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The $50 Short Film

Are you a budding filmmaker looking to make your mark in the industry without breaking the bank? Look no further than the $50 short film! In this blog post, we'll explore how creating a compelling and high-quality short film doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. From creative budgeting tips to resourceful production tactics, we'll guide you through the process of making a standout movie on a shoestring budget. So, grab your camera and let's start filming – because with just 20 bucks you can make your dreams of becoming a filmmaker a reality.

film slate or clapboard

What is the $50 Short Film?

In order to make a $50 short film, you'll need to first understand what a short film is, as well as what exactly makes it a $50 short film. A short film is typically defined as a movie that is 40 minutes or less in length. However, for the purposes of this blog post let’s say 10 minutes or less, because in my opinion the shorter the short film the better. Short shorts program better than longer shorts at festivals. Get in, then get out, and leave them wanting more. Your $50 will also go further on a 10 min or less short film than a longer one. Your $50 is going to be used to feed your super small crew.

Now that you know the parameters of what constitutes a $50 short film, you'll need to start thinking about your story. What is your film going to be about? What is the central conflict? Who are the characters? Once you have a solid understanding of your story, you can start brainstorming ways to visually represent it on screen.

If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available online and in libraries that can help you with the filmmaking process. And remember, even though you're working with a limited budget, that doesn't mean your film can't be high quality. With a little creativity and hard work, you can create a $50 short film that's sure to impress audiences!

How to make a $50 Short Film

All you need to make your $50 short film is a camera, some basic editing software, and a few creative friends. Here's how:

1. Find a camera. Any camera will do, as long as it can record video. Your smartphone will work, or you could borrow an old camcorder from a friend. At this point in your creative journey, you don’t have to worry about making your $50 short film look like a shiny Hollywood feature, you just have to finish it.

2. Gather your crew. You'll need at least one other person to help you with the filming, someone to handle sound, and someone else who can do the editing (unless you can tackle the edit yourself). That’s it. You and your crew can all wear multiple hats, and work together to get the lighting, wardrobe, props, shots, etc. just right.

3. Write a script. Keep it simple, since you're working with limited resources. A good rule of thumb is to keep your script under 10 pages. Remember, the shorter the better. Also, try to keep the locations and cast to a minimum. The less moving you have to do the better, and it’s easier to wrangle one or two actors than it is 5 or more.

4. Start filming! Get creative and have fun with it. Remember that you can always edit out many mistakes later on, and even if you can’t, then count those as experience and sleep well knowing that on your next $50 short film you won’t make the same mistakes.

5. Edit your footage. This is where having someone else who knows how to use the editing software comes in handy. They can help you put together your final product and make sure it looks polished and professional, and if you look hard enough, you’ll be able to find someone willing to help a hungry new filmmaker. However, don't discount the value of learning to edit yourself. Sure, it may not look as good as getting a professional to do the job, but it’ll get you close to being able to realize your ideas on your own and teach you how to communicate those ideas better on set.


What equipment do you need?

In order to make a $50 short film, you will need some essential equipment. This includes a camera, tripod, microphone, and lighting.

A camera is the most important piece of equipment for making your $50 short film. You can use a DSLR camera, a camcorder, or even your smartphone. Just make sure the camera you use is able to shoot video.

A tripod is important for keeping your shots steady and avoiding blurry footage. A microphone is also crucial for capturing clear audio. And finally, good lighting will help your film look its best. Talk to your friends and see if you can round up some of this equipment for free, and if not, remember Kevin Smith used a hockey stick as a boom pole on Clerks. There’s always a way to get it done. Don’t let the hurdles stop you from creating.

With this basic equipment, you’re ready to start making your $50 short film!

dslr camera

The benefits of making a $50 Short Film

There are many benefits to making a $50 short film. For one, it forces you to be creative and think outside the box. With such a low budget, you have to get creative with your locations, props, and actors. This can lead to some really unique and interesting films. Secondly, it's a great way to learn filmmaking on a shoestring budget. You can experiment with different techniques and styles without having to worry about losing a lot of money. Thirdly, it can be a great calling card for future projects. If you make a good $50 short film, you can use it to show off your skills and get people interested in working with you on future projects. Finally, it's just plain fun! Making a movie is an incredibly rewarding experience, even if it is only a few minutes long.

How to market your $50 Short Film

Assuming you have a finished product that you believe is solid, the first step is to submit your film to festivals. Research which festivals are a good match for your project. There are many different types of festivals, from those that focus on independent films to those that highlight a specific genre or region. Film Freeway is a good place to check out different festivals.

Most festivals have an entry fee, so be sure to take that into consideration if you decide to submit to festivals. Once you've been accepted to a festival, promote your screening on social media and through email marketing. Create a Facebook event and invite all your friends, family, and anyone else you think might be interested. Make sure to include key details like the date, time, and location of the screening.

If you don't get into any festivals, don't despair! You can still reach your audience by self-distributing your film online. Platforms like Vimeo and YouTube make it easy to share your work with the world. Use SEO strategies to ensure people can find your film when they search for related keywords. And again, don't forget to promote your content on social media and through email marketing.


Making a short film can be an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience. By following the suggestions in this article, we hope that you have been motivated to create your own $50 short film. With some creativity, planning, and budgeting you should be able to come up with something memorable and achievable – all without breaking the bank!

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