Microbudget Filmmaking A: The Route to Development and Production

Learn proven, cost-effective filmmaking and business techniques for producing a $50,000 (or less!) film project.

10–5pm (Classroom 1)

Unlimited Classes

Take as many as you want for $350 month. Or for $500 month also get a daily work space.

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Back by popular demand!

In this class, you will learn proven, cost-effective filmmaking and business techniques for producing a $50,000 (or less!) film project. We’ll go step-by-step through the filmmaking process to discover tips and tricks for developing, planning, and producing a microbudget film.

During this day-long course, filmmaker Paul Harrill will take you through each stop on the road to making your film: how to build a lean budget from your initial conception or screenplay, how to navigate funding (through self-finance or crowdsourcing or other means), and how to responsibly manage all the stages of production to stay on (or under!) budget while keeping true to the spirit of the project. 


THE ROUTE TO DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION is the first of our fall Microbudget Filmmaking courses with filmmaker Paul Harrill. The second part, THE ROUTE TO FESTIVALS AND DIY DISTRIBUTION, will take place November 11.

While these two course work independently of each other, we encourage those interested to sign up for both. If you are interested in both, we encourage you to consider our Silver Classwork Package, and get any other Made in NY Media Center courses offered in this month for FREE!



Filmmaker Magazine: Why Make a Microbudget Film? Five Questions for Director Paul Harrill on the Virtues of Ultra-Low Budgets


The first day of the day-long course will take students through the development and pre-production phases of a microbudget film project.

After a midday break, the latter part of the day will delve shooting your film, the strategies and tips involved in being on a microbudget film set, and how to think ahead toward festivals and distribution while in post-production on your project. 

What You Will Learn

  • Developing a script or story treatment that can be filmed on a microbudget.

  • Raising money from investors, fans, friends, and family (and the legal issues involved).

  • Pre-production tips for an efficient and well-scheduled shoot with special attention given to locations, permits, and insurance.

  • Score on-set tips and explore answers to other mysterious, on-the-fly production questions. (We’ll also discuss catering a microbudget shoot!)

  • Get an brief overview of the film festival and digital distribution landscape, and how to build these strategies into your microbudget.

Prerequisites & Preparation

Students are encouraged to register at least a week in advance so that they may share information about their film (which may be in any stage of conception, development, or production) with the instructor in advance.

About the instructor

Paul  Harrill

Paul Harrill

Paul Harrill’s films have screened around the world at festivals, museums, and on television. SOMETHING, ANYTHING, Harrill’s microbudget debut feature, was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick, earned an “Essential Viewing” tag from The Dissolve, and was called a work of “simple, unforgettable beauty” by The film was listed as one of the Top 25 Best First Features in IndieWire’s 2015 Year-End Critics’ Poll. Harrill’s other films include the shorts Gina, An Actress, Age 29, which won the Grand Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival and Quick Feet, Soft Hands, a co-production with the Independent Television Service starring Greta Gerwig.

In 2005, Paul founded to champion personal, regional, and do-it-yourself cinema. His work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, IFP, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Aperture Film Grant, among others.

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