Getting the best out of a low budget: Part One - (cast, crew and FX)
As filmmakers we are always trying to get the best deal we can out of a budgets especially when in the low thousands or in our case hundreds. So this is my advice for the level of films that we are working with.
Paying for actors and crew is the ethical and the nice thing to do, but is it the right thing to do? Well I don’t think so, because that is money that the film would lose out on especially in the horror genre when this money would be better spent on special FX. You may think what the hell is he talking about, well if you are dealing with the budgets that we are talking about you ain’t gonna be able to pay these guys very much anyway so why waste what you have, however it is imperative to concentrate on the cast and crew enjoying the experience with you and buying into your enthusiasm and ethos. This will create a family atmosphere among everyone that will no doubt translate onto the final film. With the extra money that goes into your production any watching audience will be able to see the benefits of that budget in the actual film as the effects will make it a better production and knowing the horror audience the gore is everything if done well. In turn any future productions may be funded by profits from this production, this may allow you to look after the people who have looked after you on this project, also dependant on their performances this may lead to other payed worked from other production companies via show reels which you could do for the actors as payment for working with you. However if the money has not gone into the final on screen film and instead on actors, crew, etc. then the film could suffer and could become another run of the mill film that no one cares about which in turn leads to everyone involved wanting to distance themselves from the production. Everyone involved needs the film to be as good as it can be to reflect their efforts, and that will ultimately be dependent on your direction and edit. If everyone involved have enjoyed their experience with you and your company I’m sure they would work with you again for free, but if you can then afford to look after these guys in the future then do it, after all you owe them. And remember make sure you have one hell of a night to remember at the premiere of your film and you can all celebrate your efforts among what was at first an enthusiastic cast and crew but are now people you can call good friends.