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Film Script Format

Write Your Story in a Screenplay Format

Now you have your story structured and characters well developed, You need to write your story in a professional film script format. This is where all the creative work kind of stops, since professional film script format  has very strict rules, so be careful.

Now:

Many writers use  a script writing software to write in script format even if you plan to use a screenwriting software, you should go through the rules mentioned here, so you can make sure that everything is in place. It may sound complicated at the start, but, trust me, once you’ll understand the basic, it will come easily to you.

I am going to walk you through the basic format rules and if you want to deepen your knowledge on the subject, I recommend reading the book The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style.

Film Script Format’s First Page

The first page needs to have the title on about line 25, on the page center in quotes and in caps letters.

Four lines under the title should be the “Written by” (also centered) and 2-3 lines after that should be the name of the writer.

I also like to write my contact information at the bottom of the page.

Writing The Scenes

The important thing to remember is that every scene needs to start with the details of who, what, where and when. The script should be written is present tense since revealing to us on the paper as we read it, as if we are watching the film.

The Slugline

The first line that describes the scene called slugline, which is the headline of the scene. Each time your character moves from one location to another, it’s a new scene and you’ll need a new headline. The slugline reveals to us the number of the scene, is it shot inside or outside (writing as INT/EXT), the location of the scene and the time of day (day or night).

The order here is very important.

It should all be in capital letters, so it should look like this:

      12.INT.LIOR’S ROOM.NIGHT

The reason for being strict about the slugline is so the producer/cinematographer/sound man and all other crew members can go through the script quickly and get the general idea about the production.

For example, they can learn how many scenes in the film need lighting (those that are shot inside) and how many are going to use sunlight (those that are shot outside at daytime). If you’ll read the lesson about Script Breakdown, you will understand why this is very important when working on the budget

This is why many directors and producers ask for the script in a Final Draft format because it makes it easy for them to divide the scenes like that.

The Scene Description

After writing the slugline, you should write the scene description. The scene description is built from a few short sentences and should give us a clear image of what we are going to see on screen.It should be written two spaces below the slugline and between the margins.  Every scene will start with a scene description, but it can be written during the scene every time something happens that is not a dialogue.
When a character is introduced for the first time, you should write her name in capital letters and add a short description of her.

Remember! You can only write what we see. You can’t write stuff like “Leroy is sad”, you should show us he is sad. You have to remember that the audience is not going to read the script. You can sometimes use metaphors to set the mood, but be careful there.

So it what we have now will look like this:

      12.INT.LIOR’S ROOM.NIGHT

      Leroy, a fat, 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is           crying while looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

Notice I didn’t write “sitting with HIS dog”. If I want the audience to understand that the dog belongs to Leroy, I need to find away show it.

Writing The Dialogues

The talking character’s name should be written 3 lines below the description and about 4 inches from the edge in capital letters. The character’s lines will be 1 line below and about 3 inches from the edge.

The whole thing should lool like this:

      12.INT.LEROY’S ROOM.NIGHT

     Leroy, a – 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is              crying while looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

DOG

                                         Hey Leroy, are you OK?

LEROY

                                         No. I miss my girl

Adding action lines

Now, Leroy wants to get up in the middle of the conversation. This is how we write it:

      12.INT.LEROY’S ROOM.NIGHT

      Leroy, a – 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is crying while
looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

DOG

                                         Hey Leroy, are you OK?

LEROY

                                         No. I miss my girl

DOG

                                         Why?                                                                                            

          Leroy gets up without looking at him

LEROY

                                        I don’t want to talk about it!

There are much more and if you want to get perfect in it,

You can also get Screenplay template from this link

Post-production

Working With Post-Production

post production is an important stage to understand. The last changes in the field of digital filmmaking have made this stage less expensive, but with the many new options out there, it is also a lot more complicated.  Many independent productions fail to understand the importance of the post-production process, and by that, the whole production either fails or not keeping up in schedule or simply taking too long which make everything much more expensive. understanding the basic is a must for every producer and director.

post-production definition

When you are working in the industry, it’s amazing to see how many producers don’t really understand what does post production mean. I’m going to explain it now.

After you finished all the shooting it’s time to assemble everything together. In this post lesson, I will talk about the post-production workflow. If you read my pre-production lesson, you know that the post-production process should really start at the pre-production. Back then you’ve already decided how the movie is going to be shot and edited. You’ve also planned already how much time the post-production stage is going to take and how much money you are going to spend on it. You should have also known where you are going to edit everything and who are the crew that will do all that.
Some producers even send the film’s footage during the shooting to the editing room, so the editor will start going through them.

