Get ready! Screenwriters who are excited to write a low budget script but aren't sure exactly where to start, or what to focus on now have a guide in this blog. This series will present the steps to writing a screenplay for a low budget, whether you want to produce it yourself, sell, or use to win a screenplay contest, or pitch your writing and land representation.
Why You’re Here
Why are you here today? It's a good idea to consider intention and motivation for just a moment. That is what fuels action. No matter the reason, the tools here are actionable. These may be the reasons that you’re interested in learning how to write a low budget script. Perhaps you believe:
It's a good place to start as a beginning screenwriter
A lower budget screenplay is more sellable
A lower budget screenplay is easier to make
A lower budget script is faster to write
You want to learn a new skill as a writer
You believe this will help you build a body of work
You're hoping to improve, attract representation, make your movie
You think this will help your career, generate income and find representation
All of those are true.
And while low budget screenplays have gone up and down in popularity and profitability, there are a number of reasons this is the right time to learn this skill. It’s never been more important. Low budget is an elusive description, how low is low? Low budget can be roughly defined as "make it no matter what", a few thousand dollars up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, under $5 million or some other metric. If you're writing something you want to get shooting right away, write from that intention and let that inform your work.
A Reason To Build Low Budget Screenwriting Skills
First, this is the kind of skill that once you learn it, is very flexible. So what that means is that you’ll have a way to move forward with your career, and collaborate with people faster, and more efficiently, than ever before
By surveying the marketplace, which I study all of the time and have a strong understanding of what’s going on, there are a number of reasons this is the right time to write a low budget screenplay:
The Current Movie Marketplace
Covid and the pandemic. Obviously, low-budget screenplays are attractive right in relation to the pandemic. It’s more straightforward to make something that is more contained. People don’t necessarily want to be involved with a giant project, that is very complicated with a lot of moving parts. That’s because it is likely to get interrupted, whether because of variants, travel restrictions, which actors do and don’t want to be vaccinated, etcetera. For screenwriters with a very large script with many moving parts that is very large in scope, they may meet with resistance just due to size. The alternative for many producers and creators to work on a more contained movie, something smaller in scope. Those types of screenplays by definition involve fewer people, lower page counts, less locations, less elaborate settings and so forth. Whether that safer in real life, is beside the point.