What are the Lowest Budget Films

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  • What are the Lowest Budget Films

    I was talking with Roy Wagner ASC years ago and he said that the cost of a horror is probably the lowest and if you do a good job on it you can use that to climb up the ladder. I watched "You Get Me" a Netflix Original last night and the scenes were all in a high school class room, a nice home exterior and interior, a short drive in a sports car, the inside of an ambulance, an old small house exterior and small old home bedroom and dinner table, and a hospital room scene. It looked like it was very low budget or at least it could have been depending on who was doing the negotiating I suppose. So, any suggestions on a first flim low budget genre? And, any thoughts about budgeting a first film. Additionally, if you can put yourself in my shoes and understand that I do have some connections but still will be restrained by budgeting a first film as an unproven filmmaker plus having to deal with union rules regarding payscales and budgets for indie filmmakers. .
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  • #2
    I think I should write it as a low budget and keep the locations down to two or three locations, right?
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    • #3
      Why not make it low budget if you are planning on making it yourself. Also SAG has some resources to help out low budget movies.

      I actually just put together a video on how I come up with low budget concept ideas. Maybe it will help.

      https://youtu.be/BsZuP9qzg9g
      Jared Isham
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      • #4
        You rock. You're going to help me, right?
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        Kim Edward Welch

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        • #5
          Well, sure!
          Jared Isham
          Filmmaker
          Director: "Bounty" - Lionsgate, "Turn Around Jake" - PureFlix Entertainment
          Editor: CW Seed, Nike, Ugg, GoFundMe, Disney, Hulu, Panini and more


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          • #6
            Well, firstly why would anybody want to make something "low budget"? That's like saying "lemme see how cheap I can be". The resulting product probably won't be something that's appealing to any consumers.

            Maybe make something less low budget and more quality. Then you can have pride in it.

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            • #7
              You can most definitely have pride in a low budget movie

              The biggest problem with making big budget movies is that you have to have experience or credibility in order to get the money. To get that you need to have movies you have made and you can't make movies without some money, so if you want to make a movie but refuse to accept a low budget then you may never make a movie.

              Then there is the issue of sustainability. The amount of movies made that actually turn a profit is pretty low, considering. If you can come up with an amazing concept that can be done for next to nothing then your chances of getting a return is much higher.

              So bigger budget movies are fine and I hope we all aspire to make them in our career, but we also need to start somewhere and low budget movies are a great place to start.

              It's like buying a house. You may want to move into that mansion because it really fits you and you'll be proud to be the owner...but the likeliness of being able to buy it your first time out? Without a rich uncle? You probably need to work your way up to it.

              Besides, low budget movies often times will teach you to be efficient and innovative when you get a little more money for a film.

              I could go on more, but that is all for now.
              Last edited by Jared Isham; 06-28-2017, 09:58 AM.
              Jared Isham
              Filmmaker
              Director: "Bounty" - Lionsgate, "Turn Around Jake" - PureFlix Entertainment
              Editor: CW Seed, Nike, Ugg, GoFundMe, Disney, Hulu, Panini and more


              IMDb
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              Stage Ham (my production company)

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              • #8
                I do like that idea that we need to watch our approach and attitude. I don't want to have the attitude of cheap. I want to have the attitude of the best film I can make but I have to be realistic. I think the number one concern at this point is having a great story. I am working on that and I think I have at least two really good ones pretty much ironed out and one that is more complicated that has an explosion and the need for more moving cameras on the streets that I dont't think I can fund. That is the way I am looking at it. What can I get funding for. How can I get funding. I need to keep writing and finish things and start getting people on board. It's a lot of work plus doing the magazine and websites and now the summer shorts contest. I am not complaining. I love this business. I was just telling someone that I see this as what I want to do until I die. So, I am doing exactly what I love doing. I just need to pay for it!
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                Kim Edward Welch

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                Never Stop Learning - Never Stop Networking

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                • #9
                  It's all well and good but you people keep focusing on the filmmaker. Filmmaking success is not about whether the filmmaker is proud about making something low budget and cheap. It's about the consumer being happy and spreading positive word of mouth as far as he goes in order to bring in other paying consumers.

