Locations seem to be a great hindrance to upcoming film producers who haven’t established a network and don’t have a great deal of money to throw around. As much as we want to stay true to the original vision in the script, sometimes we have to adapt in order to be able to produce a short film on a tiny budget. There comes a point when, unless you are financed, you will have to do the same thing many successful filmmakers have done in the past: Use The Resources You Have.
We learn from one another. As an independent filmmaker, I will continually share my insights into the process of creating motion pictures from a low budget-producer point of view.
Let’s start with the first area that seems to plague most budding filmmakers LOCATIONS.
It seems like common sense, but I can’t tell you enough that this is key to everything. Last year, I created a film called What I Want (It is featured on Milkstop’s site. Check it out) and we needed an auditorium to hold a large political rally. I first went to my high school Alma Mater and asked to use their auditorium. Even as an alumni, I still would have been charged a decent amount to shoot there. I said, “no thank you” but remembered that I had a potential contact with a local dance studio. My sister used to take classes there so I reached out. Thankfully I ended up shooting most of my film in their facilities for an amount that suited our budget. I am proud to say that those folks contributed greatly to getting my film made and I couldn’t be more grateful for their help and support.
Film mavericks such as Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith used the same approach. They had no money but they had access to certain locations. Rodriguez based his first film El Mariachi around what he had access to, buses, a pickup truck and other things that were readily available.
Kevin Smith had access to a convenience store, so that is where he set his film, Clerks. Don’t feel that you need to be confined to interiors, there are plenty exteriors to take advantage of such as parks and playgrounds (of course, get necessary permissions beforehand). If you use what you have available you can save your money for other things such as camera gear, lighting, and art direction.
Milkstop Creative’s goal is to provide your production valuable location space
Don’t underestimate the power of your own resources though and never hesitate to ask for help. You will be surprised who is willing to help you achieve your goals of being a filmmaker.
Written by Luke Zintak. Luke is a Writer/Director out of the Chicago area and is a MilkStop staff writer