1) Always draft your budget before production begins
It can be easy to jump right in after receiving the script/brief. From a creative standpoint, this is fine, but from an organisational standpoint, it can result in a nightmare for your funds later on. Always draft the budget for your production before you begin hiring cast/crew, searching for locations and letting the design teams begin their work – this will help you gain a better understanding of what requires money and where you need to allocate parts of your budget.
Whilst drafting the first version of your budget, talk yourself through all stages of production so no hidden costs sneak up later, and you have a better indication from the start of how much you need to/can spend.
2) Secure a script that is achievable under your restraints
You will need to consider the logistics of your production (budget, crew size, available equipment) and whether it’s possible for you to make your chosen script. We’d always encourage aiming high and creating content which is out-of-the-box. Review your script with your Director and then your entire crew; Discuss your limitations and the steps needed to make everything possible as a collective.
3) Finding a core, passionate team
On a micro-budget, it’s not always easy to keep everyone happy as you may not be able to offer your cast and crew everything they need within their roles. Ensure that you surround yourself with a team of like-minded filmmakers, who understand the means of the production and are passionate about your project. As long as you are upfront about the budget and limitations, your team should be more understanding and willing to work with the available resources.
4) Source locations/resources from people you know
List the locations within the script (and their requirements), alongside the Director’s mood boards. This will go a long way when researching places you may know locally, through mutual friends or online.
On a micro-budget, it’s not always possible to meet every detail of the script (such as the exact layout of a location or matching a complicated prop), so you will need to deliberate with your team to determine what elements are vital to the film, what must be kept and what is flexible. This will allow you to determine whether the more cost-effective locations (e.g. your grandparents' kitchen) would be suitable.
Making small (but well thought through) adjustments such as this will save you a pretty big chunk in your small budget.
5) Don’t overfill your schedule
Although you may be under time constraints – be mindful to your cast and crew. Consider legal hours of working and respect the scheduled breaks on set. This may mean adding another half day to your schedule, but keeping your crew healthy and focused is much more important. Just make sure you budget correctly for the time needed.
By using these five mindful tips, the production will benefit from your forward-planning, creative thinking, and team consideration.
Looking to cast actors for your next project? Log in to CastandHire and browse for talent, or post a job 100% free.
Or, maybe you have an amazing script and are ready to produce, but just don’t have the budget? Why not sell your idea to the public by creating an enticing crowdfunding campaign??
Good luck :)