Many filmmakers limit opportunities based on misguided beliefs. In order to make a feature film, many of these Hollywood hopefuls set their sights on raising a gazillion dollars. But without a track record or a working understanding of how to connect the dots, many would-be filmmakers fall short.
I blame the gurus (the ones who never stepped on set) who tell you that in order to be a real filmmaker, you need to focus on a huge budget, A-list talent and secure foreign pre-sales.
I believe this advice is not only dated, but unrealistic… And it makes most would-be filmmakers lazy. Since I can’t secure pre-sales, so I guess I can’t make my movie. Darn it! Whenever I give talks, I ask filmmakers to write down and answer the following question:
“Given the resources that I have right now, what is the movie I am going to make this year?”
Answering this question forces you to focus on what you have, versus what you do not have. And this focus is essential for actually taking action and making something (versus the many people who just talk.)
If you’re a first time feature filmmaker, you do not need a gazillion dollars to join the feature club. But you will need to learn how to replace money with ginormous creatively. And once your screenplay is complete, then the next step in the filmmaking process is your initial breakdown and schedule.
Free Filming Locations
With the application of tremendous creativity, it will be possible to reduce your movie budget significantly. Your goal is to find discounts such as free food, locations and gear. To get the process started, I suggest finding friends who own locations you can utilize for free. Reach out to acquaintances and find out if they have access to discounted equipment. Then rework your schedule and finish your movie faster.
One of my buddies employed these strategies and got lucky. He had a location budgeted for $5K. However, after my buddy spoke with the owner of the location, the fee was reduced to zero. How? My buddy (a creative producer) agreed to shoot a promo for the owner’s business. Another filmmaker friend got free food for his entire shoot simply by asking.
Remember, if you do not ask, you do not get!
If you liked these filmmaking tips (and you are serious about taking action, so you can make your movie now!) You may want to check out some of the professional filmmaking resources found here.