As we all know, making movies ain’t cheap. Even if you have a healthy budget, every little thing adds up. That’s why I’ve created this quick round-up of free resources for filmmakers. Take a look at the list and see if you can use any of these for your next indie film, or if any of them spark some other ideas as to how you can keep your budget on track.
You already know we feel strongly about sound design, but original music can eat up a ton of your post-production budget if you’re not careful. As much as we love hiring indie artists to do our scores, it isn’t always feasible. Enter Free Music Archive. With both pro and free options, the Free Music Archive gives you access to all sorts of royalty-free music that you can use for your next film, podcast, or Youtube video.
Do you need a visual effect for your indie movie or Youtube video but can’t afford to pay for a custom one? Motion Graphics has tons of free resources for filmmakers that are available as long as you follow the instructions for giving them credit, which is available in their Youtube bio. Just a quick glance at the home page for this channel includes planets spinning, flags waving, and every constellation in the zodiac. With well over a thousand videos, this channel is a great resource for free VFX.
Premium Beat by Shutterstock has tons of great resources for free on their site. The one I’m highlighting here is a pack of 21 free brush stroke graphics that are available for download. The link above even has a step by step tutorial on how to incorporate these graphics into your work. If this is a little too niche for you, explore their site and see what other free resources for filmmakers they have available.
Again from Shutterstock comes 48 free custom LUTS for LOG footage, a great free resource for filmmakers. The color of your film is so important, and if you are planning to DIY it, there are lots of good options to download for free at this site.
There are many websites that have stock images and footage available for download, but Pexels is probably my favorite; I use it for all my blog posts! The site has a ton of variety, and all the images and videos are beautifully shot, colored, and of course, 100% free to download and use in your indie film, blog post, Youtube video; really, the sky’s the limit!
Michigan State University offers a free online course about getting your film off the ground. Modules cover things like applying for grants, social media, crowdfunding, and finding investors. This is invaluable information if you’re a new filmmaker or a filmmaker who is looking to level up your skills in this area. Again, this is a totally free resource, and you’ll get hours of content for enrolling. The course is self-paced, and you earn certificates throughout.
Filmsource.com offers many free resources for filmmakers, including these downloadable production documents. From location release forms to movie poster templates, the extensive downloadable forms on their website are sure to make your job as a film producer far, far easier.
Similar to the above, Studio Binder has a wealth of resources. I love that they have these documents sorted by category (like pre-production, production, creative development) which makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Do you need a mood board template? They’ve got you. A call sheet? No worries, there’s one of those, too. Budgeting template? Yup.
If you’re designing a movie poster, a title sequence, or even just your brand kit, choosing the right font is key. Dafont.com is an amazing resource full of free to download fonts. We use it all the time for our graphic design. You can sort fonts by type, like script or horror, and then peruse the hundreds of options in that category.
If you look here you might see a familiar face! New 32 produced a series of videos for Ambient Recording called Quick Tips for Better Audio, starring our very own Cecilia Keirstead. This series covers all the booming basics, from how to keep your shadow out of the shot to how to care for your body while doing this extremely physical job.
That’s it for today, but there are a TON of free resources for filmmakers available online; check out our previous resource round-up here. We also have a series of educational interviews with indie filmmakers that cover topics like crowdfunding and using Unreal Engine that will help you slash your budget. And, as always, don’t forget about our 100% free e-book, The Mindful Maker, which helps filmmakers create safer, more ethical on-set experiences. Drop me a line if you want to see more of these, or if there are any other resources that you think we should feature on our next round-up!