PRODUCE & DIRECT A 2018 FEATURE FILM (Learn Producing Odds & Film Directing Reality)


Want to launch your career by Producing or Directing a profitable Feature Film in 2018?

I’m sure the answer is “Yes”.

Then here is how to start with either a No-Budget, a Micro-Budget, an Ultra Low-Budget, a Low-Budget, a Medium-Budget or a Mega-Budget Feature Film with covering the financing spectrum from as low as $10,000 to as high as $100,000,000 movies… along with the odds-of-success for each.

However, to succeed, you must be “realistic” and select a budget category “realistic-to-finance” with a great script you own that is “realistic” for you to manufacture (produce or direct) within a budget that you can “realistically” obtain.

Want to Produce or Direct? Then be “realistic”


(“Spielberg being realistic started his career (1969) with a five actor, one-location low-budget story, “EYES”,  for “Night Gallery”.”)


Be realistic and you will produce or direct a feature film.

Be realistic, with amazing talent (can’t be taught), you will also launch your career.



Every feature film is inevitably categorized by it’s budget and classified as either a…

(1st) NO-BUDGET MOVIE: $10,000-$30,000; which is usually a weekend shoot (3 days, Fri-Sun, 7a-10p, 30 pages/day, 15 hour workday) with a 80-90 page script set in real time (i.e., what happens over a 90-minute period) shot with a 4-5 person crew with 2 no-budget cameras (iPhones, BlackMagic, GoPro, DSLR, etc.) by directing with mostly Master Shots.


(“TANGERINE” was a no-budget feature (4 actors, 1-location, real time, 2 iPhones) discovered at Sundance 2016 and released last year.)


(2nd) MICRO-BUDGET MOVIE: $50,000-$100,000; a one-week shoot (over two weekends), with a 90 page script, in one location (house, courtroom, bathroom, jail cell, etc.), accomplished with a 5-6 person crew (DP, PM, PD, Grip/Gaffer, PC & AD), paying $350-$1,000 each, with 3 PAs interning, using 1 Red or 2 DSLRs, directing a schedule of 10 pages/day with 80% Master Shots, 15% Mediums and 4% Closeups & 1% Establishing shots.


(3rd) ULTRA LOW-BUDGET MOVIE: $150,000-$300,000; a 2 week shoot (13 shooting days, working 7a-7p), with one-location (Apartment Building, Hotel, School Campus, etc.), with several sub-locations (Bathroom, Foyer, Hallway, Garage, Office #1, Office #2, Guest Room #1, Guest Room #2, etc.) of a 90-page script, with an 8-9 person crew, paying $450-$1,200/week, & 4 PAs interning, with 2 Reds, based on a stage play, with great dialogue and human conflict, possibly signing with SAG (Ultra Low Budget Agreement) and directing a schedule of 7 pages/day allowing two takes on most setups for better performance with, during post, an original score 100% owned and $2K-$5K put aside for Publicity, Marketing and Film Festival entry fees.


(4th) LOW-BUDGET MOVIE: $500,000-$1,000,000; this is a 3 week shoot (18 day shoot), with a 90-100 page script, set in one-location (Hotel, Office Building, School, Police Station, etc.) but using 6-8 rooms for variance, or using 4 locations over one-block, with easy parking, a 12-15 person crew, paying $500-$2,000/week, with 4 PAs ($200,week), excellent craft service (feed properly), with a 50-60 scene script that has a superb Act I, with 2 grabbers in the first 2 minutes, an excellent Act II, with 5 Uh-Ohs & 5 Oh-Shits (layman’s terms for inciting moments and crises), and a satisfying Act III with the final OMG (Oh My God scene), Resolution and Epilogue and a directing shooting schedule of 5-7 pages/day achieving 20-25 setups/day with superb coverage and having $20K set aside for a splash at a North American Film Festival like Tribeca, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, South Hamptons, etc. to entice Acquisition Execs to purchase.


(“BARBERSHOP” was an excellent Low-Budget, 3-week shoot, one-location with a couple of B-list names feature film that not only got released but became a franchise.) 


(5th) MEDIUM-BUDGET MOVIE: $2-3 Million, $3-5 Million, $5-7 Million or $7-10 Million: this is usually an international co-production, financed with 2 name actors on pay-to-play commitments, pre-sold at Cannes, Sundance, Berlin or Toronto and shot in a USA state with a Transferable Tax Credit program (Georgia, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, etc.) on a 5-week shoot (25-28 Shooting Days), Directing with a shooting schedule of 4-5 pages per day, allowing each actor 2-3 takes per setup to achieve a very well acted story with $100,000 set aside for a solid publicity and marketing campaign to culminate with a screening at a major film festival where at least 30-40 Acquisition Executives, Agents & Producers Reps are in attendance.