Even if have a post manager, you should have some knowledge on to the technical issues of the post production and at the post-production’s crew jobs and what each one of them does.

what is post production in a film?

Many directors and producers believe that the post-production stage will fix all of their shootings error. That is not true. I mean, you can fix a lot in the post, but it is usually the basic errors and some of them can be fixed, but will cost a lot. Sometimes there’s simply not enough time to fix everything, so don’t count on it too much.

stages of post production

Post production – step 1 – Prepare for video editing

Well, the truth is you were supposed to look for the editor in the pre-production stage, but since it a post-production issue, I’ll give you some tips about it now:

  • The video editor is the one that creates your final draft of the movie, so don’t look for the cheapest video editor out there. You need a video editor that know his editing software perfectly and has enough experience to know when to cut.
  • When you look for video editors, see what are their strengths and if it is what you need for your film.
  • You should meet with the editor before shooting, to see if there is anything you can do to make the editing process easy.
  • I recommend reading the lesson about stages in video editing to learn the process better.
  • Before meeting with your video editor, Organize your tapes and SD cards. Each tape or SD card should be tagged with a number, location, and date of shoot.
  • If you want to save money, you can rent video editing rooms in “dead hours” like night time or the-the weekend.

 

Post production – step 2 – Color correction

The color correction is a stage you get to only after the editing is final and been approved by everyone. Color correction is working with the colors elements of the frame like saturation, contrast, and the balance of colors. You should send your film to color correction, but if you don’t have enough money for that, maybe you can send only a few scenes that have really bad lighting. This is the kind of decision, you should make during the shooting while watching the rushes.

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Sometimes you can ask the video editor to do some basic color correction like playing with contrast and saturation, but only if the editor is professional and has the right equipment to deal with it. Sometimes colors may look good on the computer but bad on the big screen. That is why colorists have an expensive monitor that helps them know how to deal with the colors. If you want the video editor to deal with the colors, you have to make sure he knows it right at the start.

You should make sure the editor knows how the colorist would like to get the movie (does he need the project with media files or one big file…)

Post production – step 3 – Take care of film’s soundtrack

There are few ways to get music to your film. Many producers like to use music libraries, mostly to save money. There are many music libraries out there. I know many of my friends like The Premium Beat site. They have many royalty free music with high-quality track and SFX.

I kind of like music libraries, but not for every movie and not for every scene. You got to remember that these music pieces are sold for everyone for whatever use they wish to do with it, so it might suck to use a piece of music on a dramatic scene and, later on, to find it on a commercial for cell phones.

Another way is creating an original score with a few musicians. If you are doing that, you have to go all the way. Hire as many musicians as you need and record it in the best place you can. Before you go that road, you need to think how important is it for your film to use original score.
These days you can find a musician that play many instruments through a computer software that sounds pretty good. You can also try to get a discount by maybe letting him keep some of the rights to the music,

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The third way is playing records. It can be cheaper if you’ll use unknown songs. If you find a song that you really believe, it can do good to your movie, you need to start working on license agreements.

Post production – step 4 – Sound editor

You’ll be surprised from what  the sound designer can do for your film. After getting the final draft of the video editing, you should send the movie to the sound designer. The sound designer is in charge of the dialogue, the sound effects, and the music and with all these threes, he creates a new dimension to your film. The sound is important to help the continuity between shots, but it is also a great tool to create manipulations on the audience, so you really shouldn’t skip that stage.

Sometimes, on small projects, the video editor can work on the sound by himself, but on bigger films, it is recommended to work with a professional sound designer.

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When working with a sound designer, you should send him the film at the rough cut stage, so he’ll already have a first look at it. Send it with notes and ideas and music cue sheets.

I recommend reading my posts on sound design, especially the introduction to sound design and the stages of sound design

So as I said, you really should start working on the post-production at the pre-production stage. There are a few reasons for that, but the main ones are you are going to be very tired when you’ll get to the post-production stage. You simply won’t have the strength to deal with contracts and negotiations, but also because you don’t want any surprises at that stage.

That’s it for now. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Film Directing: Make Your Audience Emotionally Engaged

How to  Make Your Film Audience Emotionally Engaged?

