OK so it’s been awhile since I have posted on zero budget feature filmmaking. I apologize if anyone has been sitting around with baited breath waiting on my next post, but since this is highly unlikely, suffice it to say that I have not been sitting around on my laurels (haunches), but have been putting my money (or lack there of) where my mouth is. In this time I have wrote, shot, and edited a zero budget production feature shot on my iphone. OK, not really zero budget – I spent eighty-five hard earned dollars on some props, cast food, and water. (Not counting the gas I spent to drive to several locations – so let’s add another 2 tankfuls of gas and call it an even one hundred and fifty bucks.) But I am rather proud of my hundred and fifty dollar feature – so much so that I have submitted it to more than half a dozen film festivals in hopes of getting accepted. (I’ve actually spent three times my budget on this, but there are ways to save on film festivals – and some that are zero – which I will post about that in a future read.)

So I can now reflect and go back and share my experiences and what it took to make this happen – so you can make this happen yourself. Starting at the beginning is, of course, realizing that you have zero dollars to spend, so you have to budget for this (sounds crazy, doesn’t it?), but that means coming up with a script that you can actually shoot with no money, and finding the necessary gear. (See earlier posts on this to get you started, too.)

Imagine yourself a painter and you have a blank canvas and a brush. You are given a tube of red paint and a tube of green paint, and are free to paint whatever you like. Now you really have been wanting to paint a space ship with lots of explosions and battles and stuff (because you always have liked these and they are your favorite, and your favorite painter paints these, too…) and you can go ahead and do this, but it will probably look really bad or really strange or not like you intended, but go ahead and paint this because there is no way you are going to paint a picture of something else. (This painting will most likely not sell, if you even finish, because by the time you get into it and start seeing this mess, you might get discouraged and quit…)

Do you have other options? You bet. You could paint an apple. No! you say, I do not want to paint an apple because that has been done before, it is boring, and besides, I do not really like apples. However, you could paint a really nice looking apple – and very realistic – and there are lots of people who like to hang paintings of apples in their kitchen and they just might pay you a hefty price for your painting of an apple. After which, you could take this money and buy more paints – enough to paint a picture of say, a space ship and explosions and stuff. Selling out? I don’t think so. I think it is working toward a goal (spaceships) by utilizing what you have available (apples), and in the meantime learning your craft as you go along (which could lead to a much better space ship once you have the resources to do this).

And if you are really opposed to apples, well, how about a fire truck? Or a cardinal on a leaf? Or holly berries? Or even stretch your imagination and go crazy with something like a painting of a palm tree bleeding? But first work with the two colors you have. You might even find that you’ll have fun painting an apple. I sure did making my hundred and fifty dollar feature, but more on that later…

  1. Reece says:

    Congrats on getting a feature completed!

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