Budget?! What Budget?! – How to Make a Film with the Bare Minimum

So you’ve written a script. Congratulations.

Now it’s time to face the realities of production, namely your budget or lack thereof.

For the longest time I thought that making a quality short film or video would take money to produce, but it turns out that that’s not necessarily true.

Did you know that many cinematographers get their big break by making music videos? Usually, music video production is on a very VERY tight budget by industry standards and this forces cinematographers to be… shall we say, crafty?

If you can only afford fluorescent bulbs and work lights, you tend to be more creative than someone with a lot of luxury cash for extra coffee with the producers.

Production companies and scouts looking for the next big talent notice those who are particularly savvy in this regard. It’s impressive to find directors and cinematographers who can showcase how talented they are without gigantic light setups and full frame cameras. Those people are the triple threats. Strive to be one of them.

That said, you can do a lot of amazing things with little or no money in turning your short script into a reality.

When I made my short film, Flutter, I had nothing. Zip. Nadda… ok, I had 30 bucks toward prop food and pizza, but that’s still basically nothing.

What did I have? – Awesome people who knew what they were doing. I happen to own a Canon 7D (insert Canon endorsement here) and that is a more than adequate camera with the right lenses… perhaps you have friends who will let you borrow?

I also had friends who were part of film clubs and classes who had rental access to lights and shoulder mounts FOR FREE. Usually educational clubs and university departments are more than willing to help you make a project if it allows other students to ‘learn’ from the production experience. MILK THIS FOR ALL IT’S WORTH. There’s no need to feel guilty if everybody wins.

friend'shouse

Some friend’s of mine let us use their house for filming. Their kitchen was a perfect location for this scene in Flutter.

So what about your location and cast? Do a few screen tests of your friends! Leave a few flyers in your city’s film office! Try Craigslist! Hold a bake sale!! Kick in the doors of your neighbors and ask them… no, TELL them that you will be filming in their house and that you will respect their place and offer them film credit and a slice of your aforementioned Pizza.

Trust me, you can accomplish a lot with (at least) a 30-dollar budget.

Screen shot 2012-04-26 at 7.37.20 PM

I had a very talented set dresser completely transform Tim’s room for this scene. It went from boyishly messy to softly muted under an hour.

See?! Watch the trailer for my film! HERE.

chelsealogotrans

ChelseaLupkin.com

Advertisements

I am Chelsea Lupkin and these are my Ramblings.

I am Chelsea Lupkin and these are my Ramblings.

I am a filmmaker. I am also sometimes a photographer, a screenwriter, a concept artist and your psychologist when needed. This blog is for new filmmakers or filmmakers who just need to be reminded of good filmmaking practices. I hope that you will be both entertained and informed. Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Chelsea of ChelseaLupkin.com

chelsealogotrans