The list of places where you need money to make a film are quite large, looking over all of the options it is really easy to become completely overwhelmed but there are a few things that you should be able to skimp on price for which will free up your budget for other areas. By following these tips and suggestions, you will be able to make your film for a reasonable amount of money that will not break the bank. Just remember many independent filmmakers get started with budgets that run only a few hundred dollars.
Your first step is of course a script. If you have the talent to actually write your script then you are in luck and that is a lot of money that can be saved. If you do not happen to have this talent and you are better behind a camera you need to instead start looking for a writer that you can use. You can check with friends that enjoy writing and even look around at various writing websites. The availability of a writer is unlimited; the problem comes when you need to find a writer that you can work with successfully. The details of money can sometimes be worked out easily, especially if you are using someone who is more concerned about experience rather than getting paid for the project.
Once you have determined a script and story line you will be able to start looking at details such as locations. This is where many filmmakers start running into problems. The idea of whether to obtain permission first then film or even film and beg for complete forgiveness is completely split amongst filmmakers. If you opt to be responsible and ask for permission first you may find that the locations you want to use will require rental fees. Often this will be the most expensive aspect of your film, but can be easily lowered to save money. If you check over all of the details pertaining to the place you want to film you may even be able to find something very close as well as right outside of specific boundaries that would be free to use.
Lighting is another place where you need to spend some good money. If you take the time to spend a good chunk of money on the lighting you can often find that this is actually a really cheap area as well. While of course key lights are the best to use, many beginner filmmakers find that using halogen work lights is much more budget friendly. An additional benefit of using this method is the ability to easily adjust lights as necessary and even decrease the power of the light by simply swapping the bulb to a lower wattage. Many people can find cheap halogen lights for as little as $5 a piece and if you want top of the line models you can generally stay at less than $30 each which leaves a large chunk of your budget for other areas.
Costumes are often a very expensive part of any feature film. The need to have extensive costumes to follow along with a story line can easily turn a script into a very expensive reality. There is help and hope though; you can look for thrift shops and even clothing donations to really lower your costs. Unless you plan to make a feature film that focuses around a prior time in the far past you can generally look to vintage clothing stores and thrift shops as one of the best places to find older clothing. If you are looking for clothing from a much older era such as the 1800’s, you would be best to start looking for patterns and finding a friend who could help you sew to reduce costs.
While making a feature film on a budget is not always easy, there are plenty of ways you can lower the costs. With a bit of creativity it is possible to create a truly spectacular movie that you will be proud of with a very tiny budget. After all, not everyone can start out with huge multi-million dollar budgets so learning how to pinch pennies while still maintaining quality is absolutely essential.