Film as Cheesesteak


The experience of The $1,000 Feature can be summed up by a guy named Mike and a boatload of Philly Cheesesteaks.

Mike is a guy who makes things happen. He’s been part of the Digitribe crew and extended family since, well, the beginning. He’s good people. For this project, Mike has offered to do battle with the demon of Craft Services, and we have graciously ceded the task. See, when trying to stretch $1,000 into a movie, feeding people is a concern. A big one. Run some quick match calculations. I’ll wait.

“Let’s see. McDonald’s for 15 people is about $100 a day. Times ten days of shooting. Equals…… bugger.”

The math is never great, but Mike is working to make it tolerable. At our last several production meetings, he’s stormed in near the end of things with plastic grocery sacks and a wild look in his eye, like Ben Gunn sprung loose from the Food Lion. “I’ve found a way to feed ten people on $30,” he’ll say one week. “Fifteen people, $20,” he’ll say the next. I’m afraid of where this trend might be leading.

"25 people for $1."

"30 people for a net profit of 25 cents."

"39 people by sacrificing the 40th."

It was as I noshed on his latest concoction – super filling, super good cheesesteaks for some mere fraction of actual money – that it dawned on me. This is as good as it gets, baby.

We might be insane for taking on such a daunting challenge as making this film on ten Ben Franklins, but I couldn’t be more excited by what I’m seeing out of our crew. This is homespun, hand-crafted movie making. In past films, the answer to every problem was inevitably money. More lights, more equipment, more, more, more. In this film, we’re discovering new ways to answer every question and solve every riddle. You should hear Jason’s theory on lighting streets at night.

Actually, you can. We’re on the very edge of opening our workshop up to a slew of new guests as we (at last) enter auditions. I’m thrilled and anxious to finally select the actors that will bring these characters I love to life. But really, I just can’t wait to bring some new people into our big, potluck family. In order for this film and this challenge to be a success, we’re going to need our cast and extended crew to bring the same kind of energy and excitement that the rest of our team will. We’re all volunteers (for $1,000, nobody is getting paid), doing it for the love of it and the belief that we can discover something special if we all throw our hands in the dirt and dig this monster out.

We’ve stacked the odds against us, and now we get to thumb our nose back at them. We’re making a movie. That never stops being cool.

If you want to get involved as an actor, crew member, or just as a website observer, sign up for an account here on the site and drop us a line. The forums are open, and we’re always around.


Food Budgetting

Philly Cheese stakes?

How is that cheap?

Mattatius | Tue, 05/13/2008 - 19:12

well if it's people... it's

well if it's people...
it's cheap, yet complicated.


Joseph Rhodes | Tue, 05/13/2008 - 20:28

Technically, I don't know

Technically, I don't know how he did it. Hot dog buns, some kind of seasoning, etc. But the damn things were good and made for nothing. Rumor has it there will be something involving pot roast at our next production meeting.


Andrew Kemp | Wed, 05/14/2008 - 00:09


We're having another Roast?

You guys really want me to write up another? Damn.

"Why am I wasting time with a dimestore putz like you when I could be doing something much more dangerous, like rearranging my sock drawers?"

Erik Ellickson | Wed, 05/14/2008 - 11:40

erik, i would pay to see you

erik, i would pay to see you make fun of pork for 10 minutes...


Joseph Rhodes | Wed, 05/14/2008 - 11:51

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