Making your first film can be a very exciting time. Whether you are just aiming for a few minutes of footage or a full-scale production, there are lots of things to consider. From locations to lighting, casting to catering, budgets and beyond – the world of film is a busy one. One of the topics that comes up time and again, whether you are a professional or just beginning your career, is money. Many great films have been made on a small budget and yours can be too. If you are about to make your first film and are looking for simple tips to keep the costs down, browse the suggestions below.
Make A Budget
However small your production will be, it is important to know your figures. Know how much money you have and how much you need, so that you know if there is any more that needs to be raised. Check out our earlier posts on funding your film for a bit of inspiration on this! You can use a favourite notebook to jot down facts and figures, or even a budgeting app. Don’t feel like your budgeting work is over once your production starts. Ensure you are keeping track throughout the process. Be brutally honest with the figures and try to stay positive. Don’t be discouraged if things are becoming more expensive than expected, for example. You can only deal effectively with challenges in filmmaking if you acknowledge them head on. Face the problem, then think positively about ways you can solve it. If you have to stop temporarily to raise more money, then so be it. If you can continue in a different way, great! A budget will instantly help you to feel in control when everything else is chaos!
Use What You Already Have
It can be tempting on a first film to buy extra props, costumes, or other exciting items. While there may be items out there that are essential or just perfect for your production, be ruthless. Don’t get sucked into buying things you don’t need. Use what you already have and don’t hesitate to encourage your actors to use their own clothes as costume, for example. Actors are professionals at creating a character, and may already have something perfect in mind.
Ask For Advice
This may not seem like a practical tip, but if you are struggling with costs, then always ask for advice. You can ask the cast and crew for their thoughts. You can ask other filmmakers and you can get advice online too. Stay open-minded and collaborative and you never know what opportunities might come up!