With the rollout of video hosting sites such as YouTube and Vimeo almost a decade ago, filmmakers around the world have been able to showcase and share their movies with very little restrictions. Meanwhile, digital technology has made it even easier to shoot and edit films on smaller budgets. If you are just starting out and learning how to become a director, learning how to shoot your films with little to no budget is a must! Here are our top five filmmaking tips on a zero budget from our film directing school in Orlando, FL.

Here are five filmmaking tips to help you learn how to make films on absolutely no budget at all:


Do you think the audience cares what the filmmaking budget was if the storyline keeps them drawn to the screen? All you need is to keep them engaged! To ensure that your story is enticing, make sure it has these four elements:

  • Characters with specific goals – This allows the audience to measure whether or not the goal was achieved or if the character(s) failed. IE, the girl was rescued, the couple fell in love, the bad guy was captured…
  • A setting – Every story has to have a setting, be it common, strange or unique.
  • Interesting dialogue – Your screenplay or movie needs to include dialogues that capture the attention of your audience. The dialogues need to be interesting enough to keep their attention until the story ends.
  • Attention-grabbing actions – The actions of your characters need to make sense and be relevant to the story. They should also match the personalities and story lines of the characters taking the actions.

A top film directing school will teach you how to formulate a compelling storyline so your independent film project has the direction it needs to come together in the end.


Location changes can be one of the most expensive components of no-budget filmmaking, if you’re not careful. It takes a big budget to move your cast, crew, equipment, sets, etc. from one location to the next. It’s also very time consuming, which drives up the costs even more.

To save money, reduce the amount of location moves when making your film. If you’re on a zero budget, eliminate location moves altogether. Paranormal Activity is prime example of this, and just think how successful it turned out to be!


Sound is a very important element to creating a great film. Professional filmmakers put a great deal of time into creating and considering the right sounds to add to their movies and the sound can totally change the vibe of a scene. These sounds don’t have to cost much, or anything at all, to create. That’s because the human brain is wired so that sound plays off of images.

Here’s an example: have you ever noticed how if you have to strain to hear what characters are saying, the picture seems to go dim? Even when watching movies with subtitles, people tend to want the sound up so that they can feel like they hear it better, even though they can’t understand one word.

This is also another great point to make about attending top film schools. With the technology behind equipment and the techniques needed to use it effectively, it makes a lot more sense to get the education you need. If you want to take your projects to the next level, this will be a must. Not to mention, film schools have access to higher-end equipment that someone who is just starting will not have.


One of the main revenue streams for filmmaking and distribution projects comes from soundtracks. Even after a movie has left theaters and is no longer selling on DVD, its musical hits will continue to thrive. If done right, you can profit from the soundtrack’s mechanical copyright royalties.


Editing can make or break your film. Spend time going over each scene and eliminating what doesn’t need to be there and emphasizing the elements that do. Don’t be afraid to show the rough cut to a few people you trust will give you an honest opinion.

Editing is done on computers. We typically use Apple computers running with Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier for editing. These are both very technical software, but the abilities they have is amazing to say the least. If you do not yet have access to, or don’t the know how to use those video editing programs, you can always start off with iMovie HD. This software comes standard with every Apple computer, and is still a good place to start the editing process.


If you have a true passion for the film and video industry,  F.I.R.S.T. Institute‘s Film Directing School in Orlando, Florida is a great place to get the hands on training needed to launch your film directing career. As a student, you will work on several industry related projects such as commercials, testimonials, documentaries, music videos, and even a short film.

At F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Film School, we pride ourselves on offering small classes with career specific training. Our Orlando Film School instructors are industry professionals who are dedicated to getting you the training that you need to succeed in this competitive industry. You could be our next success story! Classes are enrolling now, so contact us today!