Something remains to be said about what can be created despite not having a large budget, film school, or film pedigree. The audacity and bold naivety upcoming filmmakers need to have to believe they can make a film and have breakout success is nothing less than jaw dropping and awe-inspiring. This is the spirit that fuels the independent filmmaker.

How did the rise of the micro-budget filmmaker come to be? Is there a difference between low-budget, ultra-low budget and micro-budget? Yes, anything under 2 million to 500k is considered low budget. The ultra-low budget range is in the 500k to 250k range while the micro-budgets can be considered anything below 100k. These numbers are ballpark ranges but vary from SAG-AFTRA and studio to studio. Personally, anything that can be mistaken as a nice yearly salary or 4-year college tuition I don’t consider micro-budget. But that’s me and I am not the authority. 

I consider micro-budget something that you can save up or borrow without putting you or family on the soup lines. For me anything between 20k and 15k is the sweet spot. You can pull 5k out your savings and get a parttime job and save the rest over a one-year span and voila.

You have a respectable budget for a micro-budget film.

Now what?

Shoot your film and the admission is so low you can afford to get this totally wrong and not lose your shirt, unless 20k is your shirt. If it is, then just remember, Robert Rodriguez shot his for 7k. Heck, I shot my first feature for $3,500 and it included my round trip flight to Los Angeles from Newark, NJ.

Why the rise, or should I say what are the things that have contributed to the ‘rise’ of the micro-budget way?

Here is my take:

Inexpensive Camera Equipment

Micro-budget filmmakers don’t usually make a big stink over cameras. They don’t care about the latest RED camera or whether the movie should be filmed in 6K or 4K. The story matters the most. You can purchase a new Canon Rebel T7i with a kit lens for under a thousand dollars. If you go used and pick a later model that camera price can shrink significantly.

Affordable Intuitive Screenwriting Software

An accessible editing program micro-budget filmmakers have access to is Final Cut which is considered the industry standard. There is also Celtx, Movie Magic, and Writer Duet to name a few others. The price ranges from free online subscriptions to a couple hundred dollars.

Accessible Lighting and Sound Equipment

Micro-budget filmmakers realize they don’t have to own everything to make their movie because they can rent the things they don’t have. They can rent lights, sound, and accessories from companies like borrowlens.com, lensrental.com and sharegrid.com.

Finding Available Talent

Finding talent is as easy as creating an account on ActorsAccess.com and backstage.com. You can also reach out to the local community theater or community art program. You are sure to find a diamond in the rough.

Comprehensible Virtual Workshops and Online Training

Micro-budget filmmakers often don’t go to traditional school for education because they can be outdated and expensive. They get their information for micro-budget filmmaking from podcasts, YouTube tutorials, Lynda.com, etc.

There are plenty of resources available for filmmakers to gain access into the world of filmmaking. You can make your film unfettered from gate keepers. The only thing stopping you is you. I can’t wait to see what you create.


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