How to Make Low Budget Movies

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Before making a low-budget movie, find out what the budget maximum is going to be, and learn how to be creative with money. Shoot a low budget movie on digital tape, instead of film, with filmmaking tips from a director and filmmaker in this free video on making movies.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jared Drake, and I'm going to talk to you about how to make low budget movies. The first thing you need to do in making a low budget movie is to find how much money you do actually have. That is going to be your budget maximum. Then you take your script, or you develop your script, and you say "All right, we have two thousand dollars. How are we going to shoot this script for two thousand dollars? What can we do?" Well the monster you have may have to go, or you may have to get really creative. Things you can do to cut costs is, one, ask crew to work for free. Sometimes for credit or maybe a portion of the back end, a crew will dedicate their hours and their labor for free. Shoot on digital tape versus shooting on film. Digital is much cheaper to make movies on. Learn how to edit, and edit the movie yourself. Post-production costs an arm and a leg in film making, and it you know how to edit and post a movie yourself, you're going to save a lot of money. In approaching the material, in approaching the script, just try and keep your eyes open for resources you have available. Think about going back to your high school and talking to your old teachers. Maybe you can use the lab there as a doctor's office versus paying five hundred bucks for a doctor's office location for the day. Think about the locations you have available to you, and maybe customize the script for those locations. Now, one thing to keep in mind as you're putting together your low budget movie is, is there an opportunity or a possibility that some known actor may come and play a part in your low budget movie? Actors, regardless of how successful they are and how known they are, they're all looking for parts that interest them. That they can go practice their craft, and play a part that they really want to do versus a part that their agent tells them they should do. You know, they're all looking to explore and grow as artists, and with their craft. Having an actor like that on board is great for many reasons. Obviously, they're great at what they do, so they're going to make your movie that much better, and bring their craft and their knowledge and their performance to your film, which is great. And down the line, they'll help you sell the movie, just not directly. But having their name involved will go a long way with distributors and getting your movie sold, so keep that in mind as you're going out and putting things together. When thinking about making a low budget movie, you can literally go tell any story for ten dollars, for the cost of a DV tape. I can go take this camera right now, and say I'm going to reshoot Titanic. And I'll go in my back yard, and I'll get a little boat, and I'll mirror....or I'll take figurines and I'll say the voices of Jack, and whoever, and the girl, Kate Winslet's character, or whatever. And I will shoot Titanic. Anybody can do that. So you can make a movie for nothing. The problem comes in, or the discussion, what you need to answer for yourself is 'Where do I cross the line into making a low budget movie just for the sake of making a movie?" and completely destroy the story. A lot of low budget films do that, and that's why few of them ever get sold, in my opinion. You know, they don' have to set the bar, and you have to say "Look, if we go under this mark, and we cut our budget below this, we're going to make a piece of garbage that's going to end up being a waste of time, a waste of effort, a waste of money." And just a complete waste across the board. So you gotta be real honest with yourself up front about when do you actually cross the line and go into the world of just wasting your effort?


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