How to make a movie on a shoestring budget

Dec 19 2017, 8:35 pm

So you’re an aspiring filmmaker and have that next big idea. Problem is, you don’t have a very big budget to work with. There’s a few things you can do to help you along the path of glory, and STORYHIVE‘s new season of funding might be exactly the break you’re looking for.

While you’re at it, follow along as Nicole creates her very first web series, one awkward interview at a time. In Episode 1, she interviews independent filmmaker Scooter Corkle, who shares the secret DIY power of watermelons, flashlights and tinfoil.

1. Gather your team

From creative directors to cinematographers to editors, there are so many roles and specializations in the movie-making business. Figure out what you can do competently, and what you’d rather someone else to take on. BC’s booming film economy means that there are plenty of talented people in your local community, many of whom would love to be part of an indie film. Join meetups, check out industry networking groups, and check out STORYHIVE’s Creators Directory to find likely collaborators.

2. Refine your pitch

You’re only as good as your pitch, and today’s one-sheets live online. Take the time to figure out what you hope to tell with your story, and what makes it unique. Perhaps plotting out a tentative cast for character-driven narratives, or defining the subject matter in non-fiction documentaries. Providing as much detail as possible, perhaps with the the help of teaser videos or artwork/photos, can help your audience imagine what the end result might look like. STORYHIVE’s pitch process makes a microsite for your film, which can be useful in displaying everything at-a-glance. Read more about it here.

3. Create a budget

Are you clear about your ask? Just like an elevator pitch for a new company, funders and distributors are looking for a game plan. Do your research – what facets of production and post-production will you need to satisfy every part of your film’s vision and execution? How much do these services add up to your bottom line? Are you able to get any of it sponsored in-kind? As part of your STORYHIVE pitch, a detailed ask breakdown will be required to help justify your costs to your audience and the panel of judges.

4. Identify funding sources

How will you go about funding your film or short? Will it be from grants, loans, or private investment? Kickstarter or Indiegogo? The possibilities are both endless and confusing. Government funded organizations like Creative BC can be a great place to start your research. If you’re going after grants and investment, be careful to read the fine print about what you might be giving away – ownership in your film is a common item of discussion. For loans, scrutinize payment terms and interest rates. STORYHIVE’s grants allow you to retain 100% ownership of your film, while guaranteeing distribution on Telus Optik TV. Pretty sweet! Read more about it in the FAQ section.

The second season of STORYHIVE sees the top 15 pilots from Metro Vancouver and Victoria to each receive a $10,000 production grant plus distribution on Telus Optik TV On Demand. More information on the STORYHIVE website.


Feature image: Filmmaking clapperboard via Shutterstock

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