Written by: Charles Matthau
Summary: Make your indie production look polished with these tips on production value.
Big-budget productions have a lot of polish, but you can do a lot with a low budget if you know how to spend your money. Production value isn’t just about a-list celebrities and top notch special effects. What makes for higher production value is solid camera work and experienced crew members. In the interest of spending your money on aspects of the production likely to have a higher impact.
Hiring Key People
Hiring key people is also important. Certain positions will be well-worth the cost to fill, because they can help smooth your workflow. It’s also possible sometimes to barter your way out of a situation like this, where you offer space in your film’s credits in exchange for a service. It’s not a magic-bullet solution, but you won’t know if you don’t ask. Plus, you can save money for personnel by renting equipment you might normally buy.
The Importance of Location
Booking a location can be expensive, not just the fees to film but the costs of hauling production supplies and paying crew for the day. If the location is not very accessible, your crew may have a harder time moving equipment and sets into place. Instead, opt for vast location and shoot from one or two spots around it. Establishing shots are a great example. They may look expensive, but you can stand atop a mountain with a tripod in the right city. Try taking a hike near your location and scouting some areas worth shooting.
The key is your script. Scripts that call for ambitious location changes may be too expensive for an indie director, especially someone early on in his or her career.