How to Produce Your First Feature Film or Short Film.
A question I get asked often is How to Produce Your First Feature Film or short film? This can be intimidating, it was for me when I produced and directed my first film BROKEN (Watch it FREE on Amazon Prime). Here are some of the questions I asked when producing my first film:
- How do you get the locations I need?
- How many shooting days can I really afford?
- How do I “back into” a budget?
- How do I create a reverse budget?
- Do I need shooting permits?
- How do I get production insurance?
- Where do I get my crew?
Since I had never really produced anything longer than a 30 sec commercial, producing a 20 minute film seemed like climbing Mt. Everest. Luckily I had Jorge Rodriguez, a great producer who also acted as my line producer on the project.
He was able to breakdown everything and create the reverse budget. A reverse budget is simply starting with a number, lets say eight thousand dollars, then creating a budget that fits into that $8000 box.
Traditional budgets are created based on the script while a reverse budget is created based on a top budget number i.e.: $8000. This technique allowed me to create my first few projects on the money I had available.
It worked for Robert Rodriguez.
One tip I can give you when producing a low budget film is to use what you have access to. Director Robert Rodriguez famously said that:
“I had some guns, a bathtub, a small Mexican town, a dog and turtle. I wrote all of these things into my script for El Mariachi. It was the only way I could make it for such a low budget.”
Take a look at the video below and listen to producer Jorge Rodriguez explain how to “back into” a indie film budget. Good luck and keep shooting!
Take a look at Anatomy of a Killer Stunt. It goes BTS of how we did some really cool stunts in our films.
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