Cost-efficient Filmmaking

glennGuest Blogger: Glenn Berggoetz, author of The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide, helps out filmmakers with tips for smart budgeting and more on his blog.

 

Spend Your Filmmaking Money Wisely

I spoke with another filmmaker recently and found out that she spent well over $10,000 to make a six-minute short film. I haven’t seen this film, and it might be quite good, maybe fantastic, but had I met this filmmaker last year, I would have talked with her about a different way to make films. A more efficient, cost-effective way.

There are so many ways to trim your expenses when making a film. Don’t bring in a lighting expert. Don’t worry about gaffers, key grips, make-up artists, and a whole host of other crew members – I typically have a crew of three that consists of the director of photography doing the filming, a guy to hold the boom, and me. Sometimes it’s just two of us – the guy with the camera and me with the boom. It’s not glamorous, but it gets the job done.

With the more than $10,000 this filmmaker spent to make her short film, I could have made five to seven feature films (my feature film The Worst Movie EVER! was made for $1,100 and received a theatrical release).

If you want to learn about the dozens of ways you can go about saving money on a shoot so you too can make a feature film for a small amount of money, buy my book The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2,000, and you’ll be well on your way to making your next (or maybe first) film in an efficient, economical manner.

Check out Glenn Berggoetz’s blog!

The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Future Film for $2,000

Award-winning independent filmmaker Glenn Berggoetz shares all he knows about making a marketable feature film for $2,000. While most books on independent filmmaking talk about how to make a film with a budget of anywhere from $50,000 to half a million dollars or more, the reality of the indie film world is that most filmmakers rarely have more than a few thousand dollars at their disposal for making their film. This book is written specifically for those filmmakers, and for filmmakers who would typically waste years trying to raise tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their film simply because they’re not aware that there’s another, more efficient way to go about it.

Filmmakers: The Editing Process

glennGuest Blogger: Glenn Berggoetz is the author of The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2000 (Limelight Editions). Visit his blog for more great tips!

 

One of the toughest parts of being a filmmaker, if you don’t do the editing of your films yourself, is waiting to see how the final edit of one of your films will turn out.  Tomorrow I’m meeting with editor Erik Lassi to watch the first full-length rough edit of our film Midget Zombie Takeover.  I’m quite excited!

There are pros and cons to having someone else edit your film.  The major con is that you relinquish some control over your film, which can be a bit worrisome.  With my film Evil Intent the initial editor of the film didn’t have his heart in the project, and when I viewed the final edit, the film was bad.  I thought I had simply written and directed a bad film, but I was convinced by a friend to have someone else edit it, so I did, and the second  edit of the film was completely different, and quite good!  We now have a distributor for the film and a tentative cable TV deal for it.

The major pro to having someone else edit your film is that they can add extra insights and humor (assuming you’re doing a comedy) to the film.  When Alan Dague-Greene edited our films The Worst Movie EVER! and To Die is Hard he added in dozens of little humorous touches to the films that I’d never considered.  His fresh pair of eyes made both films much better than if I had decided to edit them myself.

So consider having someone else edit your films.  It can bring fresh material to the project, plus it allows you more time to move on to writing and shooting your next film.

More Tips from Glenn
The pay off for your efforts
There are very few days off for a filmmaker
The editing process
Be creative to land your screenings
Do something every day

Award-winning independent filmmaker Glenn Berggoetz shares all he knows about making a marketable feature film for $2,000. While most books on independent filmmaking talk about how to make a film with a budget of anywhere from $50,000 to half a million dollars or more, the reality of the indie film world is that most filmmakers rarely have more than a few thousand dollars at their disposal for making their film. This book is written specifically for those filmmakers, and for filmmakers who would typically waste years trying to raise tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their film simply because they’re not aware that there’s another, more efficient way to go about it.

Filmmakers: The Pay Off for Your Efforts

glennGuest Blogger: Glenn Berggoetz is the author of The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2000 (Limelight Editions). Visit his blog for more great tips!

 

While small-budget filmmaking like I do might seem as if it’s dooming the filmmaker to anonymity, it certainly doesn’t have to.

This past summer we shot two films, and for $2000 we made the film “Midget Zombie Takeover.”  We’re planning to have the finished edit of “Midget Zombie Takeover” ready in January.  But even though the finished edit is months away, we’ve already booked the film into two theaters and heard from an international distribution company that’s interested in acquiring distribution rights to the film.

Small-budget filmmaking does not have to be bad filmmaking.  The keys to making a good film are to have a great script and a handful or so of talented cast and crew members who can make you look like you know what you’re doing.  You can have all of these things on a small budget.  If you want to learn how you can improve your odds of making a great film on a small budget, purchase my new book that’s just out from Limelight Editions, The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2000. 

More Tips from Glenn
The pay off for your efforts
There are very few days off for a filmmaker
The editing process
Be creative to land your screenings
Do something every day

Award-winning independent filmmaker Glenn Berggoetz shares all he knows about making a marketable feature film for $2,000. While most books on independent filmmaking talk about how to make a film with a budget of anywhere from $50,000 to half a million dollars or more, the reality of the indie film world is that most filmmakers rarely have more than a few thousand dollars at their disposal for making their film. This book is written specifically for those filmmakers, and for filmmakers who would typically waste years trying to raise tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their film simply because they’re not aware that there’s another, more efficient way to go about it.

