A month back I was forwarded an interview with Gareth Edwards, the director of Monsters. In the interview he talks about making a feature film on a small budget. I haven’t yet found out the exact budget, but the $15,000 number has been thrown around.  I’ll spare my opinions on this exact number as there’s already plenty of debate that can be found online. In any case, I certainly believe it could have been pulled off for under $100k, which is still way cheaper than most films of this quality.

Gareth seems to have gained much of his visual FX experience while working for the BBC.  For example, while working on Attila the Hun, he locked the camera and used cycled animations from live footage in order to fill a battlefield with virtual cast of millions. Smart time-saving moves, for sure.

According to this interview, prior to Monsters, Gareth was having trouble making money as a director and he figured it was time to jump in and make a film on his own. He knew the gamble of going off on his own, but he says, “If you always put things off till it’s perfect, you’ll never do anything.”  Jumping in and “pissing” himself was what he knew he needed to do to progress his career. He feels like everything he had done as a director for hire was preparing him for this moment of creative freedom. The 48 Hour Sci-Fi-London Film Challenge was exactly what he needed to prove what he could do.

Gareth Edwards
Uploaded by SFLTV. – Classic TV and last night’s shows, online.

I’ve heard a quote from George Lucas, where he stated that his goal was to use computer graphics in order to put the paintbrush into the director’s hands. Gareth seems to agree with this dream…  and has apparently executed it, with the help of a 35mm adapter for his video camera and a laptop or two.  Gareth designed the creature himself, with thousands of sketches over the course of a year.  The cast consisted of himself, two actors (who were soon married, after shooting the film), two line producers and a sound guy. For the rest of the cast, he would film random citizens in the cities he visited, including his assigned armed bodyguards in Mexico.

First there was Neil Blomkamp’s successful District 9, and now there’s Gareth Edwards. Both are convincing me that I have to start putting some time into learning compositing. Visual effects compositing is the final line where the 2D image is created and the more you can avoid time-consuming 3D, the better.

Are you wishing you hadn’t missed the showing of the film? Don’t stress!! The Vancouver International Film Festival has another showing on Thursday, October 14th at 11am. However, you had better act quick and request that day off work before someone else does. 😉

My opinions on the film?  It’s a nice jaunt through central america while being chased by giant octupi. It reminded of Romancing the Stone, with more focus on the romancing. The effects range from subtle to not-so subtle. I enjoyed the film, as did everyone around me. Don’t worry, I didn’t ruin anything you won’t learn in the first 5 minutes of the film.