It wasn’t that long ago that making a movie for a few thousand dollars seemed like an impossible task. Thanks to technology improvements and sharing capabilities, spending $5,000 to make a feature film is a reasonable expectation when you take some steps to keep your budget under control.
If you’re interested in making a movie on a budget, then here is how you can create that outcome.
1. Write your script from a realistic perspective.
You can film any story idea on a budget if you write from a perspective of realism. When you keep your locations simple and your scenes straightforward, then it doesn’t cost much to film. Keep each one to three or four actors, choose places that you can access for free, and then ask for volunteers who are willing to act.
You can’t afford to pay for locations if you want to stick to a tight budget. It’s too costly today.
2. Rent your camera.
Don’t buy the camera you’ll use to film your movie. If this was the 1980s, you could probably purchase one, finish your project, and then get most of your investment back. At the rate that technology evolves today, you’ll be lucky to get half of your cash back. That’s why renting a camera package is the better option. You could even use your smartphone to create your first film if you want.
3. Pay your crew a fair price.
Interns are unreliable when you’re making the first movie of your career. Friends can be helpful, but you’ll need a sound guy, cameraperson, and a few others on the payroll. Expect to pay them at least $100 per day – and even more if they use their equipment to make your film. Then avoid lighting packages by filming during the day so that you can maximize your investment in this area.
4. Get on the SAG ultra-low-budget agreement.
If you sign this agreement, then professional actors can appear in your movie for $100 per day. That means you can have a better outcome with each take without busting out of your budget restrictions. Another option to consider is a local theater group or high school drama class that wants to get some experience.
5. You always want to have production insurance.
If you get the SAG agreement, then you must have an insurance policy that covers the production. This investment can give you access to more locations. It also helps everyone feel more at ease because they know there’s coverage for the activities.
If you want music in your film, then compose it yourself – or work with a business like Fiverr to have a freelancer create it for you. The rights to published songs can be complex to secure and a massive part of your budget. Then edit the movie yourself so that you can save even more. When you play your cards right, you can get it all done for less than $5,000.