$30,000-$50,000 FEATURE FILM (AKA: Micro-Budget Filmmaking)



Producing the $30,000 Feature Film:

This is the 1-Week Shoot, 90-Page, 1-Location Script.

90-Pages, 7 Shoot Days… Working 15-18 hours/day executing a Shooting Schedule of 12-13 Pages/Day.

If 1-Page of Script, formatted properly, becomes approximately 1-minute of Running Time… Then you must get shot (aka: covered at least 1-Page In-The-Can every 45-50 Minutes.

Phew…. But doable.


My prior blogs showed how to make a $1,000-$10,000 No-Budget Feature like “TANGERINE”; a $10,000-$20,000 Credit Card Feature like “BROTHERS McMULLEN”, and a $20,000-$30,000 Shot-For Feature Film like “CLERKS” or “IN THE COMPANY OF MEN”… now permit me to show you how to spend $30,000-$50,000 and not only make a better movie but even finish it.

Key phrase is “Finish-It” not “Shot-For”

$30,000-$50,000 is more than enough money to do a (A) 1-week shoot with (B) qualified crew, (C) professional actors, (D) practical locations and (E) state-of-the-art 4K cameras…and (F) finish it.

And when you finish a movie, and go to a film festival (assuming the audience loves it), you are in a much better position to negotiate deals with distributors than if you had a “Shot For” feature film and you are literally begging for finishing funds.

Key word is “begging”… for when you haven’t 100% totally finished your movie… distributors, who are not your friends or relatives, know that you are broke (please read this again: “you are broke”) and they become vultures, for they know that you are broke.

I repeat B-R-O-K-E… And when you are B-R-O-K-E and negotiating with someone who knows that you are B-R-O-K-E you are not negotiating from strength.

So allow me to show you how to get into a much better negotiating position, with a theatrical distributor, when you are premiering at a film festival and your film is F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D as in D-O-N-E.


Micro-Budget Filmmaking A-Z

For $30,000-$50,000 you have enough money to make & finish your movie and…

(1) Budget $3,000-$5,000 for SCRIPT WRITING

(2) Budget $5,000-$6,000 for 2-Week PRE-PRODUCTION & 2-Day REHEARSAL

(3) Budget $10,000-$17,000 for 1-Week PRODUCTION & SHOOT

(4) Budget $3,000-$4,000 for 3-Day PICK-UP

(5) Budget $7,000-10,000 for 6-Week POST-PRODUCTION

(6) Budget $2,000-$8,000 for PUBLICITY, SOCIAL MEDIA & FESTIVALS

 The Top 10 Micro-Budget Filmmaking Tips

FIRST: SCRIPT (KISS): 90-Pages, 1-Location, No Moves

SECOND: STORY (Drama): Dialogue Oriented, Character Driven No Stunts, No VFX

THIRD: CREW (Minimal) 8-10 with two 4K/Red Cameras

FOURTH: (Costumes): Contemporary, No Period Piece

FIFTH (Slug Lines): Do not have any EXT-NIGHT sequences

SIXTH (Schedule): Plan a 1-week, 10-12 Page/Day Shooting Schedule

SEVENTH (Directing): Always get a Master Shot first

EIGHTH (Actors & Get It Done): Remember, no shot saves a film. Get a Master & Move

NINTH (Camera & Crew): Get a DP who’s been a big budget DP’s’ CO

TENTH (Audio): Make sure the Sound is sharp & clear

FS-$89 (2) DSC_8143

I promise you that with $30,000-$50,000 you can execute a quality 1-week shoot… with a professional Camera Operator (procuring his/her first Independent DP credit)… with a great script and… with superb actors being paid  ($100/day), with enough money for a 6-week Post Production process for a finished movie that you will still have $2,000-$8,000 left over for Social Media, Film Festival(s) and securing a distributor.

Happy Filmmaking,

Dov S-S Simens / Dean / Hollywood Film Institute


For more in depth detail my Streaming Film School and DVD Film School are available at www.WebFilmSchool.com.


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One comment on “$30,000-$50,000 FEATURE FILM (AKA: Micro-Budget Filmmaking)”

  1. Elena Schumann says:

    Hi! I have a great idea for a movie done cheaply. It is the night that Wyatt Earp allegedly meet Billy the Kid. They were running, around the same area at the time so it is possible. In the end Billy steals Wyatt’s horse (really) and Wyatt yells “What is your name?” Billy: “My friends call me Billy” as Billy is riding away on Wyatt’s horse. Please email me if interested in participating.

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