Do affordable special effects open the door for indie spectacles with story?

Have special effects finally gotten so accessible that indie spectacle filmmakers can focus on story?

Red Giant Software Magic Bullet 11

The short film Plot Device was put together to showcase the new Magic Bullet Suite 11 from Red Giant. So yeah, it’s a “gee whiz look at the affordable but awesome FX extravaganza” whose primary aim is to highlight the software.

But it goes a step beyond that, and includes some great acting, a fun story, something of an arc, and a truckload of homages that are lovingly included (my favorite: The simple fact that he’s barefoot throughout the story).

What’s next?

So here’s the thing. Now that we can all see that the tools for these kinds of FX are well within the financial reach of any modest project (c’mon … the cameras can be had for a few thousand, the software for another few thousand – the hardest part is finding someone who can play them like a violin, and there’s bound to be a couple within your network if you look) then it’s time to stop being wowed by the visuals, and start expecting visuals AND story.

Which Plot Device begins to do far far better than its predecessors The Raven and Panic Attack (which were glorified FX reels with no attempt at any character or story dev but nevertheless captured the zeitgeist for their 15 minutes).

I’m ready for the next step. I want a 10 minute short spectacle film that’s got a great story with 3 acts, compelling well-rounded characters with arcs, and a look that rivals Hollywood thanks to Magic Bullet (or your software of choice).

So thanks, Red Giant, for putting Hollywood FX within reach, freeing indie filmmakers to make spectacular movies and still put some resources back toward story.

I’m gonna start writing my spectacle script right away. And start reaching out to my community for the right talent to bring it all together.

Who’s with me?

Just for comparison, here’s The Raven and Panic Attack – both of which have gone on to garner big-budget deals for their creators:

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