3 countries, 4 travels, 14 shooting days and… 15 000$ budget.
Is it even possible? Well, if not for some key pre-production calls, it wouldn't be.
The first call was to cut down the crew. Documentary style allows to introduce raw texture of reality: natural light, unpolished locations, handheld camera, so I decided to shoot this project as a director and a dp combined. That helped to avoid unnecessary crew members and travel costs.
The second call was to be reasonable about gear. It is cool and flashy to shoot with an Arri Alexa, but sometimes you can easily replace it with a BM 6k Pro. Paired with vintage Japanese photo lenses this little camera is capable of producing gorgeous image (if you can treat it right, of course). On top of obvious costs reduction this gear replacement allowed to reduce the camera department down to one 1st AC.
The third call was to spend a lot of pre-production time doing creative prep. Documentaries are always pretty chaotic and full of surprises so the only option not to get swept away is to create several so-called anchors. These anchors will eventually guide you through the project and help you to make right decisions on set.