THE 1-WEEK MOVIE (No-Budget $5-$50K Filmmaking is Fun)


Studio Executives, with respect to financing indy films or why they won’t, always state “It is very difficult to define what Independent Filmmaking is.”

Huh? No it isn’t!

For over 30 years I’ve heard execs, attorneys, agents, and dealmakers, speak on panels about Independent Financing and state time-and-time-again… “It is very hard to define Independent Filmmaking.”

Even development and programming execs at Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Hulu are now stating “It is very difficult to define what Independent Filmmaking is.”

And each time I go “No it isn’t!”


(“Even Tarantino, with “Reservoir Dogs”, an alleged independent film, was actually dependent on Weinstein.”)

Huh? Defining Independent Filmmaking is quite simple… “GET YOUR OWN MONEY”

You want to be in charge? You want creative control?

Then “GET YOUR OWN MONEY” and you are totally independent and can do whatever you want to do.

Simple. However, once you get someone’s money you are no longer Independent and are now “Dependent” on them and have become a Dependent Filmmaker and must adhere to the Golden Rule.

The Golden Rule being “He who has the Gold makes the Rules.”

Therefore, If you want to be totally “Independent”, with the freedom to do whatever you want then…  “GET YOUR OWN MONEY.”

Now let’s get honest… “GETTING YOUR OWN MONEY”, for your first feature film, obviously means this is not going to be a lot of money.

Thus, stop calling Low-Budget Independent Filmmaking budgets of $1-2, or $2-3, or $3-5 Million, etc., for you are not getting that amount from your parent(s), friend(s), dentist(s), angel(s) or even a crowd.

What you will get Independent-of-Hollywood is amounts like $5,000, $10,000, maybe $50,000… a $100,000 is starting to stretch reality, $200,000-300,000 is an extreme stretch… but just forget about $1-2, $2-3, $3-5, $5-7, $7-10 Million.

REALITY CHECK: Therefore, if you are an Independent Filmmaker, and financed your film independent-of-the-movie-industry, you will likely have $5,000-$300,000… at the most…deal with it…accept it…and be happy with it.

And with $5,000-$300,000 your film is going to either be a No-Budget ($5,000-$50,000) 1-Week Shoot, or a Micro-Budget ($50,000-$100,000) 2-Week Shoot or a Low-Budget 3-Week Shoot which is either $100,000-$200,000 with Non-SAG actors or $200,000-$300,000 with being a SAG Signator.





The first week of every feature film is a “Fun Week”.

You’ve been thinking and planning this project for months if not years. Minimal as it is, you finally have the funding. You rehearse. You scout. You plan. You crew. You plan some more… You’re excited. You are having F-U-N.

The shoot starts. Your enthusiasm is exploding. You are full of energy. Your adrenalin has you pumped. You are in charge. Again, this is what you’ve dreamed about for months if not years…everything in the universe is in it’s right place.

This is F-U-N. This is exactly what you thought filmmaking should be.

Fun lasts, however, for about 5 days.

The excitement disappears as the hours kick in and you discover, that after one week of 15-18 hour days, you are totally exhausted.

The first week of every shoot is always F-U-N…


The second week of every shoot is the “Zombie Week”.

Why? Because you are a Z-O-M-B-I-E.

Simple, after 1-week of 15-18 hour days you and your crew are exhausted… You don’t go-to-sleep. You don’t wake-up.

You “Pass out” and you “come to”.

You and your crew are Zombies and please, please, please, please don’t change the location.

FILM SHOOT-3 (“After one week of 15-18 hour days… Fun is over.”)


Because once your crew are Zombies, and you change the location something goes wrong, be it the Call Sheet, the Production Report, the Grip Truck, the Camera Lens, Traffic, Baby Sitters, etc… something ain’t gettin’ to the new location and the shoot falls apart… But somehow you power-through, with six more 15-18 hour days, and get the second week in-the-can.


Remember Zombies keep coming back. Thus, once your crew, after the first week become Zombies, as long as you don’t change the location they Keep-Coming-Back.

No-Budget or Micro-Budget I beg you to keep your entire shoot at one location… One block, one farm, one street…and even better one building.


Now comes the third week… the “Hostility Week”.

This is the b*ll buster week.

The third-week has you, your crew and your cast beyond exhaustion, tempers are running high. Arguements break out especially after somebody brought 24 Dunkin Donuts to the set and the sugar-rush sets in… people want to quit…actors forget lines…everyone has had it with your damn movie…but somehow you beg, you beseech, you cajole and amazingly get the crew & cast to stay on to finish the shoot.

Welcome to the third week, the H-O-S-T-I-L-I-T-Y week… and you thought this was art.



1-Week movies are unquestionably the best to attempt for your first feature film.


Answer: “They’re FUN”.


If you have enough money for a 3-Week Shoot, you are going to have a FUN week, a ZOMBIE week and a HOSTILITY week.

However, if you only have enough money for a 2-Week Shoot, you lose the HOSTILITY week and only deal with a FUN week and a ZOMBIE week.

And, if you only have enough money for a 1-Week Shoot, you lose the HOSTILITY week and the ZOMBIE week and only deal with the FUN week… It’s a fun shoot…

It is my strong belief that 99.99% of my reader’s, for their first feature film, will only have enough money for, and can only handle a 1-Week shoot…

And it will be FUN.

And life is meant to be FUN.


1-WEEK MOVIE (Wrapup)

(A) 90-Page Script, no EXT-NIGHT Shots

(B) 1-Location, no moving, Practical Sets

(C) 9 Shooting Days (2 weekends & weekdays)

(D) Shooting Schedule 10 Pages/day

New DVD( )

(E) 1 Page-in-Can every Hour

(F) 15-18 Hour Days

(G) 7-8 Person Crew

(H) Two 4K Cameras

(I) Great DP & Excellent Soundman

(J) Lighting (Key, Back, little-to-no Fill)

(K) 6-8 Actors @ $100/day (Non-SAG)

(L) Food Budget @ $265/Day

For step-by-step details on how to produce, write & direct a 1-week feature film, for $5,000-$50,000, to include all the secrets and tricks during pre-production, production, post-production and marketing, I look forward spending 20-hours of honesty with you with either my “2-Day”, “DVD” or “Streaming” film schools.


Happy Filmmaking,

Dov Simens / Dean / Hollywood Film Institute




Live, DVD or Streaming FILM SCHOOL… Why Wait? 

Want facts not theory… My Film Schools ($89-$389) are perfect.

Enroll. Graduate.

Next “HOLLYWOOD (2-Day) FILM SCHOOL” sessions are August 19-20 or December 9-10, 2017.

Online Film School   DVD Film School   2 Day Film School

Keep Up to date…

Join our e-mail list.

 *** NO-BULL ***


3 comments on “THE 1-WEEK MOVIE (No-Budget $5-$50K Filmmaking is Fun)”

  1. Tyrone Martin says:

    These post are very informative. I plan on taking the two day course soon.

  2. He who has the Gold makes the Rules

  3. Henry Larry says:

    Sounds like an intense yet thrilling journey. It is refreshing to see such practical advice on independent filmmaking. Excited to dive into this world myself.
    Best Lawn Services in Millbrook

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *