10 Easy Tips for Producing a Small Budget Screenplay

10 Easy Tips for Producing a Small Budget Screenplay

This screenwriting workshop will explore the most commonly used abbreviations and how they are used correctly in scripts.

By Jen B


Wondering how to write a screenplay in a small budget? Thinking what should be the main elements to be included in it? What is the screenwriting language? Well, here is an overview and few tips for you to understand how to sell a screenplay that is made in a very small budget.

It’s important to understand that movies fall into different categories; ranging from low budget films, high budget films and micro budget films. There isn’t any fix budget nor a category for a ‘perfect’ screenplay. These small or micro budget films are usually made by beginners who have limited resources and need to spend wisely. Hence, you need to look for ways to be more cost effective and this is the place where a good screenwriter comes in handy. No matter what type of small scale project you are working on, you need to know how to write a good small budget screenplay.

Here are some easy and effective tips for you;

1) Include fewer locations

Since you’re on a tight budget so using fewer locations is better. Chose one or two common places that fulfill requirements for all the scenes. Don’t try to rent expensive places, instead try to see if you can get some place for free. That way making a few necessary changes doesn’t exceed your budget. Limiting your location will also save the trouble of moving the entire crew to a new area therefore saving money.

2) Make the script easy to understand

Make sure that what you write is understandable for the audience. The screenplay ideas must not be complex and the viewer should be able to relate to your topic. Make things clear so that the audience enjoys your story. Don’t confuse people with your story, instead write a script that is self-explanatory.

3) Strong Story line

Small budget films are also being made with the money of investors so write screenplays that sell easily. Genres such as comedy, thriller, action and horror concepts are more easily sold to the audience than any other concept. These screenplay ideas are much more searched and liked so when you write on one of these topics than the chances of success improve significantly.

4) Use real life scenarios

If your screenplay requires a lot of green screen time than you are on dwelling on the wrong path. It will use majority part of the budget that will eventually land you in trouble. Save yourself from this mistake and include minimum amount of digital work. Try to create something that can be done in real time and with real people. That way no compromise has to be made on other expenses.

5) Having lesser number of people

You need to minimize the number of people working in your play. Have a small cast with relevant people. Managing a large number of people is tiresome and catering to their needs is even more challenging. So skipping the extras can save your budget and your energy. You will require smaller spaces, less food, less costumes and much more importantly lesser number of people to pay to.

6) Have an Outstanding Ending

As a screenwriter always know how to end your screenplay. Keeping the budget in mind, write a screenplay that can also be produced within that money. Make it short but make sure that the story is complete. Don’t leave any unanswered questions and unsolved mysteries. All is well when the end is well so write a strong ending that leaves an impact. Don’t expect your screenplay to be a hit if your ending is vague. A great ending can save a below average script so spend a good amount of time on this last part.

7) Cut down on the stunts

Yes having amazing and dangerous stunts can be so satisfying but is it worth it? Well these stunts cost a lot and small budget films cannot handle these expenditures. Reducing the number of stunts will surely help the screenplay meet the deadline. If there is a dire need to have them than try using a low scale stunt that costs as less as possible.

8) Create characters that connect with audience

The first question in the minds of many is that is it hard to sell a screenplay? Well the answer to this is no. If you connect with your audience than it won’t be. Giving extra attention to minute details about characters helps make things better and that in turn helps attract audience. Make sure that these players in your script jive with your audience. Engage people with great characters that are memorable to make your script a hit.

9) Thorough research

Always remember avoid start working on your script without doing some backend research. How can you write on a topic that you don’t know about? So make sure that you gather some information before you jot down your ideas. Talk to people, search topics related to your story and learn the tips and tricks used in writing good scripts.

Knowledge is power and when you do relevant research than building a good script becomes easier and all this procedure hardly costs you anything.

10) Focus on Editing

No one said that writing scripts is easy but the more difficult part is writing a script in a low budget. Make sure that your script is edited as much as possible. Reduce all extra details and try to minimize the extra details. If something can be made clear in one line than don’t waste additional space and time. Try to make it as economical as possible.
Writing for a low budget film is incredibly hard because not only do you need to keep the script short and precise but you also need to effectively use the budget.

You will require a lot of courage, strength and determination to write this script because you don’t have a lot of money to spend. However proper focus and these 10 quick tips will surely steer you in the right direction.

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