As a dedicated and aspiring film maker, the need to find ways to create projects on small or zero budgets is always present. In todays world, people like you and I can create quality films for the world to see from our own home. No longer do we need to personally know Stephen Spielberg, nor does our cousins, uncles friend need to be Michael Bay (though it would certainly help!) If you have an interest in filmmaking or you are serious about getting your work out there, there are many things you can do for free from pre-production to post, using what you probably already own or have access to. Below is a small set of tips that I have personally used to much success.
1. Screenplay & Props
Write a screenplay yourself or collaborate with a friend. This is the most fun way to make a film. The chances are, you already have an idea for a film or have screenplay written and ready. When writing your screenplay, utilise props, property, vehicles and people that you have, can borrow or know. This means that you don’t need to out source, buy or rent anything when it comes to filming. Below is a very short film that I created with my brother, where we did exactly this. We came up with an idea for a film using what we had in our possession.
Always ask friends or family to star in your film. This is an obvious one, and there have been many a blog or article written with the same message. But, don’t underestimate how easy or useful it is to you, to ask people you know. They will be happy to help and most people are up for a bit of fun and a laugh. Furthermore, there are many websites and groups that have aspiring actors as members. Get in touch with them, tell them what you’re doing and what you’re looking for, but you must let them know that it would be volunteer work. I have done this several times and it has been very successful. By doing this, you have also made a contact (and possibly a friend) for your next project.
3. Camera & Editing
Use your iPhone, iPad or similar smart device to record your footage. These days, smart phones and tablets have massive processing and graphics power, coupled with HD cameras that are capable of beautiful photography and cinematography. Not only that, but, there are literally hundreds of filming apps that you can download for free to assist you in your film. Some apps now allow you to easily create Holly Wood style effects on your smart phone. You can even edit the footage very professionally on your device, if you do not have a PC or MAC computer to edit on. Watch the review of a fantastic special effects app that I have personally used many times.
Market your film before you have made it. Why? to create a buzz and interest. By the time the film is complete, there should be loads of eager film buffs desperate to see it. Use social media and blog sites to share posters or production photos of the film and the film making process. Use Youtube to share trailers of the film. The film doesn’t have to be complete to make a trailer. Tease your audience with snippets of exciting action or intense drama. Below is an example of footage that was shot and then put together to tease a certain story.
5. Realeasing & Distributing
Create and share a release date for your film. Make sure your audience knows when it will be available to view and where they can see it. Many aspiring filmmakers have been successful doing this by using youtube, meaning that their audience is sitting by the computer or by their smart device on the date and time when the film is released. Embed the link on your Facebook page and on your blog. Make sure everybody can see it. Below are two of many posters that I created for the film, Loner, that I wrote, directed & edited on my own.
You’ve had your idea forever, your desperate to turn it into a film, you have your smart phone and apps, your friends are ready. What are you waiting for?