“Paranormal Activity” – The Little Indie That Did


This week’s paper edition of Entertainment Weekly has a cover story on the production of Paranormal Activity (the article doesn’t seem to be available online yet.) This is the $11,000 indie horror film that has, at last count, grossed over $84,000,000 – Eighty-four MILLION dollars. Talk about catching lightning in a bottle. Was it shot on a Red One? No, the slightly less expensive Sony FX1. Was it edited on a Mac on Avid or Final Cut? Nope, it was cut with Sony Vegas on a Dell. The article contains a pretty interesting breakout of all the other expenses:

Miscellaneous camera, tape, mics, batteries – $1000
Actors – $1500
Travel, accommodations – $1000
Catering (groceries and Pizza Hut) – $500
Red Bull – $100
Baby powder – $3

I’d have to say that Paranormal Activities is the poster child for payback on an investment!


Bruce A Johnson

A 1981 graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Bruce A. Johnson got his first job in broadcast television at WFTV, an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL. While there, he rose through the ranks from teleprompter operator to videographer, editor, producer and director of many different types of programming. It was in the early 1980’s that he bought his first computer – a Timex/Sinclair 1000 – a device he hated so much, he promptly exchanged it for an Atari 400. But the bug had bitten hard. In 1987, Johnson joined Wisconsin Public Television in Madison as a videographer/editor, and still works there to the present day. His responsibilities have grown, however, and now include research and presentations on the issues surrounding the digital television transition, new consumer technology and the use of public television spectrum in homeland security. He freelances through his company Painted Post MultiMedia, and has written extensively for magazines including DV and Studio Monthly.