film budget

Filmmaking budget? these 7 tips will help ease the way!

Most aspiring filmmakers don’t have it easy while starting out. The challenges are numerous and the money is tight. However, this is no reason to hold back the artist in you. Critically acclaimed films have been made on shoestring budgets and who knows, yours might just turn out to be the next big thing! We’ve rounded up some handy tips to keep in mind while working on a low budget project.


1) The script needs to be mindful of the budget
You might be tempted to add high-octane car or bike chases to script, or a load of VFX but considering your budget constraints, it’s best to exercise restraint. Ensure that the script is written in a way that doesn’t necessitate the use of expensive props and equipment; try not to draw too heavily from big-budget studio features!


2) Be smart with location selection
Put considerable time into researching locations you can shoot at for cheap or even for free. Your coffers will thank you for that in the long run! You shouldn’t have to shell out tens of thousands of rupees for a location or halt production because a certain site is out of your reach. Wherever possible, find the cheapest substitutes.
Certain locations like restaurants might charge you a hefty sum if you ask them to shut down during business hours. Instead, ask them if there’s a spot within the establishment where you can shoot during their working hours, they just might agree and you won’t have to pay all that much!


3) Don’t compromise on the production value
At the end of the day, as an indie filmmaker, it’s your final, finished film that will help you get noticed. For this reason alone, it’s of paramount importance that the film look professionally made. You don’t always have to chase after the hottest tech and fanciest cameras; relatively inexpensive cameras too can produce quality footage if handled by a DOP who knows what he/she is doing.


4) Don’t skimp on good sound
Bad sound quality can drag down even the most beautifully shot films. Figure out ways to cut corners without skimping on sound quality- this can make or break your film.


5) Take music rights into consideration
The rights for music by big labels can be pricey. Devote time to locating skilled unsigned musicians who might be able to create music for your film from scratch, at a fraction of the cost of a popular studio.


6) Use natural lighting
Natural lighting can give you gorgeous footage AND cut out the need for lighting equipment. A real win-win situation! Look for locations filled with natural light and do away with the time and money needed for elaborate lighting setups. Should the shot require variation in lighting, remember that darkness is easier to create than light.


7) Share credit and show appreciation
The drawback to working on a low budget project is that you might not be able to pay your crew much, if at all. In such situations, passion is often the driving force that keeps things moving. Give credit where credit is due, be open to criticism and involve your team in the filmmaking process as much as possible. You want your crew to think of the project as their own, and not as a cumbersome chore.

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