On the Cheap: My Life in Low Budget Filmmaking
By Greydon Clark
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
453 Pages, $24.95
First of all, I think it was a really cool idea that Greydon Clark choose to write this book in screenplay format. It immediately puts you in movie mode, which is appropriate since Clark has made 20 films spanning several decades in an assortment of genres.
What’s most enjoyable about On the Cheap: My Life in Low Budget Filmmaking is that it’s the real story of a filmmaker who somehow was able to keep making movies in one of the most difficult industries. He accomplished this without ever having a big name or backing of a major Hollywood studio. The fact the he could make films so quickly yet still have them come out as good as they are, despite the limitations, speaks volumes about the man.
I also came away impressed with Clark’s passionate yet logical approach talking to his cast & crew. After his cinematographer Dean Cundey shot Halloween, Clark asked him back for one film (Without Warning) and then wished him well; knowing Cundey would become one of the top cinematographers in the business, which happened.
There’s some great stories about working on his pictures (Bad Bunch, Black Shampoo, Joysticks, Russian Roulette to name a few) with some famous well known actors that would surprise you. Everything wasn’t always rosy either as a stuntman died on one of his films and money or lack of, was almost always an issue.
Another testament to Clark’s fortitude is that he never had a big-hit movie. What this proves to me is that his movies were successful enough to enable him to keep making more. This is no small feat. Plus I love hearing about the underdog, the independent filmmaker survive and thrive amongst a ruthless business.
A big reason why he was able to keep making more movies was the unwavering support he got from his late wife Jacqueline Cole. Without hesitation she would agree to second mortgage their home so that Greydon could keep making films. That took big time guts and total trust that her husband would make the film good enough that they would get their money back and keep their home.
I also liked in the end what Clark says to anyone considering film directing as a profession. His words are remorseless, hard and sing the biting undeniable truth.
Most of you have probably never heard Greydon’s Clark’s name or seen any of his films. You might have unknowingly caught some of his TV work, which has been pretty prolific for many years now. But you’d be doing yourself a favor by picking up this fascinating book and then checking out his movies.
As a cool bonus, when you order a book for $24.95, you will receive one DVD from Greydon’s personal library at no charge.