How you can make an incredible film with no budget

Here we show you how anyone can make a short film and the steps to creating your exciting project.

Making a short film is a great way to gain essential filmmaking experience as well as having a finished product to add to your expanding filmmaking arsenal.

The entry barriers these days in a digital world are now a lot lower than the past – it’s a great time for storytellers to get their material out there. With the opportunity of filming a short film through your mobile phone and uploading it onto many different platforms to get seen by millions, the opportunity is definitely there.

Here we will help set the guidelines from your initial idea/concept and help you bring that through to post-production.

The idea/concept:

The Idea

Coming up with the initial idea can come through a number of avenues, whether it’s an experience, a joke someone told, something you saw, a family members story or just a concept you think “this will be fun to make”. Whatever it is, get that idea down on paper and grow it. Flesh it out and find the starting point and how the story will arc.
Writing the script:

My go-to script software is Celtx – free edition – a fantastic piece of software for a filmmaker. It has everything you need to write your first script and very user-friendly. The best way to plan the script is set out into 3 chapters and work through them individually and iterate. It’s also good practice to map out your characters and build them out – not just “Terrance is in his early 20’s, rough and wears a bag”. I know you are thinking, why do I have to include all of this in my script? It will bulk it out too much. That isn’t the case, you won’t include any of that in the script – simply, what you are doing is building up a character and by doing that you have a detailed idea of the character and can use this to drive the story.

The Storyboard:

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Nb. It doesn’t have to be a work of art. It can even be a stick person!

The storyboard fleshes out the shots you will need for creating your film as well as what is needed in terms of props and multiple shots for post-production. You can use this for multiple other aspects – call sheets, lenses to use for the DoP and the props for the shoot. It also helps for continuity.

My favourite program to create these on – we use good old fashioned paper and a pen but when going digital it’s always: Wonder Unit. It’s fantastic software and free to use.
Filming:
Location: Make sure you look at writing your film to one or two locations max. This will save you a lot of money and also time. It will also help carve a story as you know what your restrictions are. But having a location restriction does not mean your film will flop – check out this short for a one location shoot, it’s incredible.

Camera:

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You don’t have to spend a thing. You have a high-quality filming device right on you as you read this but a low-cost camera that will create an incredible film is also possible.

We love the Canon 2000D, but you can make incredible films on your iPhone and filmmaking apps to change the look by browsing the app store – a great filming app is:

We advise buying a camera once you have got 2-3 films under your belt. This will give you a real idea of what works for your filmmaking style.

Editing:

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Da Vinci Resolve – a free download and it’s at an industry level. The levels of editing in this piece of software are unbelievable in their free edition – definitely the best freemium package! Another option if you want something simple but effective is iMovie. It has the capability to edit a short film to a high standard.

Marketing your film:

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It really depends on the budget. But having 0 budget doesn’t mean you can’t get a huge reach on your film. For instance, you can approach businesses or brands who can relate to your story in some way and ask them to share your film, it will them kick off a domino effect. An Instagram campaign with the right tags and post times can create a buzz, especially within the #shortfilm #indiefilmmakers #filmmakers hashtags.

We hope this is helpful to you, feel free to give us a shout here and remember there are NO barriers to filmmaking, get out there and tell your story!

P.s find out here how to get your film funded!

The top 5 starter cameras for beginner filmmakers

A Canon EOS 2000D
A shot into the horizon

Canon EOS 2000D

Why this DSLR?

This camera is ideal for any newbie to filmmaking. It’s easy to use functioning and crisp picture can really get some amazing footage. It’s definitely one of my favourites, the auto-focus is brilliant and aperture mechanism is easy to use for anyone new to filmmaking. Get those shots out there and don’t forget to get a high-quality SD card to capture as much as you can. Need a script? check out our advice on writing that compelling first script.

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500

Why the Nikon D3500?

This camera is definitely underrated, the functionality of the camera is incredible for a beginner filmmaker and stabilisation is great. The only downfall is the battery drains quite quick so make sure you buy an extra battery or two if it’s an especially long day of filming (but I would advise that with all cameras). Overall it’s easy to use, excellent stability and crisp footage – definitely one of the best we have used.

Canon EOS 4000D

Why this DSLR?

This is an entry-level camera which is a great starting point for beginners. The camera has wi-fi capability, as well as the quick menu, which makes it easier to adjust the settings and get the shot you need. The spec of this camera is great, 18MP and a range of aperture settings. The downfall is no touchscreen but it’s not the end of the world as they have spent the money elsewhere in creating a better spec camera which is ultimately better than a touchscreen.

Overall this is one of the better DSLRs for anyone starting out in the filmmaking world. You get crystal clear shots, gathering that smooth video for those different angles. An overall great experience, one we recommend.

Filmmaking with a Gimbal

K-70 Pentax 

Why this DSLR?

The K-70 Pentax model is weather resistant, rugged and has integral Steadicam features to get the smoothest cinematography. It is easy to use and the functioning of the camera is great for beginners, easy to use and feels a lot like a point and shoot camera. But with incredible technology ranging from the 3.0-inch, vari-angle screen to the APS-C CMOS sensor with 24.2MP video capability.

This camera is up there with the best, here is a quick overview for you: View Tutorial

A reel of film

 

And finally…

Nikon D5300 DSLR Camera in Black

Why the Nikon? You ask. Well, we tell you here:

This camera is a smooth easy to use DSLR, with an incredible performing sensor and a
high-res vari-angle screen. The smoothness of filming is excellent and the autofocus allows you to get some incredible footage. Robust and hardy it is great for a first-timer looking to get their material shot, one downfall is the special effects which for some reason only work on JPEG not film, but to be honest none of that is relevant if you are going to be editing the film post-production.

That’s a wrap! Hopefully, you can find value in this and any outstanding questions, whack them over here – we will follow up and help you out.