Fulfill your directorial dreams with the help of Indy Mogul, a site designed for independent filmmakers looking for cheap solutions to create sweet special effects on a budget. A vlog version of MAKE magazine for the amateur filmmaker set, the site’s weekly show “Backyard FX”, was launched in December 2006 by Next New Networks, a media company which specializes in creating internet-based “micro-television” networks.
While the content is geared towards aspiring filmmakers, anyone with an interest in special effects, or a penchant for theatrics will get their money’s worth from Backyard FX. Host Erik Beck, the site-proclaimed “zero-budget wizard,” takes weekly requests from film folk who need to know how to create breakable glass, resurrect a zombie, build a jetpack or simulate a gunshot.
Beck’s delivery is clear and concise, and his do-it-yourself solutions to directors’ woes can be created with inexpensive, everyday household goods. He leads viewers through the creative process of crafting effects with a signature, wacky style and has a noticeably good time doing it. His low-budget epithet is also no joke – at the high-end projects cost $50 to complete.
The shows range from 5 to 8 minutes long, and include clips from viewer submissions, which are also featured on the site’s blog. In fact, like most Next New Network shows, the site’s relationship with its viewers is a large part of what makes Indy Mogul so good. The community has some questions on how-to and Beck provides easy-to-follow, DIY answers accented with advice from his viewers. It’s a combination that’s well put together.
The episode on “How to create a Giant Sandwich” out of cardboard, foam, and spray paint is anthropomorphically hilarious – after the Sandwich is born it launches a protest outside a park, and chases down a hapless, hungry bystander.