Many young filmmakers say: ‘I’m ready to make my film but first I need to get the money.‘ Dear writer, actor, director, producer: That is not true. You don’t have to get the money first. It’s possible to make a movie that people will love, with zero money.
It’s true that shooting the first film, most of the time is an exhausting and, on many occasions, an improbable thankless odyssey. It’s really not like one day one wakes up, decides to make a film and just makes it.
Cinema is, together with architecture, surely, the art that requires more economic resources, have more bureaucratic requirements and uses larger amounts of equipment, which makes it easier for the road to be littered with film corpses.
The FAQs that harass the filmmakers are: How to start? Where to get enough money? If the machinery of the industry is a hostile medium for consecrated directors, how can it not be for the ones who try, for the first time, to put their heads in the water? Keep reading and discover how to start filming that movie or short that you have in mind with what you have on hand.
Decide That You Are Going to Make a Movie, Whatever Happens
A truly motivated filmmaker sets a date, coordinates his team and that day begins to shoot, with the resources and people who are available, keep in mind that not even Spielberg is exempt from setbacks and yet he doesn’t stop filming.
Ask, Offer, Repeat
Ask whoever is around you, everyone, what you need. Don’t stop asking. Yes, with humor, grace and courtesy. Don’t feel pity about it. Ask and ask and you will find what you are looking for. From cameras, to lighting equipment, to sound, to costumes, to props, to food. Just ask.
But also, offer something in return. Always think about what the other person might need. Maybe whoever offers himself as a production assistant just wants to see how a movie is made. Maybe they want to start their catering business and they need experience and a mention in your social networks. These are all real examples that can help you film practically for free.
Always Say Yes
When you don’t have money, you will be able to make your film the moment you say yes to any opportunity/favor/gift/volunteer that crosses your path. Think: Can your scene be developed in your neighbor’s kitchen instead of a park (for which you need a permit)? Can the costumes of your characters be more flexible? If the answer is affirmative, do it! If you don’t have money, equipment, studies or even technical support, your job is to accept any camera/microphone/breakfast/location/free staff that crosses you. Only then will you achieve your goal.
Appreciation = Enthusiasm = More Help for Your Film
When you show gratitude, people feel more motivated to help. You can always offer those people who have lent a bit of their time or resources to help you, an opportunity to have a good time and even give them a small credit. Remember them if you get to Sundance.
Get the Money on the Road
Obviously there can be many and varied financial needs, during the shooting, that’s true.The important thing is to start and keep track of expenses, especially if you ask for a loan, however small it is. Also, is a smart idea to have a small amount saved for contingencies, which you can get through sponsors or crowdfunding tools.