Low Budget Filmmaking: Finish Your Movie | A Complete Guide | Film in Flame | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Low Budget Filmmaking: Finish Your Movie | A Complete Guide

teacher avatar Film in Flame, Filmmaking Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Make a List

    • 3. Two + Two

    • 4. Get Technical

    • 5. Equipment

    • 6. Sound

    • 7. Lighting

    • 8. Composition

    • 9. Camera Movements

    • 10. Casting

    • 11. Location

    • 12. On the Set

    • 13. Final Words

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Filmmaking, the dream of cinema, and making movies can feel out of reach sometimes. Cause you may live in a small town, and everything about making films is happening far far away. That's why Kevin Smith once said: "To become a filmmaker you should have a reasonable amount of unreasonability."

This class teaches you to be kind of unreasonable; in a way that if you are interested in making a movie, you go and make one no matter where you are or how much money you have.

Low budget film making is a game of creative problem solving. And many filmmakers have been solving similar and different problems for decades. I gathered the experiences of some of the greatest low budget filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez, John Cassavetes, Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Kevin Smith and etc; organized them and put them in this class.

This class is filled with practical tips and tricks for keeping the budget low while maintaining a decent quality. These tips and tricks are about all the different aspects of the film making process; like:

  • Coming Up with Ideas
  • Storytelling
  • Getting Equipment
  • Sound
  • Lighting
  • Mise-en-scene
  • Decoupage
  • Casting
  • Working on the Set

You may have been interested in film making but haven't tried it because you thought it’s such a big production. Yes. It’s such a big production when you make a big production out of it! So, don’t! Refuse to spend any money. And see how much you can do with your creativity.

That's it. I hope you enjoy this class :)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Film in Flame

Filmmaking Teacher


Film in Flame is an online film magazine which is interested in films that are in flames.

We have such great passion for filmmaking that it makes us smile as large as the half-moon. We love great editings, big emotions, and the moments when you can feel the heat of genius in a film.

We study great masters; and here, we are to share what we’ve learned from them with you. We are willing to teach you all the aspects of filmmaking. Of course, that isn’t possible! Cause many things can’t be learned on a phone or in front of a computer. You gotta get your hands dirty in the work. But we’re gonna try our best to give you the primary knowledge so you can do the rest.

