Cheap Shots

a no-budget filmmaker’s toolkit

misusing vehicles

build your own fabrics filter

introduction & purpose

So, you want to make a movie, but lack the funds. You’ve scraped together all you could and bought a decent camera. A lens or two. Maybe a tripod. You rallied your friends to be your crew, found some hungry actors who’ll work for experience and wrote a decent script. But knowing that in Hollywood the moniker »Low-Budget« begins at about 5 Mil, you must face the music: You’re No-Budget. Reason to despair? After all you’ll need tracking shots, lighting, filtering and all that jazz. You check the camera equipment companies: an arm and a leg. Rental houses: not much better. What to do? First, let’s take some advice from one of the most prolific of the no-budget kings:

shoulder rig

glass objects

glass objects


glass objects

Creativity, not money, is used to solve problems. – Robert Rodriguez


Welcome to »Cheap Shots«. This compendium is by no means comprehensive – it never could be. Your specific challenges require your specific solutions. It is a collection of ideas on how to tackle problems often encountered on no-budget productions – specifically regarding the camera department. It is a toolkit to browse through and be inspired. To have starting points to build from and adapt. To put you in the mindset of an independent filmmaker, exploring those possibilities around you, one might otherwise overlook.

But it is also a celebration of the industry-independent film-making spirit and the rejection of the toxic connection between art and money. Roger Corman (»King of the B’s«) called motion pictures a »slightly corrupted art form« because »they combine art and business«. Let’s take the business out of it again.

So – browse, think, go forth and be inventive. Hopefully »Cheap Shots« will help you to get started.