While shooting our series The Best Friend we had a very small budget (yeah, yeah, cry me a river). Good things come from having a small pocketbook. One of them is that is forces you to be creative. The other is that is encourages you to look for (or beg for) the best deals in town.
Fortunately, we had a very experienced crew — and with that experience came a world of knowledge about rental houses in our area. Also, we are lucky to be surrounded by many friends who are also producers or cinematographers — and they had their own Rolodex as well.
1. Ask your friends and ask your crew. Who do you like renting from? Who requires insurance? Who requires a deposit? Who accepts credit cards?
2. Shoot on the weekend (instead of during the week). Most places offer a weekend discount (usually 2 days for the price of one or something equally alluring).
3. If you still can’t afford the weekend rate, see if you can rent a camera or lights from one of your friends. You’d be surprised how many people actually own equipment, or perhaps they have leftover gaff tape or bounce cards you can purchase for reduced rate:)
4. When renting from a rental house, try to order at least two weeks in advance…that can often lead to a reduced rate.
Places we worked with and that we highly recommend:
(We purchased gaff tape of many colors, shapes and sizes, bounce cards, gels, clothes pins)
(From them we rented apple boxes, sandbags, c-stands, kino flos, stingers)
Hollywood Studio Rentals
(We rented a lens converter from them and also cables for monitor hook-up)
(From them we purchased chroma green card and gaff tape)
Huge Rolls of Gaff Tape for $4.99. Need we say more?
Finally, if you need to black out windows in an apartment…Home Depot has the best deal we found on Visqueen. (Lowes was almost twice as much). In a pinch, you can always use black garbage bags…but in the end garbage bags are more expensive per square foot. And depending on the window size…can require more labor.
Hope you find this info helpful. Feel free to leave more suggestions in the comment section!tagged: producing a webseriesfiled in: how we made it