By Zak Forsman, December 9th, 2008

I think the most concise way to introduce what is unique about SABI PICTURES is to first talk about the “a film by” credit that is conventionally attributed to the film’s director. Co-founded by myself and KEVIN K. SHAH, SABI thrives on creating a highly collaborative atmosphere for all artists contributing to our productions – giving us all a freedom to explore and the permission to fail, without judgement. There are no “mistakes” with regard to the creative journey on a SABI production. We encourage and foster a framework that involves guided improvisation and creative participation from the crew. To illustrate this, we credit these motion pictures as “a film by SABI” – which we define as the entire family of cast and crew that came together to create something bigger than any one us.

Our productions have always cultivated a DIY approach, from casting to guerilla tactics to building our own post facility where we can afford to give an editor the time she needs to properly explore and re-discover the story within the material, without making concessions for the cost of renting an edit bay. And even my short film I FUCKING HATE YOU was made with $37 and available resources. That little film put me on a path toward befriending LANCE WEILER and ARIN CRUMLEY as a selection for the FROM HERE TO AWESOME Showcase where I received a profoundly eye-opening education on extending the DIY approach to the marketing and distribution of our pictures.

Around that time, I attended DIY Days LA and a tiny piece of advice shared by MICKI KRIMMEL that really stuck with me, was the value of transparency in terms of filmmakers sharing information, sustaining their audiences through interactive tools, and the danger in alienating that audience by representing yourself as something you’re not.

So, in the spirit of that transparency, I’m making public our internal guide for pre-producing a microbudget feature film using the SAG ultra-low agreement. This guide authored by KEVIN K. SHAH is an effort to answer a lot of interdependent filmmakers? questions about what goes into planning a motion picture in the pre-production phase – an evolving, malleable list of what went into producing our first two low-budget feature-length motion pictures – WHITE KNUCKLES and HEART OF NOW.

SABI DIY PRE-PRO GUIDE (right-click, save as)

In the near future, I will be blogging about the ways in which we have incorporated a DIY, interdependent strategy in all phases of production of our films. Specifically, our latest motion picture, ELOQUENT GRAFFITI, which epitomize this new strategy from the ground up, with an eye on keeping production costs low enough to minimize the financial risk inherent in exploring the emerging models of distribution, including audience/community building, sponsored online screenings, DVD sales, VOD, grass roots theatrical screenings, and other unconventional methods of motivating an audience.

This film (formerly known as WANDERLUST) will be an experiment on many levels and I’m very excited to share all that we’ve learned writing, directing and producing four features and two shorts, and all that we will learn as we incorporate the newly evolving principles of DIY filmmaking and self-distribution.

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Posted in Eloquent Graffiti Heart of Now White Knuckles

Zak Forsman is an artist-entrepreneur whose emotionally-charged motion pictures are known for highly authentic performances and beautiful compositions. They have been praised by Ain’t It Cool News as “Brilliant” and “Absolutely Gorgeous” and by Filmmaker Magazine as “Very Accomplished, Amazing.”

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