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Making an “El Mariachi” Style $7000 Indie Film with Josh Stifter

Today on the show we have writer/director Josh Stifter. Josh was chosen as one of the directors to attempt to make a $7000 feature film using the El Mariachi style made famous by legendary filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. The show was called Rebel Without a Crew: The Series and it premiered on Robert’s network El Rey. If you’ve been following me at all over the past three years you’ll know how much of a fan I am of Robert Rodriguez (check out How to Make Rodriguez’s Guacamole Gun). Here’s some info on the show.

Armed with a ridiculously low budget and just 14 days to shoot his movie, Robert Rodriguez created El Mariachi an award-winning film that changed independent filmmaking. The 12-part “Rebel Without a Crew: The Series” follows Scarlet Moreno, Alejandro Montoya Marin, Bola Ogun, Josh Stifter, and Bonnie-Kathleen “BK” Ryan as they shoot their own feature-length film in 2 weeks with a budget of only $7,000.

At the age of 11, Josh knew he wanted to do one thing with his life: make cartoons. After convincing his dad to let him use the family video camera, he learned how to create simple, homemade stop motion animations. That was the beginning of it all. He started taking classes and learning everything he could about animation.

Cut to a few years later: Josh graduated on the Dean’s List from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in Media Arts and Animation. While working a series of boring, overnight jobs, Josh continued to animate and eventually began working with Kevin Smith and Smodco creating cartoons based on the Smodcast podcast. It was only time before Josh started creating and pitching his own cartoons. His company Flush Studios has created multiple short films, animations, pilots, and even created a scene for the movie “TUSK“.

Josh’s film is called The Good Exorcist. Here’s the skinny on the movie.

A socially awkward but reliable exorcist attempts to remove a difficult demon from a ranch owned by an eccentric family in Texas. However, the demon proves to be more difficult than the priest assumed it would be.

The Good Exorcist is a feature shot in 14 days with $7k, the same way Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi. The film will be premiering at the SXSW Film Festival! I thought what Josh did was so cool that I have made, not only the film but behind the scenes and director commentary available on Indie Film Hustle TV. You can rent, purchase or watch it as part of your IFHTV subscription. Click here to check it out. 

His new film is called Greywood’s Plot. It’s about two friends go into the woods hunting for El Chupacabra, only to find that the land they are on might be more sinister than they ever knew.

Josh and I talk indie film shop, what it was like working with Robert Rodriguez and his adventures making a $7000 indie film while cameras were capturing every single second of on-set action.

Enjoy my conversation with Josh Stifter.

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LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

SPONSORS

  1. $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
  2. Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
  3. Shooting for the Mob – FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSION
  4. Equity Crowdfunding Masterclass

REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION

  1. Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
  2. Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
  3. Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons 
  4. Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
  5. The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters

FILMMAKING RESOURCES

  1. Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
  2. Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
  3. Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
  4. Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
  5. FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)

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