Digital Hollywood

Feature filmmaking the Hollywood way takes an army of crew members and a megamillion dollar budget. But in the future, feature filmmaking will take only a pint-size camera, an almost invisible budget - and no crew at all. In fact, CBS News had more people on the set than director Todd Verow, the Spielberg of film's new digital age. Correspondent Bill Geist reports on the future of movie making.

Does Verow really make movies for a thousand dollars? "Sometimes under a thousand dollars," Verow says.

Armed with an inexpensive digital camcorder and not much else, Verow and his partner Jim Dwyer are cranking out 10 full-length features in three years.

"It's a really exciting time right now because with the digital filmmaking revolution, for the first time ever, filmmakers can completely own and control the means of production and postproduction," Verow says.

In other words, now all you need to make a feature film is $5,000 of equipment, friends who'll act for nothing and, of course, some old-fashioned nondigital talent.

"It's a new millennium," says Philly.

This picture is called Once and Future Queen, a shoestring epic about a would-be middle-age rock star, played by Verow's former roommate, the outrageous Philly.


CBS
Verow's former roommate, Philly, starred in one of the filmmaker's recent digital productions.
When asked why the star was not in the trailer between scenes, Philly replies, "Star trailer! The street is our star trailer."

Says Dwyer: "We just got rid of all that extraneous stuff that really has nothing to do with making a movie."

Is this the beginning of the end of Hollywood? No more Titanics? No more star trailers, no more Access Hollywood?

"I've worked on Hollywood movies, and I've worked on independent movies," Verow says. "And the thing I don't like about the way movies are made is there's always about 20 people standing around doing nothing."

On this day the only people standing around doing nothing were, well, from CBS News.

Verow's films - gritty tales of lost souls falling through the cracks in their own lives - are needless to say, a far cry from Hollywood's formula blockbusters. That makes it all the more ironic that his day job back in Boston is as a projectionist in a multiplex.

"I think it's pretty funny that here I am proclaiming the death of film as we know it, and...my day job is projecting it," he says.

The big time will never totally lose its luster, though.

Says Philly: "Excuse me, Hollywood. I love you. Yu can pay me tons of money any time you want to."

But in the future you'll find Todd Verow on some funky location or back in his apartment, where the latest low-cost software transforms his living room into a full-blown editing studio.

"If Hollywood were smart, they'd be looking for people like us," says Dwyer.

Verow notes, "We're able to do, you know, I think pretty good movies for very cheaply. So pay attention."

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