According to WikiHow:
The biggest obstacle most filmmakers face when they want to make a movie is the problem of money: with hefty price tags for equipment, cast, staff, and shooting privileges, production costs can quickly run into the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s especially difficult to raise money for short films, as they rarely offer much of a return on investment. However, if you are smart about keeping costs down—using Digital Video (DV) instead of film, for example, or employing amateur actors—it’s possible to fund your pet project by following these steps.
Resourcefulness. Make the most of the resources you have locally by listing all the locations, props, actors, equipment and crew available locally and use this to develop a cost effective idea.
Create a realistic estimate of how much your short film will cost. Be liberal with your cost projections.
- A serious pitfall for many short film producers is cost overrun after they have raised their initial goal. It’s better to spend more time raising too much money than to find yourself in a situation where your film is half-done and you are out of funds.
Incorporate your film company if you plan on raising more than $25,000.
- Incorporation creates separate bank accounts for your film and for your personal life. If your film goes bankrupt, funds from your personal accounts will not be liable for collection.
- Create a separate bank account for your film fund.
- Draw up a business plan to present to potential film investors
Create a website or social media outlet to give your film a public face and so that film investors can regularly view information about your project.
- Your business plan should be around 10 pages and should included detailed information about production costs, anticipated shooting time, locations, and predicted revenue. Provide a detailed budget.
- Be sure to include information about yourself and the other people working on the film. Also indicate other sources from which you hope to raise money. Film investors will want to know that your team is responsible and that you will have enough money to cover all your costs.
Apply for public and private grants that fund films.
- Some well known institutions that provide film grants include the National Endowment for the Arts in the United States and the Canada Council. Also seek out local arts groups and corporate foundations.
- Enter filmmaker funding competitions. (like ours!)
Approach local businesses and professionals who have contributed to independent films in the past.
- Ask these businesses and professionals for a modest amount of money. Be frank about your expected costs, and do not promise any return on investment.
- Investigate “crowd funding” projects like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, websites on which artists can post projects and raise small funds from thousands of interested supporters.
- Invite your investors to witness your film production and include them as much as possible in the process.