Outside the Box: Film Production on a Small Budget



Whether you are a first time filmmaker, or a seasoned video veteran, one thing you are always concerned about is staying under budget. Here at ASL, we recognize the importance of our teams’ productivity. And one of the many things we’ve discovered over the years is how money constraints can actually be blessings in disguise.


Small Budgets force Creativity

To be clear, we do have a very sizable production budget. We are not looking for budget constraints. But what we are always looking for is creativity. And in big Hollywood film productions, too much money can occasionally hinder creativity. Obviously seasoned film director/producers such as Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams know how to use a large budget, but they themselves started their careers on small budgets. They learned how to get around problems by writing stories that fit their budget. That is essentially what creative storytelling is: problem solving. If you can have an unlimited budget, you sometimes loose the reason for your creativity. But when you are up against a deadline, running out of money, and your lead actor just dropped out, guess what? You’ve got to get creative!


Small Budgets grow the value of Film Production

Imagine you are making a corporate video for a modeling company. You need a certain colored wall to imply a certain emotion for the model. But what if you don’t have the money to build that wall? What do you do? Use some money you don’t have? Or do you get creative and simply use a different colored light? It’s the same effect, but with less money. Now with that philosophy attached to your overall production, the quality of the project will be just as good, if not better, than if it had a big budget!


Small Budgets grows the value of the Film Producer

Many filmmakers gained successful careers through impressive work on small budgets. If someone can make something good with a small amount of money, it not only shows that they respect the company, but it also shows that they are capable of being trusted with much more than a few hundred dollars.

When you study those same successful filmmakers, another thing you find is that they are jack-of-all-trades in their business. When you are constrained by a small budget that often means you have to settle for a small crew. Everyone is going to be wearing multiple hats, including the film producer. It may be hard at first to learn how to operate the lights, sound equipment, and even craft services. But at the end of the shoot, they will have grown into a much more versatile producer. They will have more skills and job opportunities in the future. Plus, having grown to understand the different departments outside directing/producing, that same filmmaker will have a better understanding of his or her crew needs when working with them.


Creativity reveals the value of the Film Company

Now imagine the company who employs such good filmmakers. That reflects on their reputation, and their reputation reflects on both the sales and trust among clients. Company reputation comes not only from their clients but also from the capability of their employees. If the company is able to train such employees into marvels, that is a brand skill all on its own.

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