Indie filmmaking gets expensive fast, and, I don’t know if you’ve heard, most of us are working on a budget. That’s why we’ve put together this list of free online resources for filmmakers.
We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already heard of Film Riot; after all, they have almost two million subscribers at the time of this post. Still, we would be remiss not to mention them. They are an amazing free resource for indie filmmakers, with content ranging from filming on your iphone to the cinematography of horror to tutorials on how to recreate all your favorite VFX. We’re big proponents of the idea that you can learn a lot of what you need to know about filmmaking for free online, and these guys help make that a lot easier. If you have the budget, the same guys have an online store with lots of relatively cheap digital assets such as VFX and LUTS, and we hear that on Black Friday they have a great sale!
Microbudget Indie Filmmakers Podcast
Zanah Thirus hosts the Microbudget Indie Filmmaker’s Podcast, which as the name implies is all about making a film on a tiny, tiny budget. The three seasons of the podcast cover everything from branding, to distribution, to script breakdowns. This podcast is a treasure trove of information, and it’s conveniently broken down into bite-sized pieces; episodes are under twenty minutes. We suggest you give it a listen, and if you have the budget, consider investing in her workbooks; they’re only ten dollars a piece.
If you’re working on sound design, Freesound.org is a website where people create sounds and then upload them for free. You can search just about any keyword and sounds will come up. On the homepage at the time of this post there was a shower sound effect, the sounds of a suburb complete with cars, birds, and dogs, and an instrumental with the words “are you sad” repeated slowly over it. All that’s to say, whatever you need, Freesound.org probably has you covered!
Speaking of sound, Kevin MacLeod is a composer and musician who has created a huge amount of royalty-free music. As long as you credit him, his work is free to use, and has been used in thousands of films, youtube videos, and even video games. Freemusicarchive.org is another great place to look for free music.
HitFilm is a free video editing software, and it’s surprisingly advanced for something that costs zero dollars! Check it out if you can’t afford a paid editing software.
Gingkoapp.com is an online software that helps you outline your screenplay beat by beat using the Save the Cat method. The screenplay template walks you through the entire process, from the logline, to the major overview of the story, to the actual story beats that are featured in each act. There are paid plans, but you get ten free “trees” to start with, and the paid plan is pay what you want, so if you need to outline a ton of ideas–and trust us, sometimes we need to–you can do it for a very low cost per month.
The very best way to get free resources is to join a filmmaking Facebook group and connect with local filmmakers. We know that networking is key when you’re an indie filmmaker because it allows you to pool your resources. You can just ask friends to swap whatever is on your hard drive and acquire a ton of free assets that way!
We know we’ve missed some big ones; what are your favorite free online resources for filmmakers? Let us know!