Want to be a film maker 2

How do I find a budget for my first film?

Don't borrow money! Your first film should be a short to help you learn all the processes.

Getting actors

Most people have three friends who might give it a go-to be your actors. If they are no good acting, go find new actors who wish to build showreel material, and like you, are just getting started. Look on Starnow or Mandy (two casting sites). 

Be honest, say you have no money but you will give them credits and footage for their showreels. And make sure you do. Start building a "Trust" relationship with everyone you encounter on your path to being a film maker!


Locations are difficult. Hopefully, your short script/story should be in a location you already thought you could get freely or cheaply: your room,  your flat, the local common, a forest, your village or town A 'one-man-band' filmer can get licenses through the council for less money than you think to film in the place you want, especially if you are honest and say you are a student learning to make films. Some towns and cities don't require you to have a license. And if you don't want to do that, you can always 'gun and run.' This means you take your chance of filming in a public place without a license and not getting caught. So long as you are careful, most times you'll get away with it.


You need light, either natural light or artificial. Starting off, don't buy expensive lights. I actually used tradesmen work lights from a hardware store in my first film. They worked perfectly and were cheap.


Although you can make a film on a mobile phone these days, there are a lot of reasons for not doing that, unless you can't afford to do anything else. If you are stuck with using a mobile phone, try and get a cheap gimbal for it or several sized small tripods. Unless you are making an action film, it is best to shoot unshaken shots on your first film. 

A 2K (1920x1080) film can be recorded on a range of cheaper dslr cameras now.  Get what you can afford not what you might really want. You aint George Lucas yet, and as you progress, you'll find ways to acquire and use more powerful equipment.



Yup, I know your camera will record sound. Forget that. It will also record every time you move the camera, fumble with a control, record your breathing, and won't be close enough to the actors to pick up dialogue louder enough relative to background noise. The cheapest option is to buy an independent sound recorder. You can get a cheap one like the lower model of a Zoom recorder or a more expensive one or a competitor one to Zoom like this Tascam, or if you really have the money start to look at the Tascams like this, which will require further costs to buy a microphone to plug into it.

Using the Zoom type with built-in (fairly good quality) mics you'll need a pole to stick it on and someone to hold it who is patient and who can hold the pole without tapping or fumbling it. If they do, their fumbling will end up in your film!

If you go for the Tascams like this, you need a high-quality mic to plug into it. More expensive.

The alternative is to buy a cheap shotgun mic and stick it on your camera and send its output to the camera.

I never got on with this. Again, the mic is too far away from the speaking actors, and is liable to pick up sounds of you handling the camera. Go for a cheap Zoom at first - which has mics, and stick it on a boom pole. One like this, or a cheaper competitor alternative or a better one. If it rattles a bit, out duck tape around the joints. Later on, when you can afford too, get a good microphone like a Sennheiser. No matter what anyone else says, they make the best mics!

There you go. Make your first film and send me a link to see it when finished! molsmith@fastmail.fm  Copy and paste my email address into your email send-to header.

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