Micro-budget science fiction movies

Child on tricycle with jetpack with text: Can you make your science fiction movie on a tiny budget?What is a micro-budget movie?

Let’s define a micro-budget movie as a project that costs less than $20,000 to produce.

This isn’t a magic number. The point is to produce your movie on as small a budget as possible so that you are more likely to recoup your expenses and, eventually, make a profit.

If you make a profit, you can make more movies. See how that works?

Can you make a micro-budget sci-fi film?

I came across an interesting blog post – The 50 Best Sci-Fi Films of the 21st Century Thus Far.

The 50 films chosen as the best are the writer’s opinion, but why don’t we see how many of these movies could have been made on a tiny budget?

49. Signs (M. Night Shyamalan) – The crop circles and alien creature are your only big expenses. It would be possible to make this on a tiny budget.

47. Predestination (Peter and Michael Spierig) – This is a time travel film. You could make a movie very much like this one on a micro-budget.

43. Coherence (James Ward Byrkit) – From looking at the trailer, this looks doable on a tiny budget.

41. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos) – This wouldn’t require any special effects and could be done affordably.

39. The World’s End (Edgar Wright) – You could produce a film similar to this with fewer effects.

38. Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe) – You could do a movie very much like Vanilla Sky on a tiny budget (but why would you want to?).

36. The Man From Earth (Richard Schenkman) – This movie could be produced with a tiny budget.

27. Primer (Shane Carruth) – This one was made on a micro-budget right here in Dallas.

19. Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly) – A creative producer could do something similar on a tiny budget.

18. Looper (Rian Johnson) – Another time travel film that can be affordably produced.

17. The Mist (Frank Darabont) – You need a fog machine, a location, and a talented monster maker, but you could produce this for pennies.

16. Her (Spike Jonze) – Watch the trailer and you’ll see this would be easy to produce with a tiny budget.

12. Timecrimes (Nacho Vigalondo) – This is a foreign language time travel film that could be remade for less than 20K.

4. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth) – You could do something similar on a small budget.

14 out of the 50 films could be produced with our theoretical $20,000 budget.

You could probably make some changes to about 10 more films on the list to keep production costs very low.

If my math is correct, almost half of these movies (with some alterations) could be produced with a tiny budget.

So, yes, you CAN make a micro-budget science fiction film.

Competitive Advantage

Do independent science fiction filmmakers have a competitive edge over other filmmakers?

I was listening to a wonderful interview with Linda Nelson of Indie Rights on The Indie Film Academy Podcast (no link/hacked).

Indie Rights is a movie distribution company in Hollywood.

At about the one-hour mark of the show, Linda said something that really got my attention:

“If you are choosing to do a drama, you are competing with 30,000 other films on a site like Amazon. If you choose to do a sci-fi (film), you might only be competing with 1,500 films.”

So, indie filmmakers, what kind of movie are YOU going to make?

In cased you missed it…

Last week, we talked to Kevin Smith. He is very optimistic about the future of independent films. You can listen to his interview right here.

Links

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Interview with Kevin Smith about indie filmmaking

Kevin Smith: This is a great time to be an indie filmmaker

Kevin Smith was kind enough to talk to us about independent filmmaking after we kidnapped him at Podcast Movement.

Kevin Smith
It’s Kevin Smith (and me)

Kevin has a LOT to say about filmmaking. Such as:

  • Making a movie is completely democratized right now
  • Today, nobody can make a movie
  • That means there is also more competition
  • Kevin pushes people toward podcasting these days – because it’s storytelling
  • Podcasting is rehearsal for filmmaking (which is also storytelling)
  • Podcast until you get your chance to make your film
  • The opportunity comes from you – don’t wait for someone else to come to you to make your film
  • Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” made him want to be a filmmaker
  • You ARE a filmmaker – you just haven’t made your film yet. It starts with that self-belief.
  • Learning to tell your visual story with words (on a podcast) will make you a better filmmaker
  • If podcasting had existed before Kevin made Clerks, he probably wouldn’t be a filmmaker – he’d be a podcaster
  • Practicing your storytelling with podcasts is like being Luke Skywalker with the blast helmet over his eyes and fighting the “floating ball”
  • You can build your audience for your film with a podcast before you make your film

Links

As always

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Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle – part 2

More from Alex

Indie Film Hustle podcast

In part 2 of our interview with Alex Ferrari, we get some great filmmaking advice for independent filmmakers – whether you make science fiction films or not.

Highlights

  1. Will a film festival help you sell your film? 1:22
  2. You gotta put in the work 3:28
  3. Do you have to move to Hollywood to be a filmmaker? 6:14
  4. Alex’s current project – “This is Meg” 8:52
  5. The “crew” for the movie 13:00
  6. The technical details of the film project 13:35
  7. Cast size 17:40
  8. Scriptwriting approach 19:08
  9. Advice for science fiction filmmakers and Bladerunner talk 20:12
  10. Where to find Alex online 26:12

Next week

We’ve got a very special guest next week! That’s all I can say!

This is Meg

As an independent filmmaking community, we should be supportive of each other’s efforts.

I’m supporting “This is Meg” and I encourage you to do the same. Alex is providing a lot of great incentives for filmmakers who support this project.

UPDATE: The project is 82% funded with a few days to go!

This is Meg film poster

Go to ThisIsMeg.com and show this project some love.

Links

As always

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Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle – part 1

Film school in a podcast interview

Indie Film Hustle podcast

In this episode of the Sci-Fi Maker Show, Alex Ferrari of the Indie Film Hustle podcast gives us a LOT of great filmmaking advice for independent filmmakers – whether you make science fiction films or not.

This is almost a complete film school course in a podcast interview.

Highlights

  1. Who is Alex Ferrari? 1:20
  2. How Alex got started in Hollywood 2:22
  3. The kinds of projects Alex worked on 6:05
  4. Working with “Fluffy” (Gabriel Iglesias) 8:08
  5. The marketplace for independent films and opportunities for filmmakers 10:55
  6. Distribution channels for independent films 15:30
  7. Netflix might be your last distribution stop 18:52
  8. Distributors 20:08
  9. What are deliverables and how to save money on them. 24:22
  10. Film festivals 27:35

Next week

Next week, we’ll present part 2 of our interview with Alex. He talks about a new feature he’s directing  called “This is Meg“.

This is Meg

As an independent filmmaking community, we should be supportive of each other’s efforts.

I’m supporting “This is Meg” and I encourage you to do the same. Alex is providing a lot of great incentives for filmmakers who support this project.

This is Meg film poster

Go to ThisIsMeg.com and show this project some love.

Links

As always

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