Indie Filmmakers Have To Work Harder

Working Hard…

Most people look at the films that made it to be big screen and think of the money that went into it. Not many people realize how much harder the independent films have to work to be anywhere close to “on par” with the big Hollywood budgets. I don’t just mean the acting, but the costumes, makeup, production design, cinematography, and action all fits into things.

In an older endeavor of mine, I found that I made a lot happen in very little time and with very little money because I gave opportunities to people others overlooked. With the help of an ex-marine and Hapkido gal, they choreographed a 3-way fight for actors who had never done such action before. Take a look at the video below.

Carrier IndieGogo 1 from Tiff Chai on Vimeo.

When you think about measuring everyone’s physical capabilities and how to best utilize their skills to design the carefully drawn out fight scenes in movies… After this month-long preparation and shooting a sizzle reel and some videos, it all ended in a crash landing. Apparently, my idea was good enough… to steal. Sigh… but I learned a lot!

Filmmakers have to…

As it is now, Ignited Media Productions led into RainBridge Studios but all of my past projects died when people moved on, were picked up elsewhere, and the team died. I’m not complaining and I’m VERY happy for everyone. I’m sad I’m not the one helping them reach greatness, and SUPER DELIGHTED that many have gone far! Although, I’m not sure if they remember those days since reaching their newfound fame… But, I’m ok with being a happy memory.

So, here are a few tips I’ve picked up making this as I have… An action adventure on a shoe-string budget with people who are motivated with big dreams. Hehe, enjoy!

Hollywood Hacks


FEEDING PEOPLE is a HUGE perk that most actors and crews will work for! Feeding them GOOD food is another ball park of favors. I had a crew work on Porto’s potato balls and cheese danishes with water and they were so happy! Along with that, I provided sandwiches from Subway and the actors had a ball. I kept it kosher and veggie for a shoot and my actors kept eating but lost weight! It was an amazing set of experiences that showed me the POWER of food, GOOD food, and ENDLESS food!


Something I liked doing for my actors was writing scenes that they lacked in their reels. If they are most know for their improv, I would have them recite my lines, make it better, and then shoot that. For me, it was good practice on dialogue, writing scenes, and editing. As for my actors, it was great to get footage in genres they were never cast for. For my crew, it was a chance to work out kinks, try new techniques, and find better ways to do things that was more efficient and money savers! Helping them in their time of need, like paying for gas and food, or just offering them a hand really helps!


This might sound funny but, I liked to share my actors because it gets them further in this ring of life. When I find a good actor, male or female, I enjoy the chance of recommending them to my filmmaker friends. If I can give them a push in a better direction or help them get the role they want by rehearsing with them in other roles and ways, then I’m down for that! A few of my filmmaker friends have continued the love and sharing and now, my actors that I started with are far from me… but those are pretty happy memories and experiences for me.


I don’t mean in your personal life, but add them as professional friends. Be sure they are invited to professional functions or recommend them to people in your professional circle. Having others see them as professionals makes you look more professional but it also makes them want to be your professional friends. Most people know I only work with people with good and diverse acting chops. If we can’t work together, I will say so outright. But, if we can work together and get along, then we need to do just that!

And that’s part of the friending them purpose, because it means they will try to push you out there, as well! We’re an industry of building blocks when we do it right!


Make videos, behind the scenes silliness can be attractive, and show a side to them that most others don’t see. In my “Carrier O2” project, I took two action actors, two stage-play actors, and two dancer actors and put them into two teams of action agents working for the good of mankind. It was tough, remolding them into different characters, but they embraced it (wanting challenges) and really brought my characters to life. That’s the best thing about actors… THEY WANT A CHALLENGE. Believe me, actors aren’t boring or lazy! They want to bring it and a role that they can BRING IT in!!

Take a closer look at the footage and… do you see someone you recognize??

Everyone learns to crawl before they can walk… It has been a pleasure crawling with them…




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