Many film school students make the mistake of thinking that film directing is simply telling a story. That is not true.When you get a script, you want the audience to be emotionally engaged in the film and to do that you need their watching experience to have different layers of fun.

I’m going to talk about something that not many film schools are talking about – Film directing is not just about telling “the facts”. In fact, the facts are just the cover to tell a deeper story with deeper meaning.

Don’t sell yourself

Before we start talking about how to make a film that will thrill your audience, it’s important for me to explain, that I’m not talking about selling  yourself to the audience. Don’t do something just because the audience seems to like it right now. If you don’t believe in your film, your audience will feel it. If you want to make a film that will truly be remembered, You must think about your way of telling the story.

Find a good story

Your first step is to find a good story. Notice that I didn’t write “a good script”. First of all pay attention to the story itself. Does the story work without the stylish dialogues and scenes?
It’s hard to define a good story, but generally speaking, it’s a story that will challenge the audience, but more important a story that interests you. You are about to do a lot of story analyzing, so you better like it. Also, make sure the story’s world has to be reliable and also the characters. It also needs to have the dramatic structure.

Have a good main character

The audience has to connect with your character. I’ve talked about how to do that in the Developing Characters post, but generally, you need to have a character that the audience will care about and that will be strong enough to lead us in throughout the story. The audience should really want her to survive and succeed.

Understand your story

The director needs to be able to make complicated interpretations of the script. To do that he needs first to completely understand the story. The process starts with understanding your story’s structure and the dramatic conflict that is developing throughout the film. Back To The Future is a film that you can see the director knew every little detail about the plot, the characters, and their town.

Your director’s vision

Director’s vision is the director main tool to translate the script into a movie. If you’ll find and completely understand your film director’s vision, you’ll make great films. Your director’s vision will guide you through all the important decisions on set.
Your director’s vision is an outcome of the message you are trying to portray in your film – the film’s premise. Only after understanding your vision, you can start directing actors and camera.

Working within a genre

The genres job is to organize some parts of our life and you can find genres not only in films. If your movie is connected to a genre, make sure the script is following the basic genre rules of its genre. Gener films are great to play with because the audience is ready to see a movie with strict rules. You can take these rules and play with them so you’ll have your own twist on them.
First, see the story within the genre rules and then start playing with them, see what rules can you break or stretch without upsetting your audience.
Playing with a genre rule is fun, but it must be connected somehow to the theme of your film. It has to deliver a message. Breaking the rules just to break the rules is worse than simply following them.

Use production design to make

Production design is a film element that many low budget films tend to forget about, but if you’ll handle it right, it can be one of the most important element of your film. After you developed your characters, you can understand the movie’s atmosphere and theme and you can start working on it.  The production design will create your film’s look and should reflect the characters emotions and the movie’s theme. You can also use a storyboard to make things clearer. If you’ll put your mind (and some cash) to it, it will take your film to the next level.  

Know your audience

What kind of emotion do you want your audience to feel towards the film? Is it love? Is it respect? Do you want to impress the audience with big budget production? There are many ways you can turn the film’s watching experience into something worth remembering, but you need to know who is your audience and what you are trying to get out of him.
Every film director needs to find his own way to touch the audience.
In Blood Simple, the Cohen Brothers are making the audience laugh while feeling revolted. Kubrick makes us feel uncomfortable as he built the violent scenes in A Clockwork Orange so we’ll be shocked on one side, but wouldn’t be able to keep our eyes off.
Every director has his own style and you should find yours. This is why it’s important to shoot shorts as much as you can. That way you can test different things and see what works and what doesn’t.

Make your audience participate

A cool trick to make the watching experience more fun for the audience is to make them
a part of the film. One way of doing that by letting your audience know something that the hero doesn’t know. In the movie Hot Fuzz, the main character suspect there is a murder in the town. Everybody laughs at him, but we know he is right because we’ve seen the killer. Horror movies use that trick a lot. We know something bad is going to happen and that’s what gets us excited -the waiting for it.

Filmmaking is all about emotions

Personally, I like films that make you think, but if that’s all they do and they don’t have any emotion attached to it, then the movie was a waste of time. Find the emotion you want the audience to feel in each scene. Every scene should have an emotion attached to it and that emotion should dictate all your directing decisions. For example, a close up is a much more emotional shot then medium shot.

Horror Film Music

 

Disclaimer: Some links in this Horror film music article are for scary films so this post is not recommended for young kids under the age of 16 or anyone that is scared from horror films

Writing Music for Horror Films

horror-videoeditingMusic and sound are the best ways in horror films to built suspense and to in hence the scary parts. That’s why you can see many horror films directors that have the same soundtrack composer again and again.


