We were shooting in a remote part of Guatemala, and I was pushing Randy and the other cameraman to get just the right shot in just the right way. Randy turned to me with his camera perched on his shoulder and said, “Cris, these are your choices: good, fast and cheap. But you can only pick two!”
Hmmm… Well, let’s see. Where does that leave us?
Good + Cheap = Not fast.
Good + Fast = Not Cheap.
Cheap + Fast = Not Good.
I settled somewhat uneasily on the first option – good and cheap. Why? Because I couldn’t bear to produce anything that wasn’t good. And cheap because I had plenty of that! In some quarters, it's called "sweat equity." So, get the midnight oil ready, Cris (I said to myself). You’re going to be spending many, many hours in the edit suite to make this production look as good as you possibly can, and no one is going to pay you extra for your efforts.
The same paradigm has pretty much defined Messenger Films over the years. We don’t operate with Hollywood-sized budgets and this has necessitated clever use of existing resources plus a willingness to take the time to get it right. This isn’t something they teach in film schools by the way. There’s no point in teaching it. You will either spare no effort in pouring your heart and soul into your productions, or you will not.
Take a look at Michelangelo. He spent four years painting the Sistine Chapel, and three years sculpting David. If he sought anything less than perfection during that time, I’d like to know what it was. According to his biographer, Ascanio Condivi, he read and re-read the Old Testament while painting the 343 panels of the Sistine Chapel, drawing his inspiration directly from the Word of God.