I hope you like our contents, and I wish you good luck.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Trailer: In this class you're going to learn that if you are interested in making a movie, how Django and make war. This class is filled with practical tips and tricks for keeping the budget low while keeping a decent quality. These steps on Tregs or about all the different aspects of the filmmaking process. From coming up with a film ideas to finding the right location, lighting, casting air much more. Some are interested in filmmaking, but don't try it because they think it's such a big production. Yes, it's such a big production when you make your big production arrow it. So don't refuse to Smith anybody and see how much you can do with your creativity. You can have a lot of fun and do some really cool stuff in your backyard with a few props. Now that you know what this class is about, less began. 2. Make a List: Creativity is not just about coming up with ideas, because the ideas should work. If he come with movie ideas, debts, you can get made. Well, what's the use of there? When he come up with an idea at some point you're going to ask yourself, is budget problem? If yes, you gotta come up with a new idea. So don't waste your time anymore as CIDR realistic limitation for yourself before coming up with the film ideas, look around you. What do you have around you? Make a list of what you have access to, objects, actors, locations, equipments, props, everything, write them all down in a list and try to make him movie around them. Do you have a dog making a movie about your dog? Your best friend is a musician. Make a film about music. Robert Rodriguez famously wrote the movie el Mariachi for what he had listed. When he did El Mariachi, he had a turtle, he had a guitar case. He had a small town, and he made a movie around that. So again, make a list of what you have available because knowing your limitation helps you both financially and creatively. In the next lecture, we will see how an approach to storytelling is gonna save you lots of money. 3. Two + Two: Human beings are naturally problem-solvers. A great way of storytelling is to make the Aryan solve problems. Leaving the audience with something to figure out. In this stage needs you give the audience enough clues to make them put things together and get to a conclusion that keeps them engaged and care about the story. This is called the unifying theory of two plus two, famously mentioned by Andrew Stanton. He said, don't give the audience for, give them two plus two. Which is a great creative way of storytelling. But I figured it's also a great way to keep the budget low. Here is a simple example. 4. Get Technical: A filmmaker is not just an artist, it's also a craftsman. You should get technical. This is crucial for low budget film making. Of course, filmmaking is usually a collaborative process, but tried to learn to do everything you can in this field. You don't need to become a professional in all bar. If you have a basic knowledge about something, many times, you can get the job done. So first, you will save money, such and you can continue to project even when you don't have the right people available. This will help you to fill the holes in your crew and make the movie made. Third later, when he do have the right people available, you will be able to communicate with them better when you know about their jobs. So if he get technical, very li, a lot more possibility for you to actually finish your movie. If you're creative, you're lucky. If you also get technical, you will be unstoppable. Okay? 5. Equipment: He can afford to buy good cameras. You're not alone. Most people can't, but you can't run them from trusted websites, right? We'll still, there is something to consider. Sometimes employing people is more efficient than renting gear. Why? Because sometimes the people you employ have their own gears. Whether it's a sound recording is a cinematographer or anyone. You can rent a camera, uses yourself and lose an amount of concentration for actually directing the movie. Origin employers, cinematographer who has a camera, sometimes for the same amount of money to do it for you, more professionally, a person to collaborate with, so you can get much better results. We can also find a friend who owns a camera on borrowed from hair. You can tell her that because of her kindness, she will be considered as one of the producers of your low budget film. 6. Sound: Sound is super-important in the sensation that the film creates. You can get away with low video quality, but low sound quality makes your field on watchable. So this is a rule. You should try to maintain high-quality sound, no matter watts. If you are a good dialogue writer and you have access to actors who are able to save those dialogues, then a dialog driven film can be the perfect choice for you to keep the budget low. And I say it's warfare to invest your money and sound equipment so he can record dialogues onset. But what if he can't afford your recording high-quality sound onset? Well, to maintain the highest quality you can get, you should record all the sounds separately and add them to the video later. You can use your phones or cameras built-in microphone to record all the sounds you need for your movie and add them to the video later. These microphones have record better sounds when they are close to a sound sources. But you can't rely on them for recording sounds onset because they might not be close enough to the actors or other sound sources of your scene to record good sound quality. They can also be really noisy if you are filming and outdoor scene. Rod Rodriguez dubbed he's El Mariachi movie. He recorded all the dialogues letter and put them on the actor's moving their mouse. This also had been done at the beginning of cinema, had a many Italian films, all of the 60s to eighties. But if you can't afford sound equipments, I say try to avoid making a dialogue German film, instead make a film that rely more on visual storytelling. 7. Lighting: Beautiful photography's capturing good light. So good lighting is essential for getting a beautiful image. The lighting also gives a certain moods your scene and it's a great tool for storytelling. There are many professional portable lies that are inexpensive and can come handy for your production. And if you don't have the budget to buy professional lights, you can make them yourselves with even lower costs. And I encourage you to do so. There are plenty of instructions in the Internet. But the best friend of a low budget film is natural light. If you want your scenes to be, Let's bots, you don't have money to light your scene professionally. Let the sun do it for you. And if you want your shots to be beautiful, learn how to use natural light. You should learn the nature of lights, how it spreads, how it reflects, how it changes color, the different kinds of shadows it makes and more. What do you are using natural light? And there are gonna be many scenarios where you need to fill in lights, create negative fill, or add a splash of light in the background. And if we don't have any other lights, your only options are reflectors and flags. You should learn the nature of lights so you can use the natural light with a better strategy. If you want to shoot an exterior scene with a natural light tried to shoot during blue hour and magic hour. The trick is to utilize these two times of day for different purposes. Blue hours, the short window of time after the sun goes down or before it comes up, where the skies is still colorful, but the sun is invisible. Blue hour is ideal when you need to shoot a short nighttime scene, but don't have any lights. And magic hour, of course is d Our leading up to sunset or just after sunrise. Magic hour is really great for scenes debts you would normally shoot in the daytime. It will simply makes your life easier by providing a very soft, warm, natural lights that will make your scene glow and feel magical. Both of these times of day are ideal for shooting as the national quality of light, outside adapt sign, just can't be beat. Remember, when you are planning to use natural light, preparation is the key. You're going to shoot in a parking lot. You need to go there beforehand and see how the light hits that parking lot at every hour. And since the time of good natural light is limited, the only way you're going to be able to get what you need to get is to have your actors perfectly rehearsed. I've been in situations where we have a 15 minutes until we lose all light from the sun and the actors aren't prepared yet. So again, preparation is the key. If you are shooting and exterior or interior scene at night. Practicals are your friends here. Practicals are the lies that are visible in the shot. They can be light's coming out from a store and they can be streetlights, car lights, bedside lamp, candlelight, lights of a flashlight, and et cetera. Be a smart with them in your scene. You may want to use something as simple as a lamp position statically, next your actor to give them a key light. 