El Mariachi has a lot to answer for. As does Clerks. Both were made in the early ‘90s on incredibly low budgets ($9,000 and $30,000 respectively; Clerks filmmaker Kevin Smith famously maxed out all of his credit cards to finance the film) and achieved previously unheard-of success from new directors, as supposedly ‘independent’ film budgets of that era – like those of Reservoir Dogs and Sex, Lies and Videotape – came in at around the $1million mark. This helped to kick-start guerrilla movements and independent movies proper, and surely had some impact on bringing us to our crowdfunded present, where dead TV shows can be resurrected by the cash of fans and a boatload of promises. It also sent an unfortunate if optimistic message to the general populace of the world:
We made a feature film with no money. Why don’t you?
It is, as I’m sure you’ve gathered, atrocious. It’d make a great birthday present.