaurant, but you’ll have to watch it to find out. Fair warning: there’s a lot of blood.

Why did you decide to make a no-budget feature? 

Mainly to push myself. I’d never made a feature film before, nor had most of the cast/crew, and I thought it would be a great learning experience. Making no-budget feature tests all your abilities, both in filmmaking and teamwork.

I would now feel comfortable leading a team into a larger budget feature film, knowing I’m not going to waste people’s money by going in blind. Wednesday in Space has lead to several job opportunities. People recognise the tenacity required to make a no-budget feature and want to work with people like that.

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How did you manage to make a film with no-budget? 

By not paying people haha. The truth is, there are always costs. I had to host upwards of fifteen people at my house for a week (yes, we shot the film in a week) and they need to eat. Building the set, getting costumes and feeding people still cost over a grand of my own money. This film was ambition in terms of scene design, visual effects and headcount on set so I’m sure people could do it for cheaper if they really tried.

I was a typical impoverished graduate (technically not even that – my graduation was the following week) so, I wouldn’t have been able to afford this if I hadn’t been working as a drama teacher at the weekends for about a year.

I found crew by joining the film club at university as well as the student union’s ‘TV station’. I made short films and skits for three years at university and made friends with a lot of talented people along the way. Interestingly, a lot my filmmaker friends would struggle to find decent actors for their shorts. I never encountered this problem because as soon as I started university, I joined the comedy society.

I only directed two short films at university. But I also directed three comedy plays, a sketch show and a musical as well as performing in an improv show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. When I came to make Wednesday in Space, my list of actors was a lot longer than my list of filmmakers. It’s important to find people you trust, respect their art and generally like.

As for general advise for no-budget filmmaking, only work with friends or people you like (who are also talented of course!). Don’t work with an asshole just because they can hold a boom pole. Filming Wednesday in Space was a joy because everyone got on well. We’d cook a massive dinner and then drink and laugh in the evenings. When you’re not paying people, you’ve got to keep morale high.

Tell Us About Your Next Project?

We’re launching a Kickstarter in the next few weeks to fund distribution for Wednesday in Space. We’re taking it to cinemas around the UK this Winter before it hits streaming services .

I’m already working on future projects while I do freelance work. Currently, I’ve got two short films in the works while I continue posting comedy skits weekly. I’m planning to shoot a proof-of-concept for an indie feature with a much larger budget soon and begin development as soon as I can step back from Wednesday in Space. I don’t really have specific career plans currently, but I intend to keep making comedy films.

Wednesday In Space Office Website

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