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Top 10 Tips for Low Budget Filmmakers

Top 10 Tips for Low Budget Filmmakers

Making an indie film can be rough, especially for beginners. Many times filmmakers go off halfcocked and jump into making a film without really thinking it all through. Here are a few tips that will help you on you filmmaking journey.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT SCRIPT

Look for character-driven stories with no stunts or effects, limited locations, a limited cast and utilize resources that you already have access to.

PLAN

Spend the time in pre-production. The more you can plan, the smoother your shoot will go. Take the time to plan and save time later when it costs.

MOST FAVORED NATIONS

When paying people less than they’re worth -make everyone equal- one pay rate for everyone. This helps show respect, not play favorites, and everyone will be working for one common goal.

CAREFULLY PICK UNION OR NON-UNION

If you go with an actor’s union, understand the full contract. Quite often although the production terms may be reasonable, the distribution terms may be not.

CAMERA TECHNOLOGY

Never feel that you have to use a specific camera because that’s the “hot” tech. Not all cameras are created equal and it is the talent behind the camera that matters, not the tech itself.

WORKFLOW

Know your production and post workflow before you shoot. This will save time, money, and frustration later.

MUSIC RIGHTS

Don’t go for “label” or commercially released music- the rights are complicated and expensive. Find unsigned, talented artists and get permission to use their music or have them record original music for you.

UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET

Do your homework. Research your demographic and market - is there actually an audience for this film? How will you sell it? Can you visualize a poster and tagline? Knowing those before you shoot will increase your chances of success.

WORK WITH PROFESSIONALS

Every step of the way, your project will benefit from the experience of true professionals. You may not be able to afford the best in the business, but experience matters - hire the right people for the job, not just friends and family who are available.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SOUND

Sound is one of the most important aspects of a movie - bad sound is intolerable, even over bad picture. Know how to capture the best sound and how to finalize it in post. If you don't know - see tip #9.
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