Shooting is an incredibly taxing process. From the moment the script is completed and a director is hired, if the writer isn’t also the director, chaos ensues. This chaos is embodied by the need to find actors, a crew, further investors, and pre and post production teams. Now if it is a big project backed by any of the big names in the film industry, money’s no object. However, if it is an independent production, chances are it has a bare-bones crew and budget. As a result of this, many independent movies have learned the art of stretching the dollar to make it last as long as possible. As a result of this many independent productions have taken to shooting on location instead of on a sound stage or building expensive sets and having their scenes fixed in post-production. These independent productions have also foregone the traditional marketing strategies and have started using digital marketing to promote their movies.
Here are six sure-shot techniques to use in order to make one’s production budget last until the completion of the movie.
1. Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst.
When shooting on location, always hope for the best, but do not be naive. Always be prepared for the worst because every single thing that can go wrong, will definitely go wrong. The environmental factors might not cooperate and force productions to shut down due to storms. The sun may be blisteringly bright or not bright at all. The skies may not be clear or may be too clear. The delivery company that is supposed to deliver equipment and essentials such as porta-potties may overschedule and arrive late. Sometimes they do not arrive at all. For times like these, always have a backup ready. In terms of natural factors, always have some sort of sturdy shelter ready on hand or nearby that is easily accessible. Restaurants, libraries, and gas stations have restrooms that the production team can use. Always scout the location of the shoot beforehand and map it out as much as possible. Have a quick exit strategy in case of a medical emergency, especially if one is shooting in a remote location.
2. Communication is Key.
Always be in communication with the various teams scattered across the location. Make sure that the base camp can communicate with the people on location. Never cheapen out when investing in walkie talkies. Different walkie talkies have different terrain ranges. Some walkie talkies start shorting out when used in the desert, some start to go haywire when used during snowstorms. Length of the distance also affects the range of walkie talkies. While many productions have turned to use their phones for communicative purposes, a strong signal might not always be available. Hence, never cheapen out when buying walkie talkies. They can make or break a production.
3. Budget Everything.
Never assume how much something is going to cost. Always get proper quotations and a budget for everything. Also, make sure to set aside at least 10% of the budget as incidental funds. This fund cannot be touched during pre-production. It is only to be used in case of an emergency occurring on location.
4. Keeping the Team Safe.
The production team is going to witness some extremely harsh conditions when shooting an independent movie on location. The investors and the director are responsible for ensuring the team’s safety. This means having insurance, even if it is the most basic version available, having proper evacuation protocols in case of an emergency, and reminding everyone to keep their vitals up. As a production team, it is going to be working tirelessly under rain or shine to bring the movie’s vision to life. Hence, the investors and the director must do all they can to keep everyone safe.
5. Let the Location Sing.
If the location does not fit the idea of the movie perfectly, improvise and get creative with it. Do whatever it takes to make the location stand out and help with the narration of the plot. Many times the final location of the movie is nothing like the one the director had in their minds, however, in the final product, the location used fits in better than the one imagined. Always leave room for creativity.
6. Not Everything Can be Controlled.
It is supremely easy to get overwhelmed while working on location due to the number of things that go wrong. As a result of this, the production team may start to lose their morale. In order to avoid this, one needs to fundamentally understand that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Some problems are easy to deal with, others not so much. Instead of stressing about the problems, accept them and move forward.
Chile is an emerging country where more and more productions are going to get that perfect scenic shot. It is one of the less expensive southern American countries but still is ripe with beautiful locations. The infrastructure of the country has the capacity to accommodate a production’s needs. Chile is granting more and more productions visas because of the money these productions bring with them.
Many independent movies have next to no marketing budget and depend on digital marketing along with word of mouth. This allows their movies to gain traction. While this type of marketing is considered guerilla marketing for the bigger production houses, a publicity stunt, it is the only form of marketing that independent movies can afford. Independent movies in Malaysia can use Republic. It is a firm for digital marketing in Malaysia.