How much does it cost to Make a Feature Film on a Micro Budget

indie filmmaking Blog Podcast explores the best ways for you to produce direct and get your film seen by the biggest possible audience

Once you have made a successful Short Film, many filmmakers then set their sights on a Feature Film. How does one make this happen? How does a Filmmaker green light a film.

You may choose to hang around and attempt to raise millions of $ as many people do. This rarely works out unless you know a lot of rich people who are happy to help with donation investments.  Alternatively, a champion Film Financier decides that you are the up-and-coming hot filmmaker and finances you. 

This can happen to the person who makes an amazing short film, writes an incredible feature film script, and somehow gets to know the right people. However, this scenario is exceptionally rare. In fact, this scenario is far more likely to happen after a filmmaker makes an exceptionally successful independent feature film on a micro budget. 

You can spend years trying to raise millions and most likely fail or alternatively you can try the following.  Make a Feature Film with very little cash budget Make a Feature Film like its four Short Films.  This way it is far easier than making the film in one shoot. 

This means that you shoot a 75 minute – 90 Minute Feature Film as if it were 4 short films. For Example 

  • Shoot Weekend 1 —  Friday Saturday Sunday Monday  4 Days 
  • Soot Weekend  2  –   Shoot 6 – 7 Weeks later
    Friday Saturday Sunday Monday  4 Days 
  • Shoot Weekend 3      Shoot 6 – 7 Weeks later    
    Friday Saturday Sunday Monday.    4 Days 
  • Shoot Weekend 4      Shoot 6 – 7 Weeks later    Friday Saturday Sunday Monday  4 Days 
  • Shoot 16 Days Total shot over 4 – 5 months 

This way you get your film made for less money and less stress. You will need about 5K per Shoot or about 20K to shoot the whole feature film. 
(4 Shoots x 5K = $20K) 

The cast and crew work on a first return share, once the film is monetised, as in the 40: 40: 20 model. Everyone wins.  

Last week, I was at a screening of one of my former students from my 5 Month Film School. HIs name is Andreas Tombas and when he started with us on the 5 Month Film School in Sydney, he had no filmmaking experience.  After he graduated from the 5 Month Film School, he had learned how to make films. He then made two short films with the second film being exceptional. 

Then he decided it was time to make a feature film called “A Bad Influence”. He made it for $20,000 from money saved up from his bar job. The Film now has an LA Film Distributor and he now stands to make money every quarter and it will not take long for him to make black his money and see blue sky profits. 

But the best thing about this, is that the film was exceptional and there was a standing ovation for 10 minutes after the premiere screening. I was very proud of him for making such a good film.  It will be released very soon so check it out on Prime Video and other streaming platforms.  He is now about to make his 2nd feature film and he showed a teaser on the same night, and it also looks exceptional. He is on his way to gaining $1 million – $10 million budgets and all because. He got out there and made films on a micro budget.  
The dream can happen, and one can make a film on a very small budget now. 

How much should the budget be for your film?  

20 K would be an absolute minimum micro budget and micro budgets can vary from 20K – 100K depending on what you want to achieve in  your feature film. 

If you are starting on your first feature, go for a smaller cash budget such as 20 – 40K. Spread your shoot over 4 shoots so you only have to raise 5K per shoot. Anyone can do this, if they are passionate and they decide and commit to making a feature film. 

You can learn how to do the above on the 5 Month Film Schools in Sydney and Melbourne  Go Here  

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Colm O'Murchu - Host

Colm O’Murchu is a passionate Indie Filmmaker and owner of the production company, International Film Base. He has directed and produced three successfully released feature films worldwide and one documentary.  

His most recent film Tabernacle 101 has been released in 2019 in the US and will be released in Australia in late 2020 premiering at the Sci Fi Film Festival. He is currently in development on his next feature film Absolute Freedom, an action adventure film set in the outback.

He has spoken at Indie Film Seminars all over the world and created online and offline film courses 

 He lives in the Blue Mountains NSW Australia and loves the outdoors and the mountains.

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