Making A MicroBudget Short Film | Raindance Film School

For aspiring screenwriters, directors, and actors everywhere, there is hope in the form of the microbudget feature

Spending countless hours revising the perfect script, gratuitously studying Joseph Campbell and Blake Snyder, writing pitches, contacting producers, and pestering your college contacts from yesteryear, all to have your masterpiece continuously rejected, can be heartbreaking. 

However, there is an intriguing alternative as the overwhelming success of features like Tangerine and Unsane perhaps provide a testament to the fact that one can achieve cinematic greatness on a micro-budget. 

Here are some points to consider for those of you who are striving to showcase your filmmaking prowess with a micro-budget short film.  

Where to Start

Considering the great Man on a Motorcycle was another movie shot entirely on the phone, one might argue the process can start as soon as you like. 

Putting together a small and efficient team and reading some expert tips on how to be a great project manager, you may be able to start maximising your budget without overstretching.  

A smaller team can often have an easier time staying cohesive when working to maintain clarity in the overall artistic vision. 

It is worth turning to your close friends in this regard, as writing and editing a script you truly believe in can be an emotionally taxing process, an area that a good friend you don’t mind sharing thoughts with can help you out in.

Source Arts Funding

In an effort to secure some extra funding, reaching out to institutions for a film grant in your area is a must. 

It is even worth searching abroad and contacting anyone who has demonstrated support for independent movies in the past. Many highly reputable actors regularly take part in micro-budget features, simply for the joy of acting itself. This is worth bearing in mind when you are trying to make important connections and get your voice heard without a Hollywood production company’s financial backing.  

The Pitch

In order to start searching for any funding whatsoever, the dreaded elevator pitch must be conquered. Pitching your entire idea in 30 seconds may seem like an impossible endeavour at first, but if you are passionate about the idea, you will soon come up with the goods.

You might want to begin by thinking about some classic taglines from your favourite movies, condensing your entire premise into a single sentence, and work your way up from there. 

The Advantages of Locality

A microbudget feature cannot usually afford the luxury of multiple international backdrops dotted throughout its scenes, but this can be turned to your advantage. 

By using your knowledge of your local area, you can deliver an authentic, precise version of the picture you aim to capture. Accepting your limitations as a filmmaker is a fantastic way to turn those very same issues into your favour and showcase a personal charm. 

Room for Adjustment

No matter beautiful the narrative arc of your masterpiece, if the script cannot be practically supported by your shoestring budget, learning to be adaptable, to improvise, and to work with what you do have can be the saviour of the entire feature. 

It is worth noting that some of the biggest budget movies turned out to be flops because of poor production choices and directorial disagreement. Here is yet another area in which keeping it small and selective can be the option that yields the greatest results.

Want some advice and learning on microbudget filmmaking?

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About 

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.