When I started Raindance in 1992 everyone was shooting on 35mm. You had to. The video cameras at the time were expensive and bulky to use. shooting on film also meant costly lab expenses. Film editing on a Steenbeck or Movieola time consuming. To make a movie you pretty much needed a million dollars or pounds and you had to go to film school in order to figure it all out.

Now of course the low cost of high resolution cameras and easy-to-use editing equipment has meant that budgetary constraints have dropped to near nothing. But what are teh main reasons people shoot on a low budget.

1. Making Your Film Is Your Film School

Trial and error is the real way to learn filmmaking. so grab a few mates and mess around with low cost equipment. Make your mistakes and more importantly develop the experience it takes to learn from your mistakes.

2. It’s Easier To Show A Profit

It is common sense that a million is a lot harder to get than a hundred thou. And a hundred thou is a lot harder to get than ten thou. And the lower the budget the less money you need to pay off your investors and turn a profit.

The trick of course, is to learn how to make money from your film.

3. The Budget Ladder

Want to get 20 mil to make a film? Here’s how everybody does it: They get 2 mil and make a movie that makes money.

Want 2 mil? Here’s how everybody does it: Make a movie for a couple of hundred thou that makes money and you get a couple mil.

And so on down the the amount of money you know you can get together on your own without annoying your landlord or your diet and make a movie that gets noticed and makes some money and you will get a couple hundred thou.

Remember the movie industy’s golden rule: first you make a movie and then you make deals to make movies.

4, Lo Budget Movies Don’t Need Stars

Everyone knows that if you have Benedict Cumberbach in your movie you are going to mint it bigtime. But the types of movies that don’t need stars are the ones that you can make cheaply. These are horror and sci-fi. These movies would kind of be ruined by a Cumberbach or Clooney going ‘Aaaargh!’

What makes horror and sci-fi sell? The concept. and in these two genres not only don’t you need stars, you can/t really use them.

5. There’s Nothing Difficult about Making Movies

The film industry delights and over complicating things in order to mystify the entire process and to keep newcomers out.

Don’t let anyone tell you that filmmaking is difficult. it isn’t.

it’s just plain old-fashioned hard work.

Which is what I go through in easy-to-understand steps in my Lo To No Budget Filmmaking Weekend Masterclass.

Do you want to make a movie?

Will I see you there?

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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