Making a movie of any size requires money. There are, however, things that you can do to lessen the amount of money needed to do a movie.
Getting things for free may require some begging and negotiating but it is possible. I have used various ways to decrease the amount of money I had to spend on a project.
Friends and Family
When you think about what you need for a shoot think about the people that you know. Where else better to get free stuff from.
This may be a prop that you need for a scene. It may be that you need some extras. Whatever you need begin with your family and friends.
Tell your relatives and friends all that you need for your movie. You never know who will be able to provide you with what until they know that you need it.
Companies are going to be harder to get free stuff from but it is not impossible. You will need to ask and keep asking. You may have to go through the chain-of -command to get to the person that can actually help you.
Start by going to local stores. Especially stores that you frequent. Even better are the stores in which you have some connection to as in the owner goes to your church.
You need to have as much as possible to share about the project as possible. You need to look professional no matter what level you’re at as a filmmaker.
So, you want to go after the bigger companies. You may need to write letters. You may even need to send your script to the company. If you really want whatever freebie that they have to offer you’re going to have to be patient. Working with larger companies takes time.
Get the Word Out
Try attending a local film group. The members of the groups may be willing to help you on your project in return for your help on theirs.
The members of the groups may also be able to point you in the direction of places to get things for your movie for free.
Even the Small Things
When considering what you need for your project think about ways to get anything and everything for free or cheap. No matter how important that item is to your shoot.
Having a friend or relative cater your shoot for free is one of the best things you can have happen. A happy cast and crew is one that will work harder for you. A well fed cast and crew is more likely to be happy.
The small things on a movie shoot add up. There is also the idea of how important it is to your movie. If the prop is hard to find or you cannot get it for free or cheap consider whether or not you actually need that item. Anything that you can go without should be left out unless you can get it for free or cheap enough to warrant the purchase.
Again, the small things matter. Make a list of everything you need. As you look for items cross of the ones you find and the ones you decide you really don’t need.
Things to Remember
There are things to remember when trying to get things for free and trying to get free help. You need to have a solid idea of what your movie is about. You also need to have it organized so that you can show the people you are trying to get help from what your movie is about.
After you receive help and free things for a movie do not forget to send thank you cards to those that helped you. If possible send the people that helped you a copy of the movie on DVD.
Not long ago I helped with a video shoot. When the DVD was sent to me they also sent me a bag with some goodies. It was not much, but it showed me that my help was appreciated.
The important thing is to know what you need. You also should be able to tell the people you are seeking help from what your movie is about. The more information concerning your project the better.
I would not say that you need a business plan but you need something similar to a business plan. You need details about the script including locations, cast, and crew.
If you are going after the bigger companies having a packet that you can send to them would help. You need to impress the people you want helping your project. If they are impressed by you and your script then they are more likely to help.
It is possible to get “A” list actors if you have the right material. Of course you need to be able to get your script to the actor. This is where networking can help. It may not be the person that you know. It might be the person that this person knows that another person knows.
There is no one way to do this. Take a look at your project. Look at the people you know. Look at the places you go. Anything can be a possible source for help. All it takes is the courage to ask.
I have used most of these to get things for my shoots. I plan to use them more in the coming months as I work on a new project.
I know that it will take time and constantly looking for what’s out there. The result of all of the effort is a reduced budget. When you have no or a little budget to begin with every cent saved means more.
Now, go out and take your script. Know that not every time you ask will the answer be yes. The idea is to be positive. Keep asking. Keep looking for ways to save money. You never know where you will find help. Never assume the answer before you ask.
I have had friends donate their time as extras. I have had friends donate items that I used as props. Some of the food that I fed my actors was donated by friends. I have and will for upcoming projects found help from friends and companies. I had to keep asking and keep looking before I found people willing to help.
Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.