“Less is More,” said Mies Van Der Rohe in 1886, succinctly defining a modernist ethic. It took the world a whole century to understand this concept and even another half-century to implement it practically. Many people did not understand the concept of less is more in the nineteenth century when the world was at the peak of industrialization. The concept was not even relatable for most of the people in any of their activities as they were reaping the benefits of industrialization where everything was in abundance. Everybody was fascinated with the rampant flow of goods across the globe. The colonizers were fascinated by the exotic goods coming from colonies, while colonized were impressed by the manufactured goods making their way to their countries.

The changing climatic conditions and consequences of climate change have made this saying relevant. The altered conditions and evident impacts of climate change have redirected the world to minimalism. Individuals from all walks of life are striving towards attaining minimalism in order to achieve progress in a sustainable manner. The entertainment industry followed a similar suit and started the journey towards minimalism. It was during this journey everyone witnessed the birth of micro-budget filmmaking.

Micro-budget films are becoming increasingly popular as they consume lesser resources, both material and human efforts, and can simultaneously provide entertainment to the audience. Don Tjernagel is one of the filmmakers who has dived into micro-budget filmmaking. Tjernagel was born on July 5, 1975, in Oelwein, Iowa. He is recognized as a renowned American producer, comedian, author, and director. He attended the University of Iowa and received a football scholarship.

An injury led him to switch his current university, and he attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a bachelor’s in film studies. Starting his career as a comedian and creating a mark in this arena, Tjernagel had little idea that he would soon embark on the journey of micro-budget filmmaking. A micro-budget film requires the collective expertise of a director. The director is highly involved in every activity of film production – from scouting locations, production schedules to lightning and editing. Micro-budget films augment the abilities of the producer to an unprecedented extent.  

Don Tjernagel has produced numerous low-budget films like SinglesTomFlirtsRed, and Sin. These movies have played a great role in advancing the journey of films toward minimalism. With the rise of digital media and the decline in distribution, microbudget films have become increasingly popular. Stepping into the arena of micro-budget filmmaking in 2017, Tjernagel struck the right cords by keeping up with the popularity of micro-budget films and contributing to mainstream such movies.

Tjernagel’s resilience in making films with limited budgets and resources can be gauged through his film, Flirts. The film presented a strong message that individuals should not be judged because of their professions. Professions only represent means of earning for individuals, and people should never be judged or mocked for what profession an individual adopts as their earning means. The movie was produced with a mere budget of $8,000, which is a remarkable achievement in Tjernagel’s pocket. Not only he produced a thoughtful movie on a minimal budget, but also made it in a really short span of four months.

The success of Flirts in terms of fame and revenue shows that there is tremendous potential for micro-budget movies to be successful. However, it has its own set of risks. The producer must utilize all his potential and test his stamina to create a micro-budget film. You cannot undertake this task without realizing all the fatigue involved in the process. However, all these risks should not deter you from creating a micro-budget film.

All of you can follow the footsteps of Tjernagel in creating a micro-budget film. You need to have vision, skills, and awareness about the whole process, and no one can stop you from creating films in a minimalist way.


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