4 Ways to Make a Low Budget Film Look Expensive

You have got your brother’s camera, the 500 dollars your grandma gave you two Christmases ago, and some really talented people. But how do you do it? How do you make a film that looks like a million bucks? No studio execs might mean freedom to create as you please, but it also means no real money behind the project. Here are four cheap ways to make sure your film looks like it cost more than it did.

Find Cheap Props

Some of the best films of all time are great because the director and production designer built the world around the film. You have to do the same but on a much smaller budget. So, look for used items. For instance, your hero ends up in the hospital? Look for used patient monitors for sale, some old tubes, and wires, a cot, and if you shoot it right, you’ve got a makeshift hospital room! If you can find used patient monitors for sale, you can definitely find used and/or old military uniforms and paraphernalia for that war drama you want to shoot next. The stuff is out there, just look for it and ask around. Somebody has precisely what you need to make your movie, and they aren’t charging as much as you think.

Pay Your Crew in Food and Credits

You have seen the credits after your favorite films. No movie is created by one man and one man alone. There are thousands of people involved as it takes a village to make a movie. So you are going to need people and people who are great at what they do. However, you know you can’t afford to pay them all, or maybe not any of them. But it is immoral to have them work for free. So, at the very least, feed them well and be sure they get their names in the credits, especially if they performed more than one duty. Most of the time, people can understand a dream and the need to see it through no matter the cost, but they can’t understand it on an empty stomach and with nothing to show for all their work. Feed them, give them credit. And after your film becomes a huge success, you can pay them for real.

Ask Your City’s Film Commission

The film commission is not just for blockbuster films and well-known directors. There are also resources available to smaller film productions. They may help you find specific crew members, locations, and other supports as you complete your project. The film commission just wants films to be created in their city or state. Therefore, you have to lose nothing but gain everything by reaching out to them if you need anything. At the very least, if they can’t help you, they can put you in contact with someone who can.

Splurge Where it Counts

Not even great directors or an amazing set can fix a bad script or horrible camera work. So, get it right. If you’re not a great writer, find someone who is and actually pay them for their services. Not handy with the camera? Pay someone who is. You don’t have to pay them the standard rate. Try talking them down by explaining how low the budget of your film is. See if they will accept deferred pay. However, you’re able to finesse it, do it. Your film will never look great if you have unintentional shaky camera work and a story that any fourth grader could do. 

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