Another Earth: How to shoot a car crash for $200

I continue to be a big fan of Jeff Goldsmith’s Q&A Podcast series. Not only because Jeff takes the time to talk so extensively with filmmakers about their breaking-in-stories and work habits (after you have listened to dozens of podcasts like I have, it’s interesting to compare them all), but also because every now and again, in addition, the conversations contain these little nuggets worth sharing on their own.

Way back in July, Jeff talked to Mike Cahill, Brit Marling and William Mapother about Another Earth. I only got around to listening to the podcast last week, but it contains an interesting tidbit. Director Mike Cahill explains, how he staged and shot the (impressive) car crash that gets the movie’s narrative rolling, for something around $ 200 (the shot is seen briefly in the trailer).

Sound Clip © Unlikely Films. All rights reserved.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole clip, here is the gist:
– He got a cop friend to close off the highway (for free).
– He borrowed two smashed cars whose damage fit the scenes from a scrapyard (for free).
– He rented the exact same models for the driving scenes.
– He rented a cherry picker to substitute for a camera crane.
– He craned up and then locked off the shot with only Mapother’s car.
– He filmed a clean plate, a plate with Marling’s car driving through and a plate where the two cars almost touch, as a lighting reference.
– After Effects did the rest of the work.

Proves once again that you don’t need a lot of money to make a film these days, if you’re creative enough.

Download the whole podcast for more info on the process behind Another Earth.