“One of the strange things I noticed at one of the places upstairs were two different movies in different genres with the exact same cast, and seemingly the exact same basic location. At first I thought this might be a company trying to sell the same movie twice (not everyone at AFM is honest… actually, few are) but then I realized this was a cost cutting method by the producer. They hired the same cast – including stars – and crew and shot in the same locations for two different movies. They could light one room, shoot all of the scenes for *both* films at the same time, and not waste any time taking down and setting up lights. When the middle dropped out of the business leaving only low budget and big budget films, the medium budget people had to become creative.
In the lobby I bumped into a director I know, Rolfe, who was working on the film from hell… actually, the *films* from hell. He just shot 7 different movies for the same company at the same time. The scripts were written to use the same sets and same actors, so that if 4 of the films had scenes at a police station they could all be shot at the same time. Different actors in the ensemble might play the detective in differently films, and other actors might be suspects in different films, but he had to shoot all of the police station scenes at once… and all of the other locations that each of the films shared at the same time. An actor playing the cop in one film might play the killer in another and a witness in a third film and the District Attorney in a fourth. That actor would be doing costume changes all day, and doing lines from different films all day. I think the idea behind this was for the company to make a whole slate of films at the same time, and be able to sell all of the films *now*, instead of making 7 individual films and having for each to be made before they can sell it. Whatever the reason, Rolfe had to write over 600 pages of screenplays that all used the same locations – and that’s not an easy task. These are the things that we might have to do in the indie world as screenwriters – that kind of assignment may become more common.”