Unsolicited Material: $62 Budget – From the Laptop to the Red Carpet
Is Unsolicited Material a documentary or a mockumentary? It’s both and neither.
Here at Filmtrepreneur, we encourage projects that champion creativity over budget. And no film embodies that spirit more than Ed Surname’s Unsolicited Material, which has seen the filmmaker go from editing on his laptop to the red carpet. That’s right: a Grand Jury nominated movie on a budget of $62. You can check the IMDb page for that statistic.
So what’s the story Unsolicited Material? Ed Surname is a UK comedian who filmed his life 24/7 for 20 years. He edited the footage himself into a real-life tragicomedy about whether following a childhood dream is the meaning of life or an unrealistic waste of time.
“Fans range from a professional psychiatrist to a diagnosed psychopath… surely Filmpretreneur readers will fall somewhere in between, and as such will love the movie.
“for the press, the story is ‘here’s some nutter who filmed his life non-stop’. For me, and as fans of the film confirm, the story is what I actually did with the footage. I edited it into a satire on the masks that comedians wear. It exposes the illusion of fame.”
Indeed, the offstage parts in Unsolicited Material are what drive the narrative, which is “51% funny, 49% serious introspection”. It speaks to our fame-hungry social media generation.
“Our generation was taught to follow your dreams. But I feel a caveat is needed; is it worth it? What are the personal costs? My film adds that caveat”.
It’s very misunderstood, but that’s the price of doing something that’s literally never been done before. Is it a documentary or a mockumentary? It’s both and neither. “Part cabaret, part performance art, part satire, part reality, part comedy, part tragedy.”
“I edited the raw material in such a way that paints me as a deluded video blogger. I lived that story, but it’s part of a more serious overall grassroots project designed to psychoanalyse why some people feel compelled to make a room of strangers laugh.”
A personal victory for Ed and for the vlogging generation was Ed walking the red carpet at the IFF film awards in London, having been nominated for the Grand Jury award.
“I didn’t win, but it didn’t matter. I was nominated for 4 awards, it’s played around the world and I’m sat with people who are teams of lifelong professional filmmakers with $20,000 budgets. I am one person, and I did it myself with Pinnacle Studio 14 and by not compromising my vision whatsoever.
If you go for something where the chance fo failure is spectacular, you’ve already won.But never before, and never again”.
Watch 20 years of comic’s home videos edited into a satire on the masks comedians and filmmakers wear. The film is available at Amazon VOD & his
Filmtrepreneur Library: Required Reading
- Independent Ed: What I Learned from My Career of Big Dreams, Little Movies, and the Twelve Best Days of My Life
- The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking: An Insider’s Guide to Making Movies Outside of Hollywood
- Like Brothers: The Rise of the Duplass Brothers
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
- Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
- The Cheerful Subversive’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking: From Preproduction to Festivals and Distribution
- Produce Your Own Damn Movie!
- Get Your Free Filmmaking Audiobook
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