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Self-Funding and Personal Resources For My Independent TV Show

Updated on May 28, 2017

I personally went to college full time and worked a whole summer to save up money for my own equipment. I previously went to school for filmmaking so I knew what I could work with. I knew a lot about cameras so this helped tremendously. Did I start out to be the techy person I am now? No, in the beginning, I knew what I wanted to do but I had no idea how to do it. When I studied film I learned about the technical sides of cameras so when the time came to buy one I knew what I needed to get. I also learned from trial and error while doing several projects when I was in school. This helped me decide what I would need for my project.

I looked into things such as grants, fundraisers, and loaner equipment. I really didn’t have any luck with that. What I did have is a good team of people around me that were passionate about doing a project. I also had a lot of resources to help me complete my own project. I have friends that are actors and actresses. I also have a spouse who knows a lot about visual effects, motion graphics, and editing.

With what I had saved over the summer I was able to have all my equipment by the beginning of October. I was in preproduction until then. I had over 30 people to cast and I also had locations to lock down. I was able to get the locations because our lead that was also our associate producer worked at a bar. She was able to talk with the owner who allowed us to film on the days the bar was closed. I also had a friend who worked at another bar and we were able to film in that bar. The rest of our locations were at cast members houses.

I quickly called my local film commission to find out what I was legally allowed to do when it came to filming in our town. I was referred to the local film permit office where I was able to get the help I needed. I was able to film without a permit because I was inside and did not require grip trucks. My plan was not to disrupt anyone’s business or bother the tourists. The permit office was very helpful and I saved a lot of money because of my production needs.

When it came time to find a beach I could film on I did run into some problems. One beach wanted a million dollars insurance just for me to drop sticks. Luckily another one of our cast members had a friend that worked for the town hall on another beach. That town opened their arms to us and allowed us to film on their beach without that crazy insurance. We, of course, gave them credit in our independent pilot and everyone was happy.

When it came to casting all of the characters I used a local casting network that didn’t charge us. My casting call was so interesting that backstage and another casting site picked it up. I ended up with a great cast of people who were happy with what I had to offer. All I could offer them was coffee, snacks, headshots, a photo shoot, and credit. In return, I worked very hard at being able to schedule them when they were available to help out. I tried not to be too demanding on my cast.

There are ways to work around your independent film without funding. I self-funded with promises to my cast and crew that I could deliver upon release. I wrote a script that everyone liked. I used my local resources and tried to involve my community as much as possible. During my first production meeting, one member asked what I would do if someone or something tried to stop the production. I said nothing will stop this production it is going to happen. In the end, I did what needed to be done and currently my pilot is on Amazon.

Never give up and keep pushing forward

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