Tips for Successfully Creating an Indie Film

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by Staff & Contributors

in Gaming & Tech

Independent filmmakers have a lot more creative freedom than most. They are not constrained by studio demands or subject to the whims of an egotistical producer or A-list movie star. They often produce their movies on a shoe-string budget to critical acclaim. But, just because indie films are produced on a minuscule budget, it doesn’t make them unprofitable. Far from it, in fact.

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The Blair Witch Project, a phenomenally successful indie horror flick, cost only $25k to make but grossed $29 million on its opening weekend. That kind of success is hard to replicate, but money isn’t everything and if moviemaking is your passion, you might be more interested in critical success than making millions.

Anyone can make an indie movie. All you need is a camera and an idea. The Blair Witch Project was filmed over eight days using an improvised script. 200 hours of film footage was edited down to 80 minutes and the rest is history.

Pre-Production

To be successful and stay on budget, you need to plan your film carefully. Work with what you have and don’t plot a movie that requires a host of special effects and equipment/locations you can’t possibly access.

The right script is the key to success. Use locations within easy reach and create a story that takes advantage of props you already own. The Blair Witch Project was filmed in woods in Maryland and the directors made use of props they found on location, such as twigs and sticks. The final scenes were filmed in an old historic house in Patapsco Valley State Park.

Ask for Help

Creating an indie film means you are working on a low budget. You need to be willing to ask for help. Take any help you can get, from your neighbor’s backyard for a few scenes to food on location from a friend who can cook. Call in favors and be clear about what you need from friends, family, and strangers. If you upset people, doors will close in your face and making the film will be so much harder.

You won’t have the budget to cast well-known stars so make use of local talent. Post a casting call in the town where you are filming and look for people who show talent. They don’t necessarily need any experience, but they do need to be committed.

Take your time filming and editing. Equipment doesn’t need to be big-budget, but the end result must look professional. People won’t take you seriously if your movie looks like a five-year-old shot it on an iPhone (unless that’s your intention).

Post Production and Marketing

Create a buzz on social media before you release your movie. Send out clips to social influencers and ask them to promote your movie. Use DVD duplication services to produce copies of your movie and post scenes on social media, especially YouTube. Every indie filmmaker wants to show their work at a major film festival, but accept that you may not be able to afford the application fee.

Accept that you may not be successful with your first movie, but you can learn from the experience.

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