Let’s have a little chat about budget. Most of you film makers that read this will be pretty broke or have a very small limited budget. You are exactly the person that I write all of this stuff for. It is my goal to help you make your film as cheaply as possible.
So, let’s look at my budget. Almost every year it is the same. I usually receive about $100 for Christmas gifts and usually I may get another $100 in March for my birthday. This is usually my entire budget for my year long film work.
So, I sit down and look at my film objectives and work out where the best spots to spend that amount during the year.
I usually go through the script and find a great prop or costume piece that I realize needs a bit of money spent on it to make it look really nice. It is usually spent on a piece of nice leather or piece of metal. I try to keep these splurges to the minimum, and prefer to have the money to spend on small necessities instead. I have one large bonus from my job. I work as a handyman so I already own construction tools so that is not something I have to buy for my film.
From work I end up with plenty of extra screws, glue, paint and stuff like that. This helps to extend my budget.
But I always on the lookout for things that are thrown out by others or things that are on sale. I shop a lot at thrift stores for costume pieces and fabric. I use old packing styrofoam for set pieces.
I look at the costumes, locations, props and action itself to see if there is something that seems overly expensive for the shot. If I find something that seems to cost too money for the desired effect I may rewrite the shot or put some more time into figuring out another way.
So, to sum up, figure out the large expensive splurges that really would help the film, find work-arounds for things that are not so important, look around for a creative way to get the shot without splurging. Sometimes this means buying something instead of making it. I found a old vase at at flea market for $5. Actually spending the money on it was cheaper than me trying to craft it. But, on the other hand, making a sword out of scrap wood saved me $200 when I did not have to buy it.
So, give yourself plenty of time to find the cheaper option. Always be on the lookout for cheap or free stuff. Be super creative in your work-arounds.
Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.