As a UK script consultant I get a lot of work from low budget filmmakers who usually want me to look over their scripts for dialogue, structure and character issues. Shooting low budget often means that locations need to be kept to a minimum.
Characters are also at a premium in low budget productions and a cast of thousands is one way to lose an audience in a low budget film (especially if the cast is made up of less experienced performers.)
Low budget films, if they’re looking to find an audience often fall into recognisable genre’s such as the horror film. As a horror script writer for hire I’m experienced in working with scripts that take one or two locations and a small group of characters and making them work (while keeping up scares and tension.)
Cellar Dweller from 1988 is a good 80s example of a low budget concept and script that works. It’s directed by a special effects man, and it was part of the glut of films spewed onto video by Empire Pictures back in the day.
It’s amusing to me that these films I watched growing up are actually very much like the creature feature B movies of the 1950s that inspired the generation before me. Like those low budget gems of the 50s, the direct to video films of the 80s had to use limited resources to get maximum thrills.
Cellar Dweller is a very 80s movie, has slow parts, dodgy acting and the special effects reflect the budget that was available. Slowly it’s becoming something of a cult classic.
The trailer is below…
Matthew Cooper has written for most of the UK soaps, including writing episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal TV Society nominated as a television writer. He’s been a script consultant and script writer for hire for over 20 years. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org