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  • Viknesh Silvalingam

Use Guerilla filmmaking to bring your film to life!

These days, making a film has never been easier. Thanks to the major advancement of filmmaking technology in recent decades, getting a film especially a low-budget one produced has never been easier. The challenge however is getting viewers to actually watch it, which is a different blog altogether.

One methodology of filmmaking that most if not all micro to low budget independent utilize is Guerilla filmmaking. (1*) Though it normally applies to independent low-budget films, even big-budget films, like Black Swan(2*), The French Connection(3*), and The Terminator(4*) have utilized guerilla filmmaking techniques, for example filming in public places without a proper permit.

Black Swan - Shot on ARRI Super 16mm, Canon 7D, Canon 1D Mark IV, and Canon 5D Mark II

French Connection - Renegade filmmakers, no city permits, and at least one crash with an unsuspecting driver

The Terminator - Because of their restricted budget, much of the filming was done at night. A lot could be hidden under the cover of darkness... and the permits were far cheaper.

This route is often taken because permit costs can rack up in a hurry, blowing what little budget an indie film has to work with The term "guerilla" is usually associated with rampant disregard for authority and convention, guerilla filmmaking is often bored out of sheer desperation and necessity.

No matter what people say, raising funds for a project, not just a film project, takes effort, and it's not an easy process. Even the best filmmakers struggle to raise money. (5*)

Whether you’re attempting to produce an independent film with a budget of $500,000 or $5,000, you will need to come up with funding strategies and a plan for securing all the necessary funds you’ll need to shoot the film. You’ll also need to be versatile and creative with the budget you’re given in order to produce a successful film.

If you’re interested in making a film, you’re not only going to need to learn the creative and artistic side of it, but you’re also going to need to learn the business side of it as well. (6*) Below are the tried and tested methods filmmakers utilize to raise money. DO keep in mind they depend on the type of project you are engaging in.

BEFORE you start on your film, you would still need to set yourself up as a production company(11*). This production company will at least make sure that once your film makes some money, there will be a legitimate way for your to store that cash. There are many steps you need to take to set up a production company but if you need to run it bar bones guerilla-style, here are the 3 that you might need to start with:

  1. Determine your company's niche. What type of content do you plan to specialize in creating? Maybe you want to produce low-budget horror features, or maybe your focus is sci-fi genre projects or artistic independent films. It's important to narrow your company's brand identity to guide you when choosing projects to produce.

  2. Incorporate your business. If you want to start your business the right way, you'll want to formally organize it as a limited liability company, an S-Corp, a C-Corp, or a sole proprietorship. While a sole proprietorship is the easiest legal entity to establish, the drawback is that as the owner you are legally liable for any lawsuits made against the company. A Limited Liability Company (or LLC) is a better option for most production companies starting out because it provides great flexibility in regards to legal liability and business taxes.

  3. Build a website and create a social media presence. Hollywood players need to be able to find your company online, so hire a website designer to create a simple but informative website for your company. Less is usually more with production company websites—your contact info and brief examples of your work are usually all you need. It's important to have a social media presence as well, but until your company expands to have a constant stream of content, it may be unnecessary to hire someone specifically to run your social pages.

Bonus: Purchase production insurance. Accidents happen in film production—from crew members slipping on set to stunt performers getting injured while filming dangerous feats. In the event, any unexpected incidents occur, you'll need a good insurance policy to protect you.

The film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment, and a powerful medium for educating—or indoctrinating—citizens. The visual basis of film gives it a universal power of communication. So go on and make your film, short or feature, and don't let anyone or anything stop you from doing so.

Author’s Notes/References












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