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Read the full article here: http://www.raindance.org/10-zero-budget-filmmaking-tips/
1. The Story Is Everything
Nothing glues you to the screen more than a good story. If the story is there, does one really care about the budget of the film?
Stories and screenplays have four main elements:
Firstly, your story must have characters with a specific goal. A specific goal is one that can be measured, so at a point in time we can see whether or not the character achieves or fails to achieve the goal. For example, if your character’s goal is to move out of London – this is a weak goal. We all want to leave London. It’s dirty, expensive and increasingly dangerous. But if the goal of your character is to leave London by noon tomorrow, or else… then we have a goal that is easily measured.
Secondly, your story has a setting. The setting can be usual or unusual.
Thirdly, there are the Actions of the main characters and finally what they say, or Dialogue.
The trick of a good storyteller is to weave these four elements together so the seams do not show. When a writer achieves this, we say they have mastered the craft of storytelling. But not necessarily the art of storytelling.
2. Location Location Location
There are two expensive components to a film shoot. Image capture (camera) and the locations.
Moving a cast and crew from location to location is time consuming, and expensive, regardless of your budget.
If you can reduce the amount of location moves, or eliminate them altogether, then you are a huge step closer to reducing your budget.
Locations in this scenario suddenly have a huge impact on the script. To learn how, we need only to look at some of the most interesting films of the last few decades: Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Kevin Smith’s Clerks, Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It , Orin Pelli’s Paranormal Activity and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. These films have one thing in common: limited locations. In fact, they would each make excellent stage plays. The trick, it seems, is to take a bunch of actors to a limited location and chop them up. When you do this, you will essentially be filming a stage play.But a stage play filmed as a stage play is boring. Turn your limited location script (which is essentially a stage play) into a movie successfully, and you will have, what the moguls in Hollywood call, Talent.
3 Image Capture
Choosing the camera that suits your script and your budget is simpler than ever before. Most likely you will be shooting on a digital camera. Two elements of any camera you should look out for are: compression and lenses. Remember that all digital cameras generate the same signal. What influences the image quality are the lenses you film through and the numbers of pixels per frame (compression)
The ultimate no budget camera trick is use a little known fact of British law: security camera footage can be recovered if you have been the victim of a crime. The UK is covered in security cameras, some private and some publically owned. By law, if you suffer a crime, the police will request a copy of the tape from the camera owner.
Recce the CCTV cameras in your neighbor hood, write a screenplay, re-enact a series of ’crimes’ and presto – you will have your movie shot – for absolutely nothing.
It isn’t the look of skin on skin that turns you on in a sex scene. It’s the sound of skin on skin. Professional filmmakers spend much of their time considering and creating the sounds that go with their pictures.
It is a fact too that our brains are wired in such a way that when we need to strain to hear what the actors are saying, the picture goes dim. Good clean sound with interesting effects added in is the quickest way to make your images, even those shot on your mother’s humble video camera, look great.