8. Composition: When you are making a really low budget movie, you probably don't have the money to highly decorated a scene to make the most beautiful of shots. So finding a good composition of what you have available can be really helpful to get more beautiful shots. So move around with under camera to find the best compositions to assure by changing your camera position, camera angle, and camera lens the way find an original view of your subject and new original views or always exciting and attractive for getting familiar with good compositions. Check these other classes of mine out. 9. Camera Movements: Another way you can give life to your visuals is to use camera movements or having moving subjects in your shot. Take your camera off the tripod and use your hands. It's better get some energy to your frail. That's the good thing about first fails. They have so much life has so much energy. Big productions can't even duplicate the energy you have because they've got two good stance, have too much crew and everything is really smooth and polished, that it's lifeless. Add life to your film by getting rid of the fancy stuff. Seated in a wheelchair, push yourself around, embrace the lightness of your camera and the amount of control you have on making your first fails for learning the basic camera movements. You check this other class of mine out. 10. Casting: It's hard to get experienced actors with low budget. So you should either worked with non-active errors or you have to try your best to get the experienced actors. I will give you tips for doing both non actors. If you can't get someone who is talented enough to act the character, you can find someone whose characteristics or close to those which to charge your in your script as if you want to cast some water as a serious boss, find someone who has a dominant character. If you need someone to play a taxi driver in your scripts, you can cast surreal taxi driver. He's playing it. Taxi driver everyday. Experienced actors. To get the experienced actors with no budget, he needed a good reputation. These actors like to watch and make great films just like you. They have the same ambition as you have. And if you are a filmmaker with a good reputation, they may like to work with you anyways, even on a very tight budget. But what if you don't have a repeat station? What if you're a beginner and they don't know you, then you should earn their trust with every little movie of age. If you do everything very professionally, you may attract their attention so they would take you more seriously. Do it your way. But here is a great tip. Make an invitation posts or ascended to them, whether digital or prints, make it beautiful and well-designed so they can trust your aesthetics. If it's ugly, awkward, hard to read, confusing has an unclear call to action and audience, looks unprofessional and doesn't inspire confidence. Don't expect any response either. Make sure to answer actors questions in the invitation before they ask them. The more questions you leave on answered that allow them to know whether they are available for your project, available for the audition, and wants to try out for a role. The less likely they are to submit. Because they will now have to take extra time to reach out to you and ask the question you left on answer. This is simply a practical matter that you must make easy for them to figure out. Identify whether a project is paid or unpaid. Don't be misleading. This goes back to your reputation and integrity. Yes. If you put on paid or volunteer or credit only, some people simply won't submit. That's a reality of casting actors for low budget fails. However, you can make your film appear as enticing as possible by telling them exactly what they will get and not leaving it to their imagination. And make it very clear what you will give them if it's paid at paid or paid same-day to compensation. But do not specify an amount as you are willing to pay a more experienced actor more and a less experienced one or a smaller role lists. It should earn their trust, grab their attention. You should make them feel you are a serious filmmaker. Actors makes your movie come alive, knew this and respect them. You can't do it without them. Whether you're working with experienced actors or not actors, you should always have their badge. Don't consider your movie, just your movie. Accept that It's a collaboration and the movies made by all of you share credits and ownership. Use their ambition both for your advantage and verse. If you share credits and ownership, there's going to be more chance they would work for you with no money. 11. Location: When you don't have money to build the environment for your movie, Finding the right locations is very helpful. Shooting on location can be significant advantage as you will have to do minimal said walking, merely dressing. When you are choosing locations, consider these things. First, tried to use locations so you don't need to spend extra money or don't need any permission. Always try and get permission to shoot wherever you intend to be. If you do foresee problems, it is best to shoot and get out as quick as possible. If someone turns up to find out what is happening, try and get them interested and involved. Second, forget difficult locations. Getting to and from difficult locations can be very costly in terms of time. One hour traveling is one our list shooting. Also facilities for the crew on location can be a problem. Your crew needs a place to eat and seed, as well as a toilet. Third, try to keep your locations limited if you can't. Don't use too many locations because it's got to be very hard to schedule hand every new place means new problems. Instead, think creatively, many locations can double for several different parts of your story. This will minimize the time you waste moving between places. Fourth, final location, which have good natural light, scout the location completely so you can use it very wisely. Find the best angles. Look for the opportunities for beautiful shots that add to your story. Fifth, film crews trash locations. So make sure to clean up after yourself, leave Marty Booth, Southside banned smoking inside and et cetera. Remember, you may need to return to their location if there's a problem. So leave a good reputation for yourself. 12. On the Set: Be organized. The last thing you wanna do when you're walking with a very low budget is two ways. Your cruise time out of irresponsibility and lack of organization. So be organized, rehearse the lighting camera movements and dialogues if you can. Try to be efficient, be flexible. When you're making a low budget film, you may face many problems so you don't get the shoddy want. Of course, you should always protect the image you want if possible, but sometimes it's not possible or it's the most inefficient to protect that image. Something that is stopping you from your goal may make you come up with a better idea than the original. 13. Final Words: As you saw, low-budget film making is all about problem-solving, is when you make the obstacle your way, you try to bring everything forward so you can finish your fell. Thank you for watching this class. Make sure to leave a review so others can make a better decision about this class and follow Freeman flame for more classes on ours have filmmaking. I'll leave you with a list of great low budget film so you can watch and get inspired. Well, good luck. Hello.