IFH 222: How to Shoot and Sell a $5000 Micro Budget Feature Film with Claudia Pickering

How to Shoot and Sell a $5000 Micro-Budget Feature Film with Claudia Pickering

Today’s guest is writer/director/actor/producer Claudia Pickering. She recently wrote and directed the feature film “Frisky” for just $5000. I wanted to have her on the show to discuss the tricks of the trade when making a feature for such a low budget. The film has also played at countless film festivals and won a ton of awards. Check out the trialer below.

Two twenty-somethings move to San Francisco to chase their career but end up chasing tail instead.

When two twenty-something women move back to San Francisco, where they had met on exchange years earlier, their high career aspirations quickly become sidelined by their sexual interests. While wildly crass and charismatic in their public personas, they are in fact fundamentally at odds on many levels. Their opposing beliefs surrounding responsibility and romance, combined with their close quarters while crashing in an acquaintance’s living room, find them thrust onto a fast track to discovering what their friendship is really made of. Based on true events, Frisky is an honest, tongue-in-cheek look at what it is to be a woman in the limbo years between college and “the real world”.


★★★★  “This fearless, fun comedy offers a welcome female take on twentysomethings finding themselves amid aimless drifting, partying and hook-ups, its simple story bolstered by a sharp script and charismatic comedic turn from writer/director Claudia Pickering.” – Empire Magazine

Here’s some info on Claudia:

Claudia Pickering’s comedy filmmaking career began with acting which lead to writing comedy sketches… and they just kept getting longer. To be more specific, it began when she and her mate Anna convinced Danny Trejo – movie star, ex-convict and face of Old El Paso – to perform a Backstreet Boys-style dance under a dimly-lit bridge. They did not ask the 65-yr old to take off his shirt, he did that all on his own as they evidently have that effect on people.

Since then, International film festivals have showered her two feature films Frisky and Winning Formula with official selections and awards, which is a nice change from when she and her mate Tori used to steal stickers in first grade and wear them on their school uniform collars as though they had been legitimately awarded them.

It surprised the pants off Pickering when Frisky was distributed by Madman and optioned by Jungle Entertainment to create a TV show, which is handy as she is likely to be pantsless for a large portion of the show itself. She did manage to keep her pants on, if you can call yoga tights pants, while directing the Resting Pitch Face webseries for Google and is currently in development on 3 features through her company Cliff House Productions with mixed pants status. One of her extracurriculars includes running the Freshflix Film Festival in Sydney (Vivid) and Los Angeles (AiF) which is mostly just an excuse to take photos at the media wall to update her LinkedIn profile.

The above projects have allowed her to avoid the field of Architecture in which she holds a Masters degree – a method superior to holding her breath until she faints, which was her avoidance tactic of choice up until about age three.

Claudia Pickering’s Tips For Budget Filmmaking

  • Use Craigslist to advertise for cast and crew, also ask your network.
  • Offer profit share for people to work for free.
  • Use the majority of your budget for post-production sound and color.
  • Offer bigger credits for those working for free
  • Do most of the dirty work yourself.

Enjoy my conversation with Claudia Pickering.

Right-click here to download the MP3 
Download on iTunes Direct
Watch on IFH YouTube Channel



  1. BlackBox – Make Passive Income From Your Footage
  2. Studio Unknown Audio Post –  Mention the IFH podcast, and you’ll receive 50% off one day of ADR
  3. Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons 
  4. Martin Scorsese Film Directing Masterclass
  5. Ron Howard Film Directing Masterclass
  6. Judd Apatow Comedy Writing/Directing Masterclass
  7. Aaron Sorkin Screenwriting Master Class
  8. FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)


  1. IFH MASTERS CIRCLE – Filmmaking Community
  2. IFH’s Online Film School
  3. Six Secrets to get into Film Festivals for FREE!

Action Items:

BONUS: Filmmaking Resources

If you liked How to Shoot and Sell a $5000 Micro-Budget Feature Film with Claudia Pickering,
then you’ll love: 

Joshua Caldwell, Josh Caldwell, Layover, Nervous, Being Somebody, South Beach, Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF, RESIGNATION, Dig, Negative, Micro budget film
Joshua Caldwell, Josh Caldwell, Layover, Nervous, Being Somebody, South Beach, Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF, RESIGNATION, Dig

Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship
Liz Manashil, Bread and Butter, Bobby Moynihan, Lauren Lapkus, Saturday Night Live, SNL, The Orchid


Enjoyed How to Shoot and Sell a $5000 Micro Budget Feature Film with Claudia Pickering? Please share it in your social networks (FacebookTwitter, email etc) by using social media buttons at the side or bottom of the blog. Or post to your blog and anywhere else you feel it would be a good fit. Thanks.

I welcome thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the comments section below…

Get Social with Indie Film Hustle:
Facebook: Indie Film Hustle

Twitter: @indiefilmhustle 
Instagram: @ifilmhustle

YouTube: Indie Film Hustle TV
Podcast: IFH Podcast
Podcast: Film Festival Hacks Podcast
IFH: Filmmaking Hacks

Please note some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase or use a service. Understand that I have experience with all of these services, products, and companies, and I recommend them because they’re extremely helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I earn if you decide to buy something. Thx u! 





Leave a Comment