September 23, 2015

4 Tips on Low Budget Filmmaking from the No Budget Film Festival

What's the secret ingredient to making a good film on a low budget? If done badly, a low-budget film stands out like a sore thumb. But when done right, a low-budget film can be a shining beacon of what great filmmaking can be.

After six years, the No Budget Film Festival has seen its fair share of films with low-to-no budgets. In anticipation of this year's festival, complete with a ton of free events for filmmakers, NBFF compiled this list of low-budget film tips from filmmakers who've made successful no-budget films.

No Budget Film Festival filmmakers elaborate on the following four tips:

  1. Use What You Have
  2. Use Craft Services to Your Benefit
  3. Prep Time is Free, Use It!
  4. Limitations Inspire Creativity - So Don’t Let Money Be An Issue!

Thinking about a low-budget project you want to embark on that could make good use of these tips? If you're in the LA area, you're in luck. The Bonus Features component of No Budget Film Festival, a pop-up events series celebrating all things cinema, are completely free and open to the public. From the rise of hand-held cinema to make-up and costume on a dime, there's a variety of Bonus Feature talks, creative sessions, and stunt games for you all across the city. Here's topics in the line-up:

  • VERSUS: Action Star Capture the Flag: Oct 3rd @ Griffith Park
  • Design on a Dime: The Art | Film Challenge: Oct 4th @ Modern Vintage Today
  • Get the Message: Creating Socially Conscious Art That Doesn't Suck: Oct 10th  1:00pm-3:00pm Art Share LA
  • iFilmmaker: The Rise of Hand-Held Cinema: Oct 11th @ Third Street Promenade Apple Store

For more information on how to register for all the free events and more, check the official No Budget Film Festival site. About NBFF:

The No Budget Film Festival  challenges filmmakers to free themselves of the most frustrating aspect of filmmaking--raising money for a budget. So without cash, what do our filmmakers do? They get crafty. And resourceful. They certainly get creative.  But best of all, they collaborate and form inspired new networks of fellow artists and professionals.

The 6th Annual No Budget Film Festival happens on October 18, with Bonus Features taking place the two weekends prior to the fest.

Do you have experience using this tips, or have your advice for low budget filmmaking?      

Your Comment

7 Comments

Also check out Independent Lasagna's Guide to the Feature Film
http://independentlasagna.com/diy-filmmaking-lessons/

September 23, 2015 at 4:09PM, Edited September 23, 4:09PM

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Reyshan Parker
Writer/Director/Producer at Independent Lasagna
88

Possibly the best piece of filmmaking advice I have EVER heard, bar none: "don't wait, 'cuz you might die."

September 23, 2015 at 6:55PM, Edited September 23, 6:55PM

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Deeder Murray-Holmes
Producer
314

So. True.

September 28, 2015 at 1:51PM

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Roberto Serrini
Director • Editor
378

AWESOME video. Thanks for sharing. I shot a sci-fi short earlier this year for NOTHING (okay, probably $200 or so altogether) and I wrote the story with budget in mind. So I said "we need an alien...but who's gonna make the alien in post?" Oh, here's a simple idea: Show the alien at the very end, for like a second. Throughout the film show people's reactions to the alien. And make him sound creepy. Problem solved. I ran into a sh**load of other problems but it was a great experience!

September 26, 2015 at 2:46PM, Edited September 26, 2:46PM

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Brad Bingham
Actor/Writer/Filmmaker
81

I agree you shouldn't let money be an issue. I shot a period piece short in the Bronx, NY and made it to look as if it were 1864 South Carolina. Audiences want to suspend disbelief. We have to give them enough to do so.

September 26, 2015 at 10:04PM

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Vince Bowman
Indie Producer, Website Managing Director
22

This is great... I'm a big fan of using what you have. I think you get very very creative if you are forced to build a story around pre-existing elements. Thats why I love a good timed contest where they give you a genre, line of dialogue and a prop... something magic can happen when you force yourself to build something with material given to you... its the basis for good improv and it works for filmmaking too...

Favors. Asking for favors too. It took me a long time to understand this but asking for favors is a huge part to filmmaking. People don't like doing it, naturally, but it not only can be great for your film, but great for the relationships you build. Asking for a favor and then making something from that ask is rewarding for everyone. Especially if you feed them well;)

September 28, 2015 at 1:50PM

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Roberto Serrini
Director • Editor
378

Great vid, but hightly annoying that the voices are recorded mono. Premiere has an easy fix for this, so there's not really any reason it has to remain mono!

September 30, 2015 at 2:51PM

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Thomas Bunink
Student
102