Hey, Filmmaker! You Don’t Need Money.
You Need An Idea You Can Afford
There’s a saying that if you give someone a million dollars they’re suddenly a filmmaker, and the idea here is that filmmaking is an art form that is very much dependent on having money.
In other words, "Those that have the money can call themselves filmmakers."
Sadly, this is why the industry isn’t filled with the most talented so much as it is with those who were able to find money for their films.
But, there is a growing argument against the notion that money is all that’s lacking to make us filmmakers.
Having existed in the independent film arena (as a Filmmaker) for almost 30 years, and having helped shepherd emerging filmmakers (as an Educator) for just as long, I have come to notice a commonality with filmmakers attempting to get their features and or short films launched.
That commonality is that they’ve developed and written something they can’t afford.
A Limitless Yet Limiting Imagination
There is no truer statement than to say that most filmmakers are limited only by their own imaginations.
So, why must you produce that period piece set in the 1700’s when you can’t afford wardrobe and locations to fit the time period? Why can’t you go back to the drawing board and design something based on and around your limitations.
As an example, I know a friend who owns a cabin and would probably let me film there for free. I also know a friend who is heavily into electronics and has mountains of computer frames, boards, wires and lights in his garage. This friend would allow me to use those electronics as props for a film.
So, instead of my period piece film that’s going to cost me money I don’t have, I could write a new story that’s set in a remote cabin and involves technology; specifically computers. I bet if I asked every one of you creatives reading this to come up with an idea based around these two things, you could do that.
Why not follow that formula for yourself and write something based around your strengths?
We’ve all read the articles about fund raising through friends and clever ways of crowd funding. We’ve also read articles about how to get things for next to nothing.
But, I’ve yet to read an article that tackles the subject of film funding from a sensible, doable perspective using the advice I am sharing now.
Write Within Your Means
In the end you only need money because you failed to develop an idea that can be produced within your means.
So, whether you have $10, $100, $1,000 or $10,000 to spend – look at the assets you have access to and write a script based around them.
Then use what little money you can save to feed your small cast and crew. With a film school education, a movie can be made with a phone.
The only thing stopping you are your ideas.
About the Author
Doug Schulze is an award winning independent filmmaker and Cofounder/ CEO of the Motion Picture Institute.