How to Make a Powerful Low to Zero Budget Film

Making an impactful film doesn’t have to be expensive. Today, more people are finding ways to make their vision come to life on a limited or zero budget. You may have to get extra creative in how to get the equipment you need or to capture the exact shot that you want. But, with solid planning, an ability to think outside the box, and use of technology advances, you can make your dream film regardless of your budget.

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Work Within Your Budget

Even Hollywood blockbusters have to make peace with their filmmaking budget. Filmmakers have to learn how to work with what they have. You don’t want to go into debt due to exceeding what you have available. This will only hinder the progress of your career, lead to stress, and make it harder to complete your next film. If you have a small or zero budget, work in cash. This will help keep you on track. If you rely on credit, it’s easier to overspend.

Spend Smart and Look for Deals

It’s incredible how much you can save when you take the time to look for deals. Consider this time as a part of your pre-production schedule (also plan for it!). 

Find Deals on Equipment

You’ll likely need to rent cameras and other filming equipment. So shop around. If your filming schedule is flexible, ask them if they give discounts on certain days of the week or times of the year.

Borrow Items to Make Your Cast’s Wardrobe

One filmmaking tip is to raid your closet and ask your actors to raid theirs for props and the film’s wardrobe. You can supplement with items from local thrift shops. Ask friends and family if they might have something you need. However, be sure to keep track of who is the original owner of each item. If you’ve had to borrow a lot of wardrobe items, make a spreadsheet and be sure that the items you are keeping track of are returned at the end of each filming day.

Hire Actors and Crew Still in Training or Newly Graduated

Paying actors and a film crew can add up quickly. If you have a low to zero budget, you may not have the funds to pay. Seek out help from film and acting schools in your area. They often are looking to build their resume and portfolio so may work for less. You can also offer to provide references or a testimonial for them.

Use Technology Wisely to Help You Schedule Your Film

Having a well-thought-out plan can save you time and money. So before starting to film, invest in low-cost filming or storyboarding software. Planning your scenes ahead of time can help you schedule either by location or by actors saving you time and money. This will allow you to minimize how many times you need to schedule an actor or a location, which can save money and time.

Choose One Location if Possible

Not all films can have the luxury of filming in one location. That said, if you can restrict your film to one place, you can save on gas and time. Additionally, look for areas that won’t charge you a venue fee like outdoor locations or even a friend’s place.

Treat Your Cast and Crew With Kindness

Whether you’re running a high budget production or a zero budget film, treat everyone working with you professionally and with kindness. However, this especially holds for low to no budget films. Making a film is a commitment. People often have to make sacrifices to participate and help make the vision come to life. They will be more enthusiastic and more likely to help if you are considerate of their time and talents. Filmmaking requires collaboration. The more everyone works together, the better the film will be.

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