Shooting a movie on a shoestring budget is a lot easier today than it was in the past, thanks to technological advancements and easy access to affordable equipment and free software. You can tell your story without spending a single penny–from script writing to distribution.
Tangerine—a highly acclaimed comedy-drama film, showed us that you can make a great film at almost no cost. However, making a share-worthy movie with no money requires good planning and lots of creativity. Here are actionable strategies you can use.
1. Find Inspiration for Your Script
Draw your inspiration from successful low-budget films, like Paranormal Activity. It is also worth mentioning that fantasy, period drama, and sci-fi films are typically more expensive to make. If you have a small budget or no money at all, stick to documentaries, drama, or horror films.
Filming in many locations requires traveling, and you need money to travel–so avoid it. Use as few locations as possible. Also, film during the day and take advantage of the natural light to evade lighting costs that are necessary when you’re filming at night.
Finally, have a small, manageable cast. You can ask your talented friends to play different roles in the movie. And to avoid script-writing costs, use free writing software or Microsoft Word to craft your screenplay.
2. Use the Right Equipment
If the creators of Tangerine could use a smartphone for filming, so can you. Alternatively, you can borrow a camera from a friend. Your focus should be telling a great story. An expensive film without a good story might flop like Disney’s The Lone Ranger. Supplement your great storyline with good acting.
Some phones have good sound for filming, and you can also consider the good old boom pole for sound. For lighting, take advantage of natural light. If you must shoot during the night or in enclosed spaces, use a powerful light or a lamp. However, before shooting, test the sound and artificial lighting to avoid disappointments when everyone’s ready for action.
3. Get Extremely Creative
To cut costs, get creative. Use red food color to fake blood and transparent powder to conceal shiny faces on camera. Also ask your crew to carry different outfits so you can choose what fits each character. You can request them to style their hair according to their character. Many people are thrilled at the thought of becoming famous and may be willing to cater for their own expenses.
Next, show the cast the low-budget films you’re drawing inspiration from. For example, if you’re making a movie about cars, you can watch budget car movies then visit a virtual car showroom to understand what people look for in cars. Primer—a low-budget sci-fi film, and El Mariachi, are good examples of low-budget movies in different genres.
So, as you get ready to make an awesome movie with no money, follow our tips. Use your creativity to solve problems that money would otherwise solve. As long as you have a captivating story and great actors, you’ll be good to go.