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Indie Filmmakers: Tips in Making EXTREMELY Low Budget Films


X-Deal. X-deal or exchange deal is a scheme where two parties will agree on mutual benefit. Find another zero budget filmmaker who has the goods you need and try to offer your services in return.  Of course, you have to be picky, too. You have to know the filmmaker’s expertise before offering him a deal. If you know a really good editor who needs a really good camera for his first feature film, then offer him your camera in exchange for editing your film. A good network, reputation, and charm can help you a lot in this.

You can also use this scheme to get cheaper locations, lights, and many others. You may not have a lot of money but you have other things to offer that people can benefit from.

Short Ends. Short ends are leftovers films of production houses. These companies do not recycle or patch together unused film because they are not concerned about the budget. There are four types; of short-ends-250 ft short ends, long ends, re-cans and buy-backs. Click this to know the difference. Contact the big guys you know in the film industry and ask them for short ends. Some of them are actually very willing to give it to their friends and aspiring indie filmmakers for free. If you do not know anyone who’s willing to give short-ends, there are many companies that sell short ends like Dr. Rawstock, Media Distributors and Short Endz, to name a few.

Interns. Accept interns for your shoots so you’ll have more manpower. If you have 5 interns, you don’t have to hire 3 PA’s anymore- 1-2 would be enough as long as they manage the interns properly. In return, you have to make sure that this would be a fun, learning experience for them. Don’t forget to include them in your film credits.

Limit Location. Try as much as you can to have fewer locations in your script. Location and lots of costume changes can be too expensive and time-consuming. Transferring from one location to another, making permits and other legal stuff, setting up the lights- these can be eliminated. If you really want to make a good film with a small budget, then you have to be realistic budget-wise and only include ‘easy’ locations. Crush out all the crowd scenes if they’re not crucial in your story, eliminate street scenes and that dream sequence with an expensive mansion on top of a hill.

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