Low budget filmmaking is a good way to start a career in filmmaking. There have been many instances of low budget filmmakers making it big in their own countries and even internationally. So if you believe that you have the potential to make good or even great films then why not prove it by making an effective low budget film. You never know it might just turn out to be your ticket to filmmaking success. But of course it is not a cakewalk and many aspiring filmmakers end up with half done or completely trashy projects and lose confidence in themselves. If you intend to make a low budget film, the following tips are going to help you ensure a satisfying experience.
A low budget film does not have the luxury of having great actors, locations and pricey sets. The only thing that can decide its success or failure is the story and how it s told. And that s not all that bad because the story and the script play a central role even in big blockbusters. So as a low budget filmmaker you should focus on telling a great story. Take your time developing a compelling script which would satisfy the viewer emotionally. You can start controlling your budget right from the scripting stage. Take care not to include events that would require complex special effects. Tell your story as simply as possible.
If you are making a thriller, you might want to include action set pieces like car chases and explosions. But it would be better that you devise an effective workaround as they would undoubtedly cost a lot and you might not be able to afford it. The suggestion of off screen action can be quite effective if executed cleverly. Suggestion has time and again shown to be more effective than actually showing something as by suggesting you force the viewer to use his/her own imagination. In fact great horror and suspense films have often been seen to use suggestion with great effect.
Making a low budget film may not allow you to build expensive sets or shoot at exotic locations. Even shooting at far off places would contribute to high travel expenses. The solution is to choose simple locations where you do not have to spend much to get the necessary permissions and which is easily accessible to the cast and crew. For indoor scenes you can request the help of family and friends and shoot at their homes.
After you have finalized your locations, plan out your shooting schedule in detail. The schedule should be planned depending upon the availability of the location, as well as the cast and crew. Moreover you should plan out in such a way that you can shoot all the scenes of one location before moving on to the next location. This way you may not be able to shoot your movie following the sequential order of the script but then you can put it together in order during the editing phase. In fact most movies are shot this way.
While choosing your cast, you should again limit yourself to a small talented group. Here also you can include family and friends. You can even meet up with aspiring actors in local schools and colleges or theater groups, and invite them to work in your film. But make sure that you choose reasonably talented actors as bad acting can spell doom for even an otherwise well made movie. As far as the crew is concerned, as a low budget filmmaker you would have to do most of the things yourself but you can take the assistance of filmmaking students living nearby or even your actors as time and situations permits.
When getting equipment avoid buying or renting too much stuff. Try to make do with whatever you have; this would include your camcorder, props, and costumes among other things. Keep in mind that if you tell a great story convincingly no one s going to pay attention to whether you used an old camcorder or a brand new HD video camera. Moreover if require certain piece equipment, then it s cheaper to rent than actually going and purchasing the same.
During the shooting phase be a little generous with the footage you shoot as the more material you have, the more options you will get during the editing phase. During the editing avoid using sound tracks which are under copywrite. If you search around you will be able to find enough royalty free sound tracks to serve your purpose.
The above tips will not only help you shoot your low budget film cheaply and efficiently, it would also help you enjoy the process which will hopefully result in an effective film.
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