Many composers like to work with horror films because you can do a lot more in it. Music for horror films are usually more aggressive and there is more room for experiments. In this article, we will discuss the Horror film music.


Here is a few thing you should learn to make scary horror film music

What’s the Horror film music purpose?

The main thing you need to think about when composing the music is what is the purpose of the music in your film. Sometimes it might just be, to let us know that the killer is coming. Usually for this job, the composer will use a very minimalist music like in jaws or Friday the 13th In this case, the simplest the theme is – the better. Sometimes it can be just a repeating note that keeps returning again and again and gives us the creep like in Psycho.

“The horror in music comes from the silence”

John Carpenter

Use the movie’s theme to create the Horror film music theme

Think about what kind of feeling you want the audience to have, when they watch the scene. It will help you a lot to understand the film’s premise first. For example, in the very recommended movie, Suspiria, that deals with witches, Dario Argento, the director, said he wants the audience to feel like the witches are always in the room, even if we don’t see them. That was acclaimed perfectly in the main music theme of the film.

 Use contradiction to play with the audience head

The contradiction can also be a great tool to create scarceness. You can see that kind of style in the main themes of movies like Rosemarie’s baby, Where the movie use a lullaby song to create a very creepy atmosphere. Another good example is Nightmare in Elm Street, Where the composer uses a children’s game song to compose a very scary theme. The emotional contrast between something pure from our childhood and this nightmare we see in the movie is very powerful.

What’s the best way to play for horror films?

Every composer has its own way of making the music. You don’t have to be attached only to an orchestra. In the 80’s it was very popular to use electronic music and we always have the classic Goblin’s music in the movie Suspiria from the end of the 70’s that uses prog rock music and was one of the first horror films to use synthesizer it’s soundtrack. Some movies rather use guitars etc. It’s really up to you and the director.

Always test the horror film music

When working on horror film music, you can’t just let it play in the background.It has to contribute to the image in the scene. You have to test it in front of an audience and see how does it affect them. What emotion does the music invoke in them? Play the music to an audience without showing them the film and ask them later how did the music make them feel.

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I hope this article helped you to understand more the world of music in the horror film. If you like me writing about the genre, let me know, as I enjoy writing it.

 

How To Produce a Film – 12 Tips to The Beginner Film Producer

How to produce a film? 12 First Tips

So you decided you want to learn how to produce a film, but you do not know exactly where and how to start. So here are some tips to guide you and will help you to get your first steps into the filmmaking business:

  • Start with the genre. They are popular, with a clear concept and have much room for creativity.
  • Be original. Tell something that has not been told or in a way not yet been told. Read the Find your own voice to learn this cool creative exercise that will help you find your own true voice.
  • Pay attention to the things that work commercially and in terms of festivals. Notice where you are in this equation.
  • Speaking of festivals, before starting to send films to the film festivals, you should have a strategy. Most festivals cost money to register and in some of them, pre-registration is cheaper. Plan ahead and think how the film festival  is going to contribute to the film, and how much you want to spend on them  
  • Remember – The better your script will be the more talents will be            attracted to it, and if your project will bring a really good script, maybe they even agree to give you a discount.
  • Create a movie web page, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. It will also help you get funding through the Internet.
  • If you are working on a budget, check first how you can cut locations. Reducing locations can lower the budget dramatically.
    (Click here to learn more about ways for lowering your budget)

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  • the sound people usually get ignored in film production, but I have seen
    productions that fell because of sound problems. Make sure to have someone who really understands the field (click here to read about sound design in films
  • Prepare the budget while maintaining fidelity to reality. Do not kid yourself.Go through all the script, do a script breakdown and realize what it is you need. If the budget is too expensive, check out what you can give up and be sure to add an unexpected 10 percent to the budget. That means after you finish calculating the budget you add 10 percent of the budget to spend on unexpected expenses (which will happen to you no matter how much you’ll plan ahead). Do not forget to also include marketing expenses, editing, sound and every post issue.
  • Do a research in all areas that you deal with them and try to do some more work on your own Pre – Production stage.

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  •  Try to find staff that has the equipment needed. It can cost you cheaper
    (especially if they have their own insurance on the equipment) and they know
    how to use their equipment and they also keep it in good shape.
  • Learn how to work well with your director, financiers, and other important figures. Establish with all of them an honest relationship right at the start. The producer has to know how to work with people and listen to their needs. Everyone got different needs and it your job to answer them.

