This video by Film Riot discusses the in’s and out’s of money making for indie filmmakers. Please take note that he does mention that Film Riot videos do make about $1,000 on Youtube because they have over 1-MILLION views. Yep, there’s a stat to take notice of.
Host Ryan Connolly also mentions that he sells Posters and some ancillary products — but he never recoups his cost. “Short films are passion products…you make them to get exposure…you rarely make any money…”
How does he get money to make a film? He goes to people to sponsor him — of course, Film Riot has a large subscriber base, and products like Adobe, and manufactures of cameras respect Film Riot, so he has a realistic approach to getting investors based upon his Film Riot following. Do you have an audience of millions like Film Riot?
Another method, do what Alex did with the Movies Plus Fire TV channel. He streamed his film for 6 months. He then took the download stats to an investor (about 70,000 downloads) and Alex got financing based upon his success on Fire TV. See how you can do this for $4 on https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards
Kickstarter, Film Riot has never used it. He does talk to a filmmaker who treated Kickstarter campaign like a full time job and made “Pizza Time.”
Also, The film “Sky Watch” (released on Youtube) is discussed, and how the filmmakers no-budget, badly made short films finally helped him to produce films like Sky Watch successfully. He says “you can’t make money on narrative films…” And he “fostered relationships from short films” to gain financing on a bigger productions. That’s a lesson.
If you treat your cast and crew like peons or minions, do you think they’ll help you on future productions?
David Sandberg talks about how he used low budget equipment like a homemade built dolly made from Ikea parts, cheap 300 watt lights to shoot his early shorts, and like Blender 3D software (free). He says “professional gear takes a beating and will go on forever…cheap gear will [cost] you…time.”
Below is another Film Riot – budget oriented video. Before watching it, Youtube played a “Masterclass” advert-video by Ron Howard. It was very interesting to me, and one thing stuck out. This is a little off topic, but please indulge me for a second.
They showed Ron Howard behind the scenes, he instructed an actor to say a line a particular way, and Ron said the line the way that he, an actor would say it. I’d like to point out that Ron Howard has the acting chops to do this, while other Directors might not have the experience to suggest to an actor that they emulate his delivery. (A little food for thought.) Let’s move on to the next video.
What is low budget?
This is mostly a video about independent films made with low or now budget. Ryan says a micro budget is up to $500,000 outside of the Hollywood system, but geared towards being sold to legitimate distributors, some who are “Hollywood.”
Note that Ryan mentions these are not hard and fast rules and “numbers.” When focusing on shorts, budget can depend largely on where your located. His short films were all low budget films (like $300.) And he discusses how he progressed up to $100,000 for his “Ballistic” short, where he depended on allot of free crew-work and more. He says “…The more money I had…the more stress…and tighter restraints.” So, the take home lesson here is that having more money does not guarantee that you’ll have an easy, stress-free shoot.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you’d like to read more, please visit my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus