Creative concept and budget don’t often go well together especially if you have big ideas and a very small budget. Even the most well thought out film idea or concept is not a project until it has been written out and formally budgeted. This means that you will have to properly develop your creative concepts and have a solid plan rather than just having them in your head as most film makers do. This is so you can look at the resources you have and allocate what money you have for production or seek outside funding which is always difficult. This is especially true for low or no budget film projects, which have their own challenges and require creativity to fill the gap where money is not available.
Hugely creative film concepts can really start to tip the scales in terms of the amount of money needed to produce them. It’s obvious that films such as Terminator 2 cost many millions of dollars to produce simply because of its high creative concepts and in comparison, the movie The Blair Witch Project, although a great story, didn’t have much more than teenagers filming with camcorders and production costs were still hundreds of thousands of dollars. So now that you’ve identified your creative concepts and have a fairly good idea on how much the movie production will cost, you will need to seek extra funding from investors and/or minimize what you can in production to still achieve a similar effect.
Start identifying what you have available in the setting of the story idea you are working on. Things that could be included in this are equipment and resources, your performers and crew, and the abilities that you have as the producer and/or director. Identify where you are lacking and then alter your base idea to reflect the available resources that you have on hand. Once the project begins to be transformed, you need to find what you absolutely must have. You could reduce or eliminate characters that are not absolutely needed and work out which are the expensive scenes to try to cut the cost. Decide which crew members you need and then cross off other crew positions that you are not able to afford. Film making is all about contacting investors and distributors, and part of your film plan should be to have the ability to adapt, but this does not mean that you should modify your film so much that it’s nowhere near your original concept. Look at the possibilities and critique them as far as possible.
There will be certain times where it may be absolutely necessary to hire an outside, experienced team member in order to achieve your vision. The amazing thing is that sometimes, hiring an expert may actually cost you less in the long run. As example could be filming a scene from inside a car on London City streets. If you were to physically do this, expenses would pile up pretty quickly including closing streets, insurance, a raft of professional equipment and stunt drivers, whereas if you were to hire an expert in VFX/Green-screen, you could film in the studio and edit to incorporate the car chase on a London street. The possibilities are endless!