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How to Make a Short Film with No Budget – 7 Killer Tips

zero-budget short film

How to Make a Short Film with No Budget: Whether you’re creating a feature or a short film, having an incredibly low budget might seem to be a roadblock, but it really doesn’t need to be. Plenty of people have created award-winning short films with little to no money.

No budget short films can even cultivate creativity, resulting in a kind of ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ mentality. With this mindset, you can take your film to extraordinary places and surprise yourself. You don’t require a ton of money to achieve this. However, there are a couple of things to make the process simpler. Here are some helpful tips on how to make a short film with no budget.

Tip #1. Use Available Cash

Avoid using credit cards. This can come to bite you somewhere in the future, so it’s really not a great idea, particularly if you wish to continue making short films with no budget. Plus, there are several film grants out there that several people don’t even know are available.

Tip #2. Be Smart about Rental Gear

If you cannot afford to purchase professional cameras, don’t worry because you can simply rent them out from well-reputed sites.

For instance, ShareGrid is a popular platform that allows you to rent gear directly from other filmmakers. Moreover, if you are renting from a well-reputed company, consider renting the equipment on weekends. Majority of suppliers will be open to offering you a one-day rate for the weekend. Check with a couple of facilities to see what they’re offering, and don’t shy away from negotiating.

Tip #3. Pay Attention to the Story

Nothing appeals to the audience more than a good story. If the storyline is good, the budget will be the least of your concerns. Screenplays and stories have four key elements.

The first thing you need are characters with a specific and measurable goal. Secondly, your story should have a setting that can either be unusual or usual. Thirdly, there are the actions of the main characters and lastly, the dialogues.

The trick of good storytelling is to combine these four elements together seamlessly. When you’ve achieved this, you’ve mastered the craft of storytelling.

Tip #4. Choose Locations Wisely

Moving your crew and cast members from one location to another is time-consuming and costly, no matter your budget.

If you can minimize the number of location moves, or minimize them all together, then you’re one step closer to reducing your budget.

If you look at films such as Orin Pelli’s Paranormal Activity, Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, Kevin Smith’s Clerks, they all have one thing in common – limited locations.

Tip #5. Hire Your Friends and Family Members

Filmmaker producing a short film with no budget

When you’re making a short film with no budget, you probably cannot afford to hold auditions or make casting calls. Working with the people around you is the next best thing to do. Try to recruit some of your classmates, family members, or friends to help you in the film. If you’re a film school student, you surely have an advantage.

You can also ask on social media platforms to see if you can find interested people. Your crew should be people who you trust and know. Because when you’re writing your script, it’ll be easier to come up with characters that closely resemble your crew. Doing this is imperative if you don’t have access to professional actors.

Tip #6. Don’t Invest in a New Wardrobe

You don’t need to purchase new clothes for your wardrobe. Chances are your local thrift shop, or the actors themselves will have everything you require. You will be surprised to see what you and your actors have at the back of your closets.

Tip #7. Distribute Your Film on Social Media

You can use social media to create some hype for your impending release. Get your family members, crew members, and friends to talk about the project online. In addition, you can make a small preview or a BTS video to share on various social media platforms. You can go one step ahead and create social media profiles for your film and consistently release content that’s related to your movie.

Last Few Words

Making a short film with no budget can definitely be an enjoyable process. The experience you gain will go a long way once you begin working on larger projects.

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