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Funding an indy short film - need some advice

Martin Klabus

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So I wrote a script for a short film. It is not the first one and it won't be the first project I have ever made. But this is my biggest project

yet and will be requiring some financing in range of an extremely micro budget - around 2000 dollars. The short film will be about 25-30min long. The title is Helmina - it is a psychological drama film.


I am a 17-year old student filmmaker with aprox. 5 years of experience in filmmaking. I have written, produced, directed, shot and

edited several short films, some of them winning different awards at several student film festivals in my country. The most recent film

I shot as a DOP was awarded at a international film festival. But none of the projects I have worked on had a budget exceeding a few hundred bucks. I have shot lots of indy video productions, covered events and got into photography several years ago. I also love writting and making music (including soundtracks).


The script is pretty strong in my opinion and is based on a novel by a well-known Slovene author and phychologist that recently passed away. The film would be shot on aprox. 20 different location, none of them being problematic and probably wouldn't require any permits. Majority of my cast (33 actors and extras) and crew (20 people) consists of talented friends, ex-mentors, student actors/filmakers/musicians and some semi-professionals in the local film scene. Almost everyone supporting the project is an enthusiastic individualwho doesn't request any 'real' payments.


Although, I still need to cover the expenses - transportation, props, clothing, make-up, food, gear rentals and some music licenses.

As I wrote earlier, 2000 dollars should be enough to cover it all. The film in terms of tech is not such a big project to make. There is only a bit of compositing and CGI planned. I have several options regarding financing the project:


1. I could contact national television, which of course leads an AV-project funding campaign;

2. There are several local institutions that could possibly be interested in supporting my project;

3. Crowdfunding - I heard Indiegogo is good for those kind of things;

4. Sponsorship - I could contact some local companies;

5. Band coverage - I want to use a song in the edit by the most commercially successful rock band in my country. Normally, I would

have to buy a music license, but what if I try to get the project supported by this band since the most important scene in the film will be using their famous song?

6. A high school leading a drama department in my city supports those kinds of projects, but since I go to a different school with a music curriculum, I don't know if their authorities would want to support me. I am still looking for main actress-protagonist, which may be schooling there so there is a chance of success with this method;


I have prepared several documents regarding the film. That includes the rewritten screenplay in the professional form, storyboard, budgeting documents, location and props/gear notes etc. I wish to start the production by the end of the year and continue it through the next 6 months.

I would be very happy and thankful if some of you shared some pieces of advice on how to continue the preproduction for this project I love and really, really want to finish. I need tips and advice on producing this kind of project in my current circumstances. I hope I shared enought information regarding my situation...

Thank you :)




Edited by Martin Klabus
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With any production you want to keep the scope of it within your means financially and logistically. Here are some producing tips.


Radios for exterior shoots. Have walkies for all outside shoots especially if you're working in a loud urban environment.


Call sheets are a must. Learn how to prep those.


20 locations is a lot of shooting to manage. Typically you don't want to do more than one "company move" in a day. Unless they are all within walking distance or something. Company moves are the worst. They take up your whole day and really disrupt the flow of the shoot creatively as well as financially, practically etc.


If you're talking about 20 different street addresses that are each more than 10 minute drives apart, you are probably looking at a weeklong shoot at the very least.


Are you doing scenes at each location or are some of the locations just cutaways? If you have full on scenes at 20 locations, you're doing a pretty big short film.


$2000 would barely cover crew and gear costs for a single day even on a student film. Sound and your DP alone will take at least half that unless they are friends. Then there's hmu and the A.C. / grip. Transpo locations, insurance and catering would eat up the rest.


If all that and the gear is being given to you free of charge, you're definitely in luck. In which case my final piece of advice is to feed everyone really well. They are doing you a huge favor. No fastfood or pizza on set. haha. When everyone is contributing their time and gear free of charge, you show your appreciation through kick ass catering. Offer a 2nd meal if the shoot gets to hour 12. When that happens, sometimes pizza is all that's available and it's usually okay. Just not as the main meal. Have a p.a. do frequent coffee runs and have bottled water on set. Good luck.

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Michael, thanks for the kind advice :)


I will definitely prepare call sheets, use walkies and feed em' well ;)


Half of my locations consists of exteriors and the other half interiors. Most of the locations represent a full scene.

Most of the interior locations are not more than a 15 minute walk apart, although most exteriors are as much as 1,5h drive apart. As I wrote in my original post, I plan to shoot the film in the span of 5-6 months, since the story starts off in winter and concludes in spring/summer. The shoots won't last longer than 10 hours. I was thinking about squeezing all interior shoots in one week but that probably won't be possible because of crew/cast availability...


As for the gear and eq, most of the equipment we will be using (lenses, slider/dolly, tripods, glidecam, sound eq etc.) is owned by me or my camera crew, but we still need to rent a small jib, some lighting eq and our main camera.


Again, thanks for the feedback!




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