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Production of a Low Budget Film

What Happens During Film Production Days

I spent the whole day yesterday trying to figure out what valuable thing I can share on the production of a low budget film, or any film for that matter. I had so much to say about preproduction that it took me 2 blogs! I thought I was going through writer’s block.

But no. There isn’t anything to write about production days.

So bye, that’s all.

 

And yet you are still reading.

What Happens During Production

I know people who love being on set more than anything. It is not my favourite part of the filmmaking process. To me it is something I dread on the days leading to it, chaotic and stressful in the beginning, a wonderful time with fun people in the middle, relieved towards the end, and dearly missed soon afterwards.

I am not a morning person. But every day of shoot you end up waking early. Yes I love filmmaking, storytelling is my passion. I look forward to each day’s challenges and love what I get to do. Even then, the act of having to leave my bed, those initial moments, I hate it.

What happens on set varies with the role one plays in it. To anyone standing outside and watching, it looks like a lot of people sitting around, talking, some running, basically doing nothing. To any one in it, it is anything but.

To an assistant director, it is managing people who are late. To an actor it is waiting for the set to be ready. To a makeup man it is talking. To a producer it is running out of time. To a cameraman it is the stray light hitting the wall. To a sound recordist it is the barking dog that no one cares about, but them. To a director it is to get the shot. To the extras it is the food.

Finding Solutions to Problems

That is what actually happens on set. Every minute of every hour of every shoot day is another problem to be solved. And it is exactly for this reason that it is impossible for me to write anything here that can be of any value to you during production.

What I can tell you is that the better you are prepared, with the work you did in preproduction, the easier it is to find solutions during production. It all starts with the script. Every solution is about practically bringing it to life with available resources.

There are a multitude of things happening simultaneously on set and not all of which is quantifiable. It is something that you learn by doing, because the variables are so far and wide. Which is also why it is not a job that is immediately going to be overthrown by a software or a robot.

I only hope that your studies and short films get you onto as many sets as possible. It could be your own low budget films, or someone else’s. Do and learn. Do you have any questions on low budget film production?


Hey Aspiring Filmmaker,

I debuted my film career making a feature film for ₹5 lakhs ($7,000) on an iPhone. I’d like to help you do the same. So I wrote everything I learned into a book. It is now available on Amazon, called The Indian Indie Film (or Make Your Film for rest of the world). Enjoy!

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