(“AMERICAN BUFFALO” was a superb medium-budget, character driven, dialogue oriented movies with 2 A- actors made on a 5-week shoot with a marketed $10,000,000 Budget.)


(6th) MEGA-BUDGET MOVIE: $100,000,000 to $200,000,000 and if you’re James Cameron hustling his “AVATAR” franchise, of a 3 picture trilogy for $1 Billion; This is always a major studio movie, signing with the three guilds (SAG, WGA & DGA) and one union (IATSE) like “Star Wars”, “Batman”, “Avatar”, “Fast & Furious”, etc. that are franchises with little-to-no-story but a massive amount of “eye candy” visual effects that, due to not depending on dialogue, allows it to be a box office hit in almost every nation around the world, especially China, and gross $1-2 Billion, sell a lot of merchandise, have 75-110 product placement logos ($300K-$5,000K each) in it, with a big on-demand deal, a huge dvd sale to CostCo, Target or Wallmart, plus a big sale to HBO or Showtime.


(“Star Wars” started the big budget visual concept, with per picture budget between $100 Million to now $300 million, massive revenue streams to include an amusement park mega-ride.)



Now let’s talk “what are the odds” to launching your career contingent on each of the six Hollywood budget’s for your first movie project.



NO-BUDGET is 99.9% (Guaranteed, if you have a work ethic, 2 iPhones  and true talent)

MICRO-BUDGET is 75% (Very Good odds, but be sure the script is one location with great dialogue)

ULTRA LOW-BUDGET is 40% (Odds more than OK, especially if partnered with an Executive Producer Attorney)

LOW-BUDGET is 20% (Odds good-but-not-great, but you must be an excellent salesman)

MEDIUM-BUDGET is 2% (Not likely; Assumes that your parents are quite wealthy)

MEGA-BUDGET is 0.01% (Near impossible: Assumes you have the great script, a power agent and a studio bidding war ensued)


(“Be realistic. Your best odds lie with either a No-Budget, Micro-Budget or Ultra Low-Budget movie which which will be the subjects of each of my next 3 blogs… stay tuned.”)


Happy 2018 Filmmaking!



(“Want a film career in 2018? My DVD Film School will do it….“)


Welcome to Hollywood,

Dov Simens




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7 comments on “PRODUCE & DIRECT A 2018 FEATURE FILM (Learn Producing Odds & Film Directing Reality)”

  1. Kate Tsubata says:

    This course changed my life. I took the 2 days, and in one month, produced a 40 minute Video of a live-performance presentation. Then a 60 minute feature, one-week shoot, $200 budget. Then, a 90-minute feature, 2-week shoot, $2000 budget. Then a 90-minute feature, 3 week shoot, $7000. Got a few festival awards, did screenings, sold DVDs. Now doing a “low budget” feature, involving aspects of documentary and feature film. Worked on bigger budget productions with some name talent, and I can honestly say that what Dov teaches holds true in every part of the filmmaking world. This was the best money I ever spent, attending this film school, because it dispels the myths, teaches real-world information, and gives you every tool you need to go out and make your movies.

  2. joe sixpak says:

    would like to know what camera quality is acceptable to getting distribution
    they keep getting better and cheaper so do we really need a high end one other than for bragging rights

    one source says
    Some of the most used professional digital movie cameras include:
    Arri Alexa
    Red Epic
    Red Scarlet
    Red One
    Sony CineAlta
    Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera
    Canon Cinema EOS
    Panavision Genesis

    another says Best Cinema Cameras are:
    Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 4.6K
    Canon EOS C100 Mark II
    Canon EOS C200B
    Blackmagic Design Micro
    Panasonic HC-X1 4K Ultra HD
    Canon EOS C300 Mark II
    Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
    Sony PXW-Z150 4K XDCAM
    Sony PXW-FS5 4K XDCAM
    RED EPIC-W with HELIUM 8K S35 Sensor

    and if you google you find yet newer chinese cameras that are cheaper with better specs

    so please match cameras and their cost to the types of budgets

  3. Tom Baton says:

    Have you guys ever worked on a real movie?
    30 pages a day?
    Single location movie?
    Woefully underpaying crew members?

    If you want to make a movie maybe learn how they’re made. Work below the line as a professional. Save your money and self fud something. Get your script on The Blacklist

  4. Really insightful stuff here! Script-Talent-Budget

  5. I can’t wait to take your class. Your information is great.

  6. Hi, always i used to check website posts here early in the dawn, as i enjoy to find out more and more.

  7. Henry Larry says:

    Valuable overview of film production budgets. The detailed categories and odds assessment offer a realistic perspective for filmmakers embarking on their first projects helping them navigate the complex landscape of the industry.
    Professional House Re Wiring Services in West Hollywood CA

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