Filmmakers: Do something every day!

Guest Blogger: Glenn Berggoetz is the author of The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2000 (Limelight Editions). Visit his blog for more great tips!

One of the keys to being successful as an independent filmmaker is to make sure you do at least one thing every single day to advance your career.  That one thing can take many forms.  It might mean jotting down ideas for a script or working on a script.  It might mean lining up cast and crew members for your next film.  It might mean sending out emails to promote you previous films.  Whatever it might be, do it!

In my own case, at this point, since we completed shooting two feature films in the last few months, I’ve been focusing on promoting our previous films, and today we received a big payoff when I found out that our film “The Worst Movie EVER!” will be shown in November at yet another independent theater.  That makes six theaters the film will have played in, and by the time the film screens in November, “The Worst Movie EVER!” will have been making the theatrical rounds for fifteen months.  That’s quite a run.  And with every new theater the film plays in, and with every extra dollar the film brings in at the box office, the chances increase of landing foreign deals, DVD releases, cable deals, etc.

So make sure that every day you do at least one thing to continue your career.  And on those days when you have some extra time on your hands, do five or ten things to advance your career.  You might not be a star overnight, but you will have taken a few more steps along the path toward reaching your goals.

More Tips from Glenn
The pay off for your efforts
There are very few days off for a filmmaker
The editing process
Be creative to land your screenings
Do something every day

Award-winning independent filmmaker Glenn Berggoetz shares all he knows about making a marketable feature film for $2,000. While most books on independent filmmaking talk about how to make a film with a budget of anywhere from $50,000 to half a million dollars or more, the reality of the indie film world is that most filmmakers rarely have more than a few thousand dollars at their disposal for making their film. This book is written specifically for those filmmakers, and for filmmakers who would typically waste years trying to raise tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their film simply because they’re not aware that there’s another, more efficient way to go about it.

Being Flexible and Staying Calm

Guest Blogger: Glenn Berggoetz is the author of The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2000 (Limelight Editions), which will be available wherever books are sold beginning October 2012.

Being flexible and staying calm are just two of the many requirements of small-budget film making.  If we weren’t willing to make adjustments to work around this unavoidable change in plans, the shoot would be dead in the water.  And if we didn’t stay calm and instead allowed ourselves to get bent out of shape over this last-second change, the film wouldn’t get done either.  Or at best, we’d get the film done, but there would be a lot of contentiousness on set that would almost assuredly spill over into the film and sabotage any chaces the film had of being well made.  So no matter what curveballs might get thrown your way in making your indie film, stay calm and find a way to quickly make the necessary adjustments to make sure your film gets made.

More Posts from Glenn:
Writing Your Script
Working Quickly
Try to Avoid This When Filming
Right on Schedule
Finished!

The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2000

Award-winning independent filmmaker Glenn Berggoetz shares all he knows about making a marketable feature film for $2,000. While most books on independent filmmaking talk about how to make a film with a budget of anywhere from $50,000 to half a million dollars or more, the reality of the indie film world is that most filmmakers rarely have more than a few thousand dollars at their disposal for making their film. This book is written specifically for those filmmakers, and for filmmakers who would typically waste years trying to raise tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their film simply because they’re not aware that there’s another, more efficient way to go about it.

Writing Your Script – For Small-Budget Indie Filmmakers

Guest Blogger: Glenn Berggoetz is the author of The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2000 (Limelight Editions), which will be available wherever books are sold beginning October 2012.

This weekend, Glenn shot the small-budget film The Ghosts of Johnson Woods and blogged his way through the process, giving tips to aspiring filmmakers along the way. Visit his blog for more entries.

A couple years ago I had an aspiring filmmaker approach me and tell me he had an idea for a great script that he wanted to turn into his first independent film.  He was very excited, as he should have been.  He then proceeded to ask me if he should set aside a year to write his script.  My answer?  An emphatic “No!”

Indie filmmakers typically think they need to spend a year or more writing their script, and it’s easy to understand why they believe this since the script is the most important aspect of making a good film, because, let’s face it, if your script is lousy, even having Will Ferrell star in the film (rememberLand of the Lost?) won’t be able to save the project.

The fact is, however, that as the maker of small-budget independent films, you have to make more than one film every two or three years to give yourself a legitimate chance to turn your hobby into your livelihood.  So set aside a couple weeks to write your script, then get right into putting together your cast and crew (you can do your re-write during this time).  Next, take a couple weekends to shoot your film, then get your next script written and make your next film.

As a small-budget indie filmmaker, you’re not going to make a masterpiece that film buffs put in the same sentence with Citizen Kane and A Christmas Story.  But if you keep writing one script after another (and make films based off those scripts), you’re going to drastically improve your chances of making that one film that launches your career.

More Posts from Glenn:
Being Flexible and Staying Calm
Working Quickly
Try to Avoid This When Filming
Right on Schedule
Finished!

The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Film for $2000

Award-winning independent filmmaker Glenn Berggoetz shares all he knows about making a marketable feature film for $2,000. While most books on independent filmmaking talk about how to make a film with a budget of anywhere from $50,000 to half a million dollars or more, the reality of the indie film world is that most filmmakers rarely have more than a few thousand dollars at their disposal for making their film. This book is written specifically for those filmmakers, and for filmmakers who would typically waste years trying to raise tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their film simply because they’re not aware that there’s another, more efficient way to go about it.