Sound Design Stages

 Sound Design Stages

The Sound design process in a film is a very complex one and requires great sensitivity. The sound in a film is an important part in creating atmosphere and to transferring the film’s message.

When to start working on the sound design?

Do not work on the film’s music and sound design before you finish editing the image. Some video editors say they need music to edit the scene. This is not the right way to work. The image should stand by itself and if you feel you really need music to help you edit the film then put any music as reference only. Unless you are buying music from music library (Which I’m going to talk about soon), do not let the music to dictate your editing.

Starting the sound design process

The process begins with a meeting of the sound designer with the video editor and the director. The sound designer will watch the film and write down notes as movie style, dramatic moments, repeated themes and preferences of the film director and editor. It is necessary to find out whether there are dialogues that need dubbing or other special matters that the sound designer need to know about them. It’s also important to clarify deadlines and Questions like are there more shooting ahead? What are the film director expectations? and so on.

Recording sounds (Foley)

The sounds in your film, that weren’t recorded in the set will be recorded by the sound designer and they are called Foley (after James foley who invented the technique). They are added later on to the film. These sounds need to sound realistic and interesting. Today the foley artist has a big part in making the cinematic experience a big one. The sound designer will show the film to the Foley guy (or girl) and explain it’s concept to him. The Foley guy should take his notes and translate them into sound recordings.

Here is a shrt clip, that will let you get the hang of how it’s done

The Secret World of Foley from Short of the Week on Vimeo.

 

The film’s music

Mostly in low-budget- movies the sound designer is also responsible for the music (the truth is that when we talk about low-budget films, there is a good chance that he will be even the same person who wrote the screenplay)
There are several ways to produce music:
First of all, you can go and ask the orchestra to record it for you. This, of course, will cost a lot of money and is not recommended. In today’s age people can record a full orchestra in their own room through a computer software. There are a lot of musicians who have their own bank of music.They sell you packages of pre-recorded melodies and all you have to do is come and choose what you like.

Today, there are many sites that offer you music for sale. Here are 3 examples:

.de wolfe music

opus1 music library

film and tv music library

When image editing is complete, you can send it to the musician and he will suit the music to what is happening in the scene. If you are using music from a music bank you may need to make some repairs in it.If it’s a problem to do that then you need to make sure that the film is edited by the music bits.

Don’t let the video editor do the sound design

There can also be in a situation where video editor become also the sound effects designer. That is the one who finds sounds libraries. Anyway, never agree to let your video editor become the sound designer, no matter how low is the budget. Actually, the more low-budget the film is, the more your crew won’t be the most professional crew and you’ll need a professional sound designer to fix a lot of problems.

9 Tips to Know When to Cut In Digital Video Editing

Cut The Right Way

When you ask experienced video editors, how they know when to cut a shot, they will answer, that they just feel it. There is some truth in that, but here are some tips that will help you to “feel” the right time to cut a shot.


These are very technical and simple tips, that will make your editing a lot better, and will lessen the amount of what is known as “Jump cut” – when 2 shots are not cutting smoothly.

So here we go:

Know your digital video editing software

Become familiar with your video editing software. Know it’s tricks! The goal is not only to know how to cut the shots together but to do it in an easy and fast way and to be able to solve any problem you encounter with the footage you get. Knowledge of the editing software tools will help you do just that.

Keep Continuity

You can read more about continuity in the article – Continuity editing. but for now, what you need to know is that I’m talking about continuity between the shot and the one after it. For example lets say we connect a shot where the character lit a candle and then on the next shot he is holding the candle when it’s already half melted. This may jump to the eye of the viewer.
Now:
It may look like something that you can’t fix as an editor. They should have paid more attention in the shooting, right? Well…wrong. As a video editor, you will be expected to fix stuff like that and sometimes there are ways to do that. In our example, if you must connect the whole candle shot with the shot where the candle has been melted, try to push as many shots between them as possible, maybe some extreme close-ups on the faces or the hands so that the-the viewer will forget the size of the original candle. Sometimes it will be the small changes that the viewer will not notice right away, but he will feel something is wrong and won’t know why.
take a look at the first clip of this Mistakes In Movies – Pulp Fiction mix uploaded by UnusualVisual.

