Financing your film is probably the hardest job of the producer. Later on, I’m going to write about raising money for movies, but now I’m going to discuss the first step in raising money and saving money. I have also put a link at the end of the article to a great course full of tactics and strategies for raising capital 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 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 trick:
On the 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 that the chances that a low budget film will become a hit are not too big (even though we all know about small budget movies like Clerks, Reservoir Dogs, and much more that made it big).
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.
The first step into saving money is planning. Do a script breakdown once you get the final draft of the script. That is the only way you can understand what the film’s needs are.
An excellent way to start is to see what you have. Do that before you decide what film to make. If you own a big house, use that! Did you get a cool car? Make a movie with that car. 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.
A good location is the base of every good film. You shouldn’t compromise with it. 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 the location’s expenses:
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 home.
Tell them how long the shooting is going to last.
Basically, the bigger the budget, the more experienced team you should have. Remember! An experienced crew can save you money. That the more your team is experienced, the easier it will be to move around locations, which should also be taken into consideration. You should also reduce the amount of staff as much as possible and give each member several other roles. It also lowers the production budget and speeds up the shootings.
If you are getting the staff in return for food and experience, they should not spend money on anything such as travel. All your crew gets for the work is this meal and a copy of the film when ready. Also, if people are working for you for free, don’t shoot over 10 hours a day.
The right 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 vital to be clear right from the start about the working conditions and terms of payment.
Do not use incompetent people as your actors. I’m talking about friends, family and so on. The actors are a very important part of 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.
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.
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 final draft of the script in the movie. Take all the time you need to for video editing. It’s the same deal with sound design and effects. Here are a few tips to save money at the post-production stage:
To be more effective as a producer so you can save production’s money there are two main things you can do: