– . – Mark Locke (Low-Budget)

Mark Locke (Low-Budget)

Mark Locke’s short films have won awards and his feature length Crust was a surprise hit in Japan. He has directed music videos for the likes of UNKLE, Dinosaur Jr, Jeffrey Lewis and Athlete.


What training have you received?
I think I’ve got an A-grade A Level in film theory in the loft somewhere! I also attended art college and then got a BA Hons in film theory and production, but there’s no substitute for just making stuff and learning the hard way.

Does your budget limit what you explore in your films?
On a truly low budget it means I can actually explore more. I’ve got more time, more freedom and it’s more fun because we’re all there for the same reason—the sheer love of making movies. If we don’t get something we just come back another day and give it another go. You can get amazing results when you’re a tight little team on the same mission. There are obviously some things you can’t do on a really low budget, because of logistics, but you just do those projects with more money.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a low budget filmmaker?
Michael Powell’s line, ‘If truth and originality are your aim, cultivate your own back garden’. He was talking about writing what you know but I think it applies to production too—i.e. use what’s around you and don’t try to make a sci-fi movie on 2p. That said, the Flaming Lips’ Christmas On Mars movie is quite amazing and Wayne Coyne made it in his garden!

Tell us the most significant moment in your career?
I think it was a penny dropping on a low budget music video, using HD and realising I could make a quality feature film in a very small and personal way. No politics, no big crew, just a carful of cool people and my mum doing the sandwiches. I was always such a film purist but the technology has come on so much and having a budget is no longer the only option. So that really was a eureka moment. I shot a low budget TV pilot to test the water and now I’m doing a feature the same way. I don’t want to make all my films so cheaply, and I have some projects that are much bigger and even ‘Hollywood big’ in scale, but it’s great to do both.

You’ll die happy when…
I’ve made all the great film and TV and music video ideas in my head. Probably no happy death for me then, because there’s loads…