Posts Tagged ‘Rick Florino’

The movie Paranormal Activity continues to be that little film that does mysterious things in the dark. The sub-$15,000. budget film averaged $25,000 per theater last weekend. (The number one film in total box office revenue had just under $9,000. per.) Much has been written about the film that was shot in 2006 with some friends over a seven day period, took ten months to edit, and two years to get distributed before earning $30 million in its first three weeks in the box office.

Oren Peli, 39. is the writer/director of the film and was recently interviewed by Peter Hall at Cinematical:

Peli: By trade, I am a software programmer, so I never really had any experience with movies before. I started out with Paranormal Activity.

Hall: So this was your very first stab at filmmaking?

Peli: Yes, pretty much, I never even made shorts or anything like that.

Now while while Peli apparently didn’t have a background in filmmaking, according to the L.A. TImes,  he did start his first software company when he was 16 so I guessing he’s a pretty smart and creative guy. (And in one interview with Rick Fiorino Peli talks about spending a year in pre-production.)  Another way of thinking about it is it’s been about a 25-year creative  journey for Peli. And once Steve Spielberg and Dreamworks got their hands on the film who knows what was the actual budget of the film being shown in theaters these days.

But like The Blair Witch Project it doesn’t matter. What matters is a handful of people got together at the writer/director’s house and took a $3,000. camera and made a film that people are flocking to see and when its worldwide run is completed will probably make over $100 million.

While the movie’s success is not normal—it’s not unheard of, and like I pointed out in my posts last year New Cinema Screenwriting (part 1) and New Cinema Screenwriting (part 2)—this is a growing trend.

Oct 30, 2009 update: According to The Wire Paranormal has now passed The Blair Witch Project as the most profitable move to date.

Scott W. Smith

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