The Tiny Film Manifesto

This is NOT a rescue action!

This is NOT dogma!

In 1995, enough was enough. A collection of forward thinking filmmakers came together under the banner of DOGME 95. It advanced cinema but then quickly disappeared. How can you create rules if your goal is to break them?

This manifesto will be seen as much of the same. And that is because we start by calling it a manifesto. So, in order to avoid to any comparisons, let’s change the name. This is the Tiny Films Code.

THE TINY FILMS CODE

Pizza only once

Notes: It’s easy to be overwhelmed during a ultra low budget shoot. There is no reason to ever serve pizza more than once during the shooting schedule. Think about your actors and crew and diversify the menu a bit.

No executive producers

Notes: There are no money men on a Tiny Film. The emphasis is on the story and getting something real out of the characters, not on the egos of those paying for the shoot.

Budget no more than $35,000

Notes: Restraint breeds ingenuity. You take more risks if you have little to lose.

Must be a narrative feature length film of at least 70 minutes

Notes: This one is pretty self explanatory.

Film must have two principals

Notes: It’s too easy to get lost inside your head. You must have at least two of these main roles filled; director, writer, producer. DOGME 95 had it right; The auteur concept was bourgeois romanticism from the very start and thereby… false!

Everyone (except for the two principals) must get paid

Notes: Everyone must get paid. The amounts are ultimately up to you and those participating in your film. Don’t do the job if it’s not worth it for you.


Why is this even necessary? For years the term micro-budget has been co-opted by film studios and production houses trying to disrupt their way onto the indie scene. But there is simply nothing micro about 3 million dollars — or even $500,000 or $75,000 for that matter.

We’ve coined a term no corporate entity would ever want to be associated with. Who wants to make something Tiny. El Mariachi and Clerks were Tiny. Krisha was Tiny. Primer was Tiny. You don’t need much to make a script into a reality.

Appendix:

A GUIDANCE FOR TF FILMMAKERS

Say something.

Get it out there.

Your budget doesn’t allow for procrastination.