The film industry relies on passion to drive moviemakers forward and push the envelope of popular genres. But although vital for the creative process, passion cannot pay for crews and equipment – only money can. And when money is tight, indie filmmakers must master the art of frugal innovation.
These are our 10 tips for filming an indie movie on a shoestring budget.
Spend Time in Pre-Production
Count your money and develop a shooting plan accordingly. Pre-production doesn’t cost a dime, so use it to hone and pitch your ideas, raise more money, assess risks, and fine-tune a filming schedule.
Establish a Productive Workflow
If you treat your movie as a project, you’ll be able to break it down into tasks and milestones before you start shooting. This will make production easier to manage and eliminate potential bottlenecks.
Get to Know Your Audience
As a filmmaker, you’re both a product marketer and a seller of experience. This means that you need to get familiar with your target audience and see if there’s a market for you to penetrate and sweep.
Pick a Budget-Friendly Script
Making a movie on a tight budget comes with certain limitations. Opt for engaging scripts that offer character-driven stories and don’t depend on expensive props, locations, stunts, and special effects.
Work with Professionals Only
Don’t make budget cuts at the expense of professional filmmakers. You’ll need experienced people to help you make the most of your resources, so avoid amateurs and hire the right people for the job.
Understand Union Rules
If you decide to work with an actors’ union, study the contract before signing it. It happens more often than not that their production terms are reasonable, but the distribution is everything but.
Rent Reliable Filming Gear
You don’t need cutting-edge technology to film a heartwarming movie, only a good story, and your own talent. Find a reliable film equipment rental and rent a filming gear you’re already familiar with.
Inspire and Incentivize Teamwork
Inexpensive indie movies are a perfect platform for showing off raw talent and telling important real-life stories, so encourage and incentivize your crew to step up and give their best performances.
Don’t Forget About Music Rights
This is an amazing opportunity to scout the local scene and discover brilliant yet unsigned musicians. You can save a lot of money on music rights by asking them to contribute with their ideas and songs.
Do Your Own Marketing
Create DIY posters and kick off a guerilla marketing campaign using social media. Instagram and YouTube are your best friends here – share the movie trailer and gifs and run a contest for VIP tickets.
Put your passion to work, learn from the journey, and have fun!