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Making a Zero Budget Movie

Updated on September 4, 2010

A zero budget film

    Create a great movie on a low budget or zero budget by following a few simple guidelines.
    A movie begins with a script and the script determines a time and a place when the story takes place. This leads to finding the proper locations to shoot scenes.
    Locations are one of the key ingredients for bringing a script to life. Every major studio has location scouts and the job description is to find suitable locations for filming scenes in the movie. Keep locations to a minimum; one or two locations are sufficient for a zero budget production. It is important to hold this thought in mind while writing the script. The locations should be within a short driving distance for the film crew and the actors.  
    Always ask the owner of the property for permission to film. Have the owner sign a release agreement that allows the proprietor of the film to hold the exclusive rights to publish images of the property publicly. Release agreements may be found online.
    Actors and actresses are needed to fill the character parts. A good source for actors may be found at the local theater where plays are performed. Almost every town has a community player theater. The Re--enactment Society is a wonderful source for finding actors for period productions. These actors often provide their own costume and props. Release agreements for using an actors image for a movie production are found online.
    Video and sound equipment complete the formula for
creating a zero budget or low budget production. Small inexpensive cameras are suitable for making productions for venues such as youtube. One camera may be used for multiple angles. The sound equipment may be as simple as using the camcorder microphones. The camera may be hand held or mounted on an inexpensive tri pod.
    Additional lighting and power supply becomes a hindrance to the budget when shooting at night. Avoid scenes that take place during the night if the location is isolated. Interior and exterior locations with self contained lighting is acceptable such as street lamps or interior lighting in a room.  
    Editing the movie can be as simple as using Windows Movie Maker. It has basic functions that allows frame by frame editing, one additional sound track, titling, and transitions. Sit down and review the raw footage to attain an EDL or Editing Decision List. This list will determine what scenes will appear in a certain point of time and how long each scene will last.
    One last notation that adds greatly to every movie is music and sound effects. Royalty free music and sound effects that are free can be obtained, but is often scarce. Most companies charge a fee for using royalty free music in a production. Build a personal sound effects library. Sound effects are easy to create using a small inexpensive digital recorder. It is possible to find local musical talent to record a music track for the production.
    Keep the production simple and build up slowly.


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    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 6 years ago from USA

      Thank you htodd. It was a lot of fun shooting the battles scenes and then going back without a script and composing a comprehensive story line.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      That's great ,It is a real budget one..Nice

    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 7 years ago from USA

      This video production was a zero budget movie. All it cost was the time and effort shoot and edit it.