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How to Produce Films on a Shoe String Budget

Jul 15, 2008
Making a low-budget film nowadays is a lot easier to do then it was just a few decades ago. There is a plethora of tools and resources out there to assist today's movie maker with whatever they need to get done. Amateur filmmakers can turn to books to increase their knowledge and inspire new ideas. The purpose of utilizing this assistance is so that one can channel their creativity in to a physical, meaningful form. No matter how advanced your tools are, however, it will not matter without creativity and direction backing them up.

Unfortunately, a filmmaker is forced to make compromises when producing a work. While the tendency and urge to try to develop everything exactly the way you want it may be great, it will destroy you in the end. Working on one scene for too long is time, money, and labor intensive, and ultimately whatever comes out will not be worth what is put in. Therefore, be willing to compromise, as even the most successful directors need to do so at some points.

Whenever someone makes a mistake in filmmaking, or there is something negative about a scene, they sometimes assume that the error can be corrected in post production, or editing. This is true occasionally, but the best course of action is to try to make everything as perfect as possible during the actual filming. Then, not only is editing easier, but you have more time to focus on details that otherwise could not be attended to. Being lazy decreases the quality of one's work, so it is critical that you work hard and be attentive to everything.

Many of the digital cameras available on the market today are packed with lots of incredible features and attributes. You can change the color scheme of shots, stretch them, and do a multitude of other alterations. However, the vast amount of tools available can actually be a detrimental thing. Having dozens of options to choose from means spending more time making a decision. Also, you may be tempted to use something just because it is there, even if it does not contribute anything of substance to the film. In fact, many times it is best to just simply ignore the extra features, and film scenes in a regular view. Doing this eliminates many distractions and keeps you focused on what really matters.

Take the time to plan out everything you are going to do. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of movie making and start filming right away. Before the camera even gets turned on, many variables and factors need to be considered, and schedules and plans need to be drawn up. Poor planning is the downfall of the majority of producers, so take your time in this phase.

When it comes to music, stick to songs that are royalty-free, or ones created exclusively for your project. If you use copyrighted music, you have to pay royalties to the artists, and it is not so much the money as it is the hassle that makes this route so troublesome. As a rule of thumb, always stay away from copyrighted music. Although you may think a certain song is perfect for one of your scenes, it is not worth the stress to acquire the right to use the song.
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