Keeping Your Short Film Budget Low

If we lived in a perfect world we’d all have the ability to create content at the click of a finger. However, this isn’t a perfect world and as independent filmmakers we have limitations, mostly financial.

We don’t have the luxury of allocating millions on a budget as Hollywood films do. Personally I see it as a challenge but one that I’m willing to take on as a great film doesn’t need to have a crazy budget for it to be great. Rather a great film has a story and intriguing characters that grip the audience alongside meaningful locations.

The best way to keep your budget low is by considering your budget whilst writing your script. Things like blowing up cars cost money so think realistic, think according to budget. If you have a particular location you want, but can’t get substitute it with another similar location. The truth about locations is: You don’t always have to pay for a location. Have you ever heard of the saying “If you don’t ask you don’t get”? People are willing to allow their house/cafe to be used for film shoots in return for promotion or if they just relate to your project but you have to ask.

If lighting is an issue go for a natural light source. Shoot by a window, get creative. Natural light sources can provide amazing lighting, its just about manipulating it.

The best camera doesn’t mean a better film, so you don’t have to have the best camera. The GH4 for instance is an exceptional camera, thousands of pounds cheaper than the high end cameras, and when you put it together with great lighting and lenses you get an exceptional picture.

Collaborations and favours are also a way to keep your budget low. Having people collaborate on projects with you means its possible that some of the equipment that you may need may be owned by one of the people working on the project with you. Don’t be afraid to ask people to work with you, if a project appeals to someone truly they’ll be happy to work with you for free and contribute some of their own equipment to the project.