Thoughts on No Budget Filmmaking

The concept of no budget filmmaking appeals to me. Largely because I can’t see that I’ll ever get the money for even a low budget movie.

The other day I followed a link someone posted on Twitter to the article The Rights and Wrongs of No-Budget Filmmaking I encourage you to have a look at it.

The essence of no budget is to know your limits and work within them. One bit of advice I like is to use only the money you have immediately available. Never go into debt to make your movie.

I think the key to success is in the writing. It is there that you really need to be aware what you have to work with. In some of the stories I’ve developed I have critical scenes that are well beyond what I could do in a no budget movie. That eliminates those projects right off the top.

What I am starting to realize is that I need to identify my locations and cast my film before I write my script. In my project The Crying Woman I did talk to one actor before I started to write, but I never gave any thought to the other main character. I have no idea who I might get for the part.

The danger of approaching actors too soon is that if it takes a long time to get the project started, they may lose interest.


The more of the work you can do yourself, the better. I do prefer to use a cinematographer rather than do it myself. When I direct I want to concentrate on the actors and not worry about the camera work. I like to edit and write too. Both of these can be very expensive if you have to pay some one else.


The biggest issue for me is sound production. In many ways sound is more important than the images. Sound is also more difficult to do right. I’ve also found that it can be very expensive to hire someone.  I like to work on the sound, but I don’t have much confidence that I can produce an acceptable quality sound track.

Aside from the creative aspects of sound production, I don’t know the technical specifications. I know that there are a lot of tricks that can improve sound quality, but don’t know how to achieve them. The problem I have with My Most Difficult Case is noisy live sound. I haven’t had much success with my own attempts with noise reduction. I can eliminate the noise, but it changes the quality of the voices.

Given the cost of sound production, I think it may make sense for me to take a course in sound production.

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