                  If in any industry, a manufacturer advertised his product thus: "Hey, come buy this cheap crap I made by putting so little capital into it and using only inferior unknown components!", their creation might not become the next big thing.

                  Yet for some reason, "indie filmmakers" decided they should shout from the rooftops with unbased pride, "Hey I'm such a very low budget filmmaker who made garbage for so little money using amateur people and a cheap script that was slapped together inbetween takes as the thing went along!", and then expect consumers of their product to come in droves and buy it.

                  Success in film directly equates as popularity among paying consumers who feel they're getting good quality product for their money. Not about the filmmaker being proud of creating mediocre product "despite all the ever so unovercomable obstacles".

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                  • #10
                    I think you're over generalizing but I understand the point. However, You can't put all filmmakers in one bucket and flush them down the,"... buy this cheap crap" selling toilet. All are different and find what they need to create their films at whatever cost with whatever they have to work with. These films did very well: Clerks. Halloween, El Mariachi, Pimer, Night of the Living Dead, Blair Witch, Saw. I bet they were looking at ways to do it as low cost as possible. I heard one of the guys in Primer was saying they were using the cut for the take as their edit to save on film.
                    Last edited by Kim Welch; 06-28-2017, 10:05 AM.
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                    • #11
                      One thing to note that was mentioned by both Kim and me has been story. If your story is no good to start with then you won't have an audience.

                      If you only think that you can make a movie with A list talent and a large budget or it will be garbage is a very fixed mindset and will likely set you up for some major let down.

                      Always get your story nailed down so that it is compelling, keeps the reader turning the page and keeps your audience on the edge of their seat the entire time, but, in case you didn't know, you don't need epic fantasy lands, car chases, explosions, space ships or major action sequences for it to be a good story.

                      Some low budget successes that come to mind. El Mariachi, The Brothers McMullen, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Monsters (though budget is debatable on that one). The biggest thing I see with these successes is that they just did it and were not talking about if they had more money or not.

                      The beauty with art is that it is subjective so if who spend enough time in development you can find your audience.
                      Last edited by Jared Isham; 06-28-2017, 12:55 PM.
                      Jared Isham
                      Filmmaker
                      Director: "Bounty" - Lionsgate, "Turn Around Jake" - PureFlix Entertainment
                      Editor: CW Seed, Nike, Ugg, GoFundMe, Disney, Hulu, Panini and more


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jared Isham View Post

                        Some low budget successes that come to mind. El Mariachi, The Brothers McMullen, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Monsters (though budget is debatable on that one). The biggest thing I see with these successes is that they just did it and we're not talking about if they had more money or not.
                        These weren't actually movies. They were marketing experiments. It was about fooling audiences into coming to pay and watch inferior product. Quickest route to parting the lower simpleton masses with their money.

                        No serious film medium artist should try to emulate those. Unless a filmmaking career really is just about making a quick buck to you.





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                        • #13
                          Wow, that is naive thinking. I would argue that the filmmakers would think otherwise.

                          If you want to show how a movie needs to have a big budget to be successful and not garbage I guess we could look at these:
                          Speed Racer
                          Green Lantern
                          Fantastic Four
                          Battleship
                          The Lone Ranger

                          When you give yourself limitations it often times helps to stretch your creativity and improve your art.

                          I really do hope your method works out for you. I honestly do, that would be an awesome story to hear about - I'm a sucker for Hollywood success stories.
                          Jared Isham
                          Filmmaker
                          Director: "Bounty" - Lionsgate, "Turn Around Jake" - PureFlix Entertainment
                          Editor: CW Seed, Nike, Ugg, GoFundMe, Disney, Hulu, Panini and more


                          IMDb
                          Filmmaking Resources
                          YouTube Channel
                          Portfolio Website
                          Stage Ham (my production company)

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