Budgeting for short or independent films
Don't just spend your limited budget on the shoot and then hope to get post-production and VFX for free, especially if your film is VFX heavy! (In other words, you shot a lot of green-screen material, which relies on vfx to complete the scene). Many filmmakers make the mistake of thinking filmmaking budgets should all go on cameras, kit etc. and the rest can be done in favors. Wrong! You should think about it the other way round, which is – the budget should be spent on skills and talent as it’s organic and the creative input, labour and talent is necessary to tell your story.
Borrow equipment and pay for effort
Equipment is non-organic and is just hardware and therefore those are the things you should be trying to get a good deal for, for example in return for using the kit you put their logo in the credits of the film or they can use the film as PR for selling their kit to customers etc.
For Fubar Redux I used the idea of technology sponsorship where the vfx technology tools developers (made sense since Fubar Redux is vfx driven) let me use their tools and provided me with licenses in return for a case study to be written by me, Beta testing results sent to them, and they can use the film in their product showcase reel.
The importance of good audio
Most importantly do not scrimp on Audio! Make sure you have budget set aside for music and sound effects. One of the things I learnt on Fubar Redux was having lots of VFX on screen is lovely but having the right well-crafted sound effects lifts the visual effects out from the screen to the audience! A polished soundtrack makes your film. With good audio your film will feel more professional and will give the audience a better experience - and you will be taken more seriously at festivals and screenings too. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can get away without doing a proper sound mix or mastering: you may have amazing cinematography and visual effects but if your sound is bad the audience will switch off. Remember you want the audience to leave with a cinema experience.
You can watch HaZ’s short film - Fubar Redux on www.fubar-movie.com