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All the Grit, None of the Glam: 10 Tips for a Micro-Budget Film

"The Big Ask"

How do you produce a killer feature film on a micro-budget?  Jennifer Westin gives 10 tips on Indiewire.  

1.  Have a crazy good script that is meant for micro - This means skipping out on big budget special effects and zooming in on human quirks and story telling.  

2.  Live where you shoot - Assigning a "home base" for most of the shoot eliminates all that pesky travel and set up time.  

3.  But you've gotta get out - Make sure to shoot in a few different locations, or as many as possible within reason.  Otherwise the budget will drive the film and could kill the story.

4.  Shoot in stores during business hours - You won't have to pay for lost business revenue and you never know what the ambiance might add to the scene.  It's a good idea to get permission first.

5.  Get a great cast - A well-known, well-loved does it's marketing for you.  

6.  Make it look real - Today's low cost, high quality camera make it possible for a polished feel on a dime.  Make it look like a movie.

7.  Hire micro-savvy cast and crew - Having creative workers on set used to considering budget constraints will help the process run smoothly.  If you must splurge, splurge on sound.  

8.  Figure out how you and your crew will pay personal bills -  Filmmaking takes time and personal finances are important.

9.  Know what to outsource - Budget filmmakers are DIY but it's important to hire experts when necessary, like a lawyer.

10.  Keep enough cash for the release - Setting a little money aside for marketing, festival application, or promotion traveling costs for your casts can go a long way.

One last tip:  Hire folks you enjoy working with.  Life is short and a profit is never guaranteed.