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Cut in action

A great trick in digital video editing to soften the cuts is cut in action, but it should be planned during shooting. Cut in action means to cut a shot in the middle of an action, and to continue the action in a different angle. If a character gets up from the chair, we can shoot him starts to get up from a long shot angle and then continues on another angle maybe a closer one. For this to work the character has to perform the action at any angle in the same manner and the two angles should be at a difference angle of at least 30 degrees in their direction.

The 30 degrees Law

I’ve talked about it in the article Basic camera angles & movements in film, but I’ll repeat it here quick. do not try to connect two different angles If their positions are less than 30 degrees from one another, it will not work. Even if it’s from Close-Up to Longshot. They just look too much alike.

Let The Character in

another nice trick is to start on an empty frame and let the character enter into the frame. Also, if there is a character in the frame that walks out, you should let her out completely until you move to the next shot

Cutting in the middle of camera movement

If for example the camera Tilts UP or turned in a Pan, let her finish the movement and even wait for half a second after she finishes. Do not cut it in the middle of the movement! The same when entering a shot with camera movement. You should start it about half a second before the start of the camera movement.

Finish the action

Let the actor finish the action before cutting to the next shot. Unless you make what is called “cut in action” (we’ll talk about it soon). When we cut in the middle of an operation, we feel that something is wrong with the connection of the shots.
That is because usually the actor doesn’t do the action exactly the same way in the two takes taken from the two different shots.

Look at the actor’s eyes

The next tip required some emotion in it. It’s not a law you can follow blinly without feeling it yourself. This is a tip I got from a book called In The Blink Of An Eye, a very recommended book by Walter Murch, an academy award winning film editor.  The trick here is simply to look at the actor’s eye to understand when he finished to deliver his emotion. This kinkind of cutting by bits. When you see the actor change his eye direction or maybe even blink, it can be a good time to cut. You’ll be amazed as to how emotions can be expressed by simply blinking.

Now this is the most important rule:

Provide more information

A shot always has to provide more Information. if the next shot will not provide any new information, so why did you cut to it? The video editor should always ask himself, what the audience need to see right now and what will he want to see next?

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You’ll have to remember that these rules are for smooth classic video editing. sometimes that is not what the scene needs, but even when you want to to bring a jumpy atmosphere to the scene, You should know these rules so you can break them:

Please watch what we’ve talked about in this fight scene from Raging Bull:

How To Make Low Budget Film

 

Producing a low budget film

Financing your film is probably the hardest job of the producer. Later on I’m going to write about raising money for films, but now I’m going to discuss the first step in raising money and it’s saving money.  I have also put a link at the end of the article to a great course full with tactics and strategies for raising money from independent financiers.

Now let’s start by lowering your budget:

Werner Herzog once said that the best advice he can give to young filmmakers is not to wait for someone to finance your film – “If you can’t afford to make a million-dollar film, raise $10,000 and produce it yourself.”
Planning a low budget film is no picnic. You do have the advantage of artistic freedom, but as a film producer, there are going to be a lot of problems to deal with.

so here is the deal:

On one hand, the producer’s job is to produce the director’s vision, but he also needs to keep the budget low. You have to remember-The chances that a low budget film will become a hit are not too big (even though we all know about low budget movies like Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and much more that made it big),

but here is the kicker:

The odds that the film will be screened at festivals are not bad at all.
I’m going to give you a few proven low budget film tips that will help you lower your budget tremendously

how to make a low-budget film? by planning ahead

The first step into saving money is planning ahead. Do a script breakdown once you get the final draft of the script. That is the only way you can really understand what the film’s needs are.

Look at what you got

A good way to start is to see what you have. Do that before you decide what film to make. If you got a big house, use that! If it’s a cool car, make a movie that will use it for the best. If it’s talented friends, use them. Take a good look at the unique things you have and own and use them to help you decide what’s your next movie is going to be like and about.

Save money with locations

A good location is the base of every good film. You shouldn’t compromise with it. But still: Sometimes it’s better to lower the expenses that come with the location so you can save money that will help you put up a better lighting or more days of shooting.

Here are a few tips to help you lower location’s expenses:

Try to use as minimum locations as possible

Yes, it may require you to rewrite the script, but if for example you’ll stay in one location and you’ll work with a small team and a relatively simple equipment, You can speed up your shootings with up to eight pages of script on one day of shooting.

Try to shoot as much as possible in houses

That way, each room can be its own location so you do not have to spend the time to move the whole team around. If you are using different locations in different places, make sure that it will be easy to move from one location to the other.

