January 21, 2016 at 10:38AM

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How much does a short film cost?

I am getting interested in the filming business and would like to start filming some stories. But money for me is a bit of an issue and I don't want to spend too much on a film.

21 Comments

They never cost the same. My last short film cost me about $650. One location, two actors , small crew and everyone got paid and got fed. It was a really easy day. I paid a bit for someone to compose the music and did all the post myself. I learned leaps and bounds from the experience. Far more than I did being crew/cast on anything.

You dont pay too much unless youre really beating a dead horse, I know people doing their passion project and call me to do reshoots after having edited the thing for about a year. Even though everytime I see the progress the shot is accomplished. So advice on saving money on a project is be happy with what you can get in the time you can get it. If you hold onto that then you wont spend too much.

January 21, 2016 at 11:43AM

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Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer
1053

Cost is never the same. It all depends on your story. Take a look at my experience with shorts: How I Made Over $90,000 Selling my Short Film - https://www.indiefilmhustle.com/short-film/

January 21, 2016 at 2:43PM

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Alex Ferrari
Director / Producer
1113

So, you're trying to sell us your advice, ok, first as you have probably noticed, on NFS people give advice for free, just for the love of filmmaking.
Not only you're greedy but you're also lying as you did made any money selling your film, according to you, you sold tutorials about how to make a film in which you ad your film.
The worst is the final advice, it feels a bit wrong : you make money with your film by selling the explanation of how you make money out of your film. It sound and feel like a scam.

AvdS

January 24, 2016 at 12:28PM

Are there no free advertising restrictions? :'D

Clark McCauley

January 25, 2016 at 10:06AM

All of your responses on here involve going to read your blog instead. Why not help the guy out with some actual personalized advice?

Clark McCauley

January 25, 2016 at 10:07AM

Cost is never the same. It all depends on your story. Take a look at my experience with shorts: How I Made Over $90,000 Selling my Short Film - https://www.indiefilmhustle.com/short-film/

January 21, 2016 at 2:43PM

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Alex Ferrari
Director / Producer
1113

I've listened to your podcast. You seem like a genuine nice guy but you come across a bit spammy on here.

Brooks Reynolds

January 26, 2016 at 12:27AM, Edited January 26, 12:27AM

A short film costs as much or as little as you're willing to work with. I've shot shorts for $7.99 (for one large pizza) We shot around where we lived, used what we had, and the cast and crew of 4 worked for food! Others have cost upwards of $2000, to get better gear, pay for locations, rent vehicles, distribution, music, advertising, etc. But, spending more money doesn't instantly make it a better short. What makes it great is telling your story in the most effective way that you can.

January 22, 2016 at 10:07PM

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Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer
2062

It really depends on how much you can do on your own and how much money you're willing to part with. I've done some shorts for $20 (bought the actors ice cream) and I did everything else. Most of the time I stick around $500-$1000, which includes feeding everyone and paying my crew. Good luck!

January 23, 2016 at 2:57PM

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Brittany Nisco
Director/Producer
269

Between 0$-1 000 000$. It's too hard to calculate, because you can even make a movie which looks like a Hollywood's blockbuster for couple of thousand dollars if your crew is very highly skilled & work for free...It all kinda depends on your portfolio, charisma, idea if you can make a lot people to work for free/nearly free with you. I think if it's your first movie you should aim for a 100$-1000$ budget, not more.

January 24, 2016 at 7:23AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1328

If you are really wanting to make a film you can do it for free. You can borrow a camera, or at worst smartphone and film with it. Ask your friends to play in it and chose location that are free. If you don't have a computer you can edit on the same smartphone you have use to shoot the film, you upload the film on YouTube from the smartphone from a Macdonald (for the free Wi-Fi) et voilà !

January 24, 2016 at 12:35PM

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AvdS
1094

I have done some for around $200 and some for $20,000. Start with your budget, then scale your story to match it.

January 24, 2016 at 7:13PM, Edited January 24, 7:13PM

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Jon Kline
Director of Photography
218

I made this for about $4000-5000 (Canadian) - https://vimeo.com/75720702

January 25, 2016 at 11:20PM

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Brooks Reynolds
Director/DOP
548

That's awesome ! I didn't watch the whole film yet but you seem to have got a very quality film for the money you had spent.

Sripal Sama

August 9, 2016 at 8:47PM, Edited August 9, 8:47PM

Dude.. I watched the whole movie and it gave me chills. You freakin' nailed it. I registered/signed up for this site to leave the comment (found it off a google search). That was awesome. I know I'll remember it for a very long time..

Chris Scott

October 17, 2016 at 11:19PM

It literally costs every cent you can put your hands on and not a penny more.

January 26, 2016 at 10:22AM, Edited January 26, 10:23AM

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that question need long answer, i try to do a short answer :-D
my suggest is start with stories of other filmaker, not with yours... from that you told, you not have experience, not have friends that work in this environment.
if you not too much money, but also if you have, is better to start from lower, to learn more. Search in your city other filmaker, ask to collaborate with them, during helping your can learn a lot, good and bad way to do things, you collect experience, and ... later when you produce your stories you have more experience and you can ask to them to help you. Also if you have many friends if you not have skilled friends, all production will be slow and with newbie taste, if your friends are skilled people, or they know what they do help more and more than other.
movie are team working, the sums of skill and energy of people, without a bit of consciouness about what you are going to do, you risk to spent money, spent energy and emotion (money gone and come, energy is a bit difficult to collect) in wrong direction.
try to be on set of a short money to help, and see what happened, then you can find answer that you need.
i know people that without strong screenplay cannot do anything, i know people (like me) that from screenplay preview also all angle of shooting, other prefer to find on location, i know people that are often drived from actors (good if you are not skilled director, less good if you know what you want).
to have an answer you need to challenge yourself on realsituation and ask to you, i'm able to do that? you need to answer : i'm god to do it, only yes i can do it.
when you are sure, you can do you stories easely and cost of money are drived to you, not from stories...
check on youtube this
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=robert+rodriguez+film+school
you can found a lots of suggest from a legend on shooting low budget, especially to choose right way to shoot and tell a story.

January 28, 2016 at 9:30AM

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Carlo Macchiavello
Director
619

I made a short film and it costed me 6000 USD. Major component was for the location - around 2000 USD and for the cinematography team - around 2000 USD as well. Most actors worked for free, PAs and set director wasn't that expensive. In my opinion, if u could get free locations and props, you can cut the cost by half of what it typically costs.

August 9, 2016 at 8:50PM, Edited August 9, 8:50PM

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Very good review I appreciate a lot your advise, but will be very good if you share a link to your short film, that way we could see it and have a better idea of what we could afford with that investment. Obviously I know that every story is different and location, crew etc can cost more or lower. But I like your description and I would like to see your short.

Thanks.

Carlos RK

February 2, 2017 at 1:51PM

Depends on the story. My lowest budget short film was £100 and that payed for food, props and costume (luckily the cast and crew did it for free). My current project is currently sat on £260 and we haven't even finished completing the budget (currently have costumes and a few props and still need to buy food/drink, locations, actors, more props, luckily I have a free crew again.)

If you write a script that doesn't need to have too many actors, locations and props and find other like minded people who will work for food then you could make a good short film for relatively cheap.

October 19, 2016 at 7:06PM

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Toby Garside
Writer, Director, Director of Photography, Indie Filmmaker
232

It is interesting. And nowadays are prices become bigger?

May 21, 2018 at 1:40PM

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