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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!

Video editing software – Choosing the right one for you

video editing software
film school online

There is is no shortage today in video editing software that are free, cheap or expensive and While in the past video editing was reserved only for professionals, today the possibility to become a video editor is actually open to everyone.

I would like to review some of the important features that your video editing software should have. When you start looking for your video editing software, you should go through these options, so you can make a better and faster editing.

“When I started editing on my home computer, I said to myself, ‘Well, I could be at home studying for a class or I could be at home editing a video”
     Joseph Gordon-Levitt quotes

Free or paid video editing software

Well, the first thing you need to consider is if you want to get a free software or to pay for one. Of course, every body will prefer a free software, but you have to remember that free software is coming with a price. The free video editing software, usually, comes with a limited set of features and are used mainly for home videos. You have to understand your needs. If you are working on a very small production, this software might be great for you.  

The features you should check while choosing video editing software

video editing software must no. 1: Re-size picture to feet your needs

The most basic tool in any video editing software. The intention is the possibility to change the size and proportions of the image. Most programs allow you to do it quite easily. The problem is usually when making the picture bigger. In most of the amateur software, making the picture bigger will hurt the quality of the video. You should check how your editing software deals with that challenge.

video editing software must no. 2: Volume Control

Every basic video editing software will give you the option to increase or decrease the volume. And the more complex ones will give you… well, more complex options like distorted the sound or to control the sound with the equalizer.

video editing software must no. 3: Work with layers

The ability to combine two or more audio channels or several channels of video in the film. This is also a basic feature that should be in every video editing software. When you work on your video, you might want to add titles, effects, alpha graphics and more. On a big project, you can easily find your self with 5 doe layers and at least 6 audio tracks, so you should want to be able as much lat=yers as you need.

video editing software must no. 4: Work with Key Frames to make complex effects (and not so complex ones)

This is a very important concept in editing. It allows you to play with the effects and create properties that change along the shot. You can put several keyframes on the effect and every keyframe will have its own properties and that’s how the effect will change during the shot.

video editing software must no. 5: Fix picture with color corrections

The basic software will let you  highlight a picture, play with the contrast and adjust the color controls in the picture. In the more complex ones you will have the option
to choose the areas, you want to color in the picture. You have to remember that no matter how high quality the material is, it is most likely that you will need at least a basic color correction, so it’s an important element. There are software programs (such as Avid and After Effects) that measure the amount of color in an image and they can tell you if the picture has too much of one color and not enough of the other.

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video editing software must no. 6: Find out what kind of formats does the software accepts

One of the frustrating things about working in the digital age is the multitude of files. The problem is that any editing system absorbs different kinds of files. The video editing system should communicate with as many files as possible – You should also check what kind of files it exports and their quality. If you need to work with HD files, make sure your video editing software is working well with them.

Here some more things to consider when buying a video editing software:

What kind of computer you have?

How much Ram and CPU does your editing software needs? This will determine how fast the software will work. You have to remember that you can always add RAM to your computer. So you should pay attention that your computer meets the conditions required.

How professional do you need to get

As I said there are a lot of video editing programs. If your goal is to make something small or simple editing from time to time, you can use software like IMovie (Mac) or Windows Movie Maker (Windows). This software is good for editing trips and holiday videos. For these who want to become most professional- Premiere, Final Cut, and Avid. If you’re serious about becoming a professional editor, you may want to take classes in the software you are learning. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube, but nothing replaces a tutor or courses.

Big Tip:
Good editing is built on your habits
and if you’ll learn by yourself,

you can create yourself a bad work habits
right from the start.

Take a look at the professional video editing software

The three most professional video editing software in the market right now are:
Avid, Premier, and Final cut. A final cut is a great software for beginners. Its only disadvantage is that it works only on Apple’s Mac computers. If you are planning to become a professional video editor, I also recommend starting with Avid.
Why Avid?
For the same reason that when I wanted to learn guitar, they told me to start with a classic guitar: If you master the Avid, you can learn fast to control any other software,
but here is more:
Most broadcast work with that software, mostly because it can handle very large and complicated projects. It is a very stable software and I think she manages the media files in the best way than the other two. It is also the best software to work if you are sharing the same project with other editors.
It will probably take you some time to learn it and to get the hang of it, but once you do, it will be worthwhile it. Another disadvantage is that it is  an expensive software.
The thing I like most about Avid is that it forces you to work in an orderly manner and to know what you want to plan ahead.

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On the other, hand if you are planning to use lots of graphics then Premier or Final Cut are more recommended. Premier’s clear advantage is the perfect orientation with other Adobe software like After effects and Photo Shop. Eventually, all the video editors have the software, So I do recommend playing with all of them and see what works best for you.