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Low And No Budget Tips for Better Filmmaking

Updated February 6, 2014 - Cinematography, Events, Film Production by J Walsh mm

low-budget-films-ppsThe fact is, you don’t need to have deep pockets to make an incredible movie.  All the elements of fantastic filmmaking can be achieved for next to no money if you know what to focus on.  Of course, solid preproduction and amazing storyboards, using the likes of StoryBoard Quick, are the best way to go. But here are a few other tips, courtesy of the Raindance Film Festival (check submissions deadline) to remind you to keep to the essentials of storytelling in order to make engaging films and videos.

Good story -is a must!

Story – you hear it over and over but it’s true: if you have a good story, the rest will fall into place.  It’s like saying you don’t have anything if you don’t have your health, you don’t have a film if you don’t have a good story.

Firstly, your story must have characters with a specific goal. A specific goal is one that can be measured, so at a point in time we can see whether or not the character achieves or fails to achieve the goal. For example, if your character’s goal is to move out of London – this is a weak goal. We all want to leave London. It’s dirty, expensive and increasingly dangerous. But if the goal of your character is to leave London by noon tomorrow, or else… then we have a goal that is easily measured.

Secondly, your story has a setting. The setting can be usual or unusual.

Thirdly, there are the Actions of the main characters and finally what they say, or Dialogue.

Locations – The fewer locations your story has, the less time and money goes in to moving shot and people in to place.

Camera  – picking the right camera is paramount to quality, but you can still do this on a budget.

Choosing the camera that suits your script and your budget is simpler than ever before. Most likely you will be shooting on a digital camera. Two elements of any camera you should look out for are: compression and lenses. Remember that all digital cameras generate the same signal. What influences the image quality are the lenses you film through and the numbers of pixels per frame (compression)

Get Organized – if you don’t have your plans in order, you’ll be wasting everyone’s time and, likely, your money.

Nothing is more disheartening than showing up to help out on a mate’s shoot only to spend an hour looking for a screwdriver. Disorganization is totally unforgivable and easily preventable by advance planning. Make sure you know where everything is, and make sure everything and everybody shows up at the right place at the right time. If this is not within your organizational ability, partner with someone who is.

-or use storyboards and pre-plan, prepare, and pre-viz

You’re Not Lucky, You’re Good:

“I believe that luck is earned through a combianation of hard work and karma, If you maintain your integrity and your passion, success will surely visit you.”

For more low to no budget tips and tricks visit the Raindance.org website.

Photo: Chris Doelle

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