Useful Tips for Low Budget Film Production
First Thing First
Before you start working on your zero budget film you must internalize and always keep in mind why you have decided to go ahead and create your film for no money. Because when you advance further in the process of movie making you will be tempted more and more to spend money. If to make your life easier or your movie more attractive, temptations will be there every step of the way. But always go back to the reason that made you make your choice in the first place. You either don’t have it or you don’t want to spend it. Either way, you have made a choice, a decision. So stick with it!
In order to get you started on your movie, the first thing you must do, is of course write the script. Writing a script offers you endless possibilities. Who knows where your creative mind will take you. But while you can feel free to write on any subject, you must always bare in mind that you are on a tight budget. That means that if you are planning to write the next star wars trilogy, or dream about the next Matrix, your life as a producer may eventually turn out to be hard to impossible. So try and fit your script to your main limitation – your budget.
Planning Your Budget
This part is relevant for every film, no matter how high its budget is, but it is especially relevant when you plan to spend very little money on the film. Make sure you plan your budget from start to finish, to the smallest detail. If your budget is a 0 or close to it, your planning just gets much harder. You must plan closely and exactly how to execute your film without paying for it. And one more thing – always, but always have a plan B, some times a plan C. what happens if your make up artist decides to bail out on you in the middle of the production, what happens if your leading actor becomes ill. Working on a low budget leaves no room for delays. Every day you are held up may have a crucial influence on your budget, or lack of it.
Casting and crew
When you film a zero budget film, you obviously have no money to pay actors or crew. So finding volunteers to act in your film is a crucial factor. Where can you find such volunteers? Who will be crazy enough to take the time and make the efforts required to complete a movie? And for no money? The most obvious place, and the place we would start looking at is at universities and colleges film and theatres departments, or acting studios. There is nothing like eager students or aspiring actors, to get your zero budget film started.
Location, Location, Location
When you are short on money, you cannot afford to build fancy settings. So what you should do is let nature take its course for you. Try and find locations that support your story in the best possible way and are also easy to access and film. Finding the best location for your movie may take time, but it will make your life much easier when you start filming.
The one, most important piece of equipment you will need is a camera. If you don’t have a camera, try to borrow one from a friend, or from one of your cast members. If all efforts fail and you must buy a camera, buy a decent one. The quality of your filming highly affects your ability to later market your film. You can get free software for your editing and sound. The internet is filled with free software for that very purpose, so there is no need to pay for it.
Last but not Least - Marketing
Now you have completed your movie, it is time to market it. The internet offers some endless opportunities for free or very cheap marketing. The most obvious free marketing tool is of course youtube. You can post a trailer to your movie, hoping it will create some buzz and possibly interest in your movie. Independent, low budget films festivals are highly available, both online and offline and you can find some highly comprehensive resources for film festivals online. The Zero Film Festival takes place in New York and Los Angeles and presents only self financed films, so that’s a really good option to start your marketing campaign.
So what are you waiting for? Go make your movie. And don’t over spend it.