Re-Inventing Micro-Budget Film Production: Why The Old Rules No Longer Apply

For decades, there has been one prevailing philosophy on micro-budget filmmaking.

It’s that same basic set of rules we’ve all heard a thousand times before. And it goes something like this…

“If you’re making a micro-budget feature, pick an idea that can be shot with…”

  • One location
  • Two actors
  • Minimal shooting days

While this formula is still viable, it’s far from the only model.

It was developed in an entirely different era, when even the smallest of productions were significantly more complex and expensive.

Today, the tables have turned. With the right approach, you can now make a micro-budget feature with:

  • Countless locations
  • A large ensemble cast
  • Unlimited shooting days

For a fraction of what it used to cost to make a “two-characters talking in a room” feature, you can now make something far more dynamic.

This is the new micro-budget filmmaking model, and I truly believe it will eclipse everything that came before it.

Gone are the days when we needed to back our stories into a singular production framework.

We no longer need to turn away otherwise great ideas because they require 5 locations instead of 1. Or because they call for an ensemble cast instead of a two-hander.

We’re entering a new era in DIY filmmaking. One that is (oddly) starting to look more and more like studio filmmaking and less like traditional indie filmmaking.

Shooting 3 pages per day across many locations was once a luxury reserved exclusively for big budget productions.

Today though, many micro-budget features (or even no-budget features) are produced in a very similar style.

Sure, the scope is dramatically smaller. But the creative approach is closer to Hollywood filmmaking than ever before… Only without the massive amounts of wasted money and time.

The single greatest objection to micro-budget filmmaking that I hear is:

“I don’t want to make a small movie with one location and two actors.”

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to.

Every rule in the book has now been thrown out the window.

There is no longer one way to make a micro-budget movie, there are a thousand.

You can shoot a feature with no crew (like I just did) and spread your shoot over many months.

You shoot for 3 hours a day instead of 12. You can use as many locations as you like, and take as much time as you like.

So long as you find a way to keep your overhead low and your footprint small, you can adapt your production to work under practically any circumstance.

Is it going to be easy? Definitely not. Making a great film never is.

And succeeding on this level requires that you completely re-invent your approach to the craft. From your own role on set to how you schedule your production.

But there is no denying that great filmmaking has become more accessible than ever before.

There has never been a better time to be a filmmaker.

Let’s not waste this moment in film history.

Create, take risks, and blaze a new path.

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About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!


  • Louis

    Propose a book to Focal Press or Penguin. A next-gen “Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices” is overdue.


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