Big Tip:
Do not be embarrassed to ask friends and family to shoot at their houses, but be honest with them about what you are going to do at their home. Tell them how long the shooting is going to last.

Shoot in small rooms

If you are shooting in small rooms, it is possible to use smaller flashlights. and you are going to have to use a smaller film crew

Use every location as much as possible

Try to find locations that have the potential to be a few different locations. Sometimes every corner of a room can be a different location.

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Save money with Narrowing film roles:

Avoid roles of one or two sentences

Think about it- the cashier at the entrance to the theater that says, “What show do you want to see?” That part can cost you much more than if the role would be played without any words. Also, this is a good time to run the script again and see if there are characters that aren’t contributing anything to the script.

“One could make money and get a career going with a low-budget horror film about killers attacking holidays. It is always flattering to have somebody copy you.”
John Carpenter

Investing wisely production team

A good team is very important and you should not compromise with them. Try to get a team that will work in return for getting experience and try to take a professional team for days that are complicated. The roles you should try to find experienced crew are a producer, cinematographer, lighting director, sound editor and assistant director.
Basically the bigger the budget, the more experienced team you should have. Remember! An experienced crew can save your money. Remember that the more your team is experienced, the easier it will be to move around locations and deal with special effects and so on and that should be taken into consideration also. You should also reduce the amount of staff as much as possible and give each member several other roles. It also lowering the production budget and speed up the shootings.

Big Tip:
If you are getting the staff in return for food and experience, they should not spend money on anything such as travel. All they get for their work is this meal and a copy of the film when it is ready. Also, if people are working for you for free, don’t shoot over 10 hours a day.

A good way of payment is by giving the members some percentage of the profits of the film. In this case, there is no need to pay for staff expenses and the working conditions are like regular freelancers. It is important To be clear right from the start about the working conditions and terms of payment.

Choosing actors budget’s wise

Do not use an incompetent people as your actors. I’m talking about friends, family and so on. The actors are a very important part in the success of the movie and it is worth investing there. There are many good actors in the industry, even celebrities that will agree to act for free or at a very low salary.
Just remember! There are plenty of actors who had put all their money in drama schools and then went out to find that there is not much work. Make the most of it. You can find actors in community theaters, drama schools, etc. Advertise in those places, and write in the ads all the necessary information such as gender, age, and type of special features role, etc.

Saving money with cinema equipment

If you are a film student, you can get the school equipment from your film school, but you still may need to rent some of the extra equipment. So the only tip I can give you here to save money is, to look for your team,with the equipment you need.

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Save money on the post-production stage

When you get to the post production stage, invest in it just like the investment at any other stage. This is in the final stage of the film. The latest version of the script in the movie. Take all the time you need to for the video editing. It’s the same deal with sound design and effects.

How to lower your budget on post-production stage?

Rent editing room in dead hours

First, find professional editing rooms that can give you rooms in lower prices during the hours that are dead for them like night and weekends.

Come prepare to the video editing room

Know what you want. Do not waste the time and nerves of the video editor to try things you are not sure of. The more you know what you want, the more you will save editing shifts (and by that- save money)

“Other writers, producers, and directors of low- budget films would often put down the film they were making, saying it was just something to make money with. I never felt that. If I took the assignment, I’d give it my best shot”                                                                                                                    
Roger Corman

What you can do as a producer to save money

Become a Multimedia

In low budget films the crew is very small. That means that the producer has to do a lot of other jobs like finding locations, be involved in the casting of extras and much more. Sometimes the film producer even finds himself acting as an assistant director (although it is not recommended)

Be very very organized

If you are working on a low budget production, it is important to be very organized, disciplined and to understand all the processes in the production, also it is advised to know how to control your team better, to be skilled in negotiations, to be resourceful and know to use all available resources and most important to be able to think outside the box.

The next steps of financing your film

Now that you know how to save money, you can move on to the next step of financing your film and that is the script breakdown. If you want to deepen your knowledge in funding your film, I really recommend checking this amazing course from Tom Malloy. Tom Malloy, an experienced producer, that teaches a solid funding strategy with many proven tactics for raising money from independent financiers. The system consists of several training modules through all the stages from script to the pitch, business plan and more. The price right now is 67$ but if you are really serious about filmmaking, it can save you a lot of money later on and more important – a lot of time. There is also a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied in any way.
You can check it out by clicking Here!