Micro Budget Filmmaking – CINE 330

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

In this condensed exploration of filmmaking, students learn the process of developing a low-budget film. Translating a minimum budget into the maximum quality on screen is the main focus of this course. Topics include: setting up a production company, financing and development, pre-production planning, production techniques, post-production workflow, and distribution. Students will prepare a producer's breakdown and production budget for a micro-budget screenplay.




Changes in technology have drastically lowered barriers to entry in independent filmmaking. With the advent of digital cinema, filmmakers can now make feature length productions at a fraction of the cost. Exploring and understanding the financial planning of a production budget is crucial to being a successful filmmaker. This course will break down the planning and budgeting stages of a feature independent film from pre-production all the way to distribution.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze and breakdown a screenplay to establish a cost of production.
  2. Develop a comprehensive line-item budget for a production.
  3. Develop a detailed film production schedule.
  4. Understand various resources available for independent film production.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings, selected articles, websites, and video presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

The student will post a thread of 250–300 words (3 sentence for Discussion Board Forum 1, and 250 words for Discussion Board Forum 3) in response to the provided prompt, and post a reply, of at least 100 words, to 2 classmates’ threads (only 1 thread is required for Discussion Board Forum 1). All forums must be supported by course content, outside materials, and/or Scripture references using current MLA.

Budget Analysis

The student will plan a shooting budget for their short film idea. Utilizing the Ultra-Low Budget Template provided, the student will discern the costs needed to produce their short film. The student is required to isolate 4 areas in the budget that need to be adjusted for their script, then submit a 250-word analysis explaining the needed budget changes. The student will submit the final product in a Word document.

Problem Solving Paper

The student will be provided with 3 potential production problems. The student will choose 1 of the problems, and write a 2–3-page analysis and solution to the problem. The paper must be completed using current MLA format.

Budget Justification

The student is required to write a 250-word justification for talent-hiring costs, for a $50,000 budget project. The student must cite at least 2 references from the course readings. The student will submit the final product in a Word document.

Script Breakdown

The student will create an “8th’s” Script Breakdown from the provided screenplay. The student will watch a presentation by Mr. Schultze as he instructs how to complete a Script Breakdown. The student will then break down the first four (4) pages of a script provided in the assignment. The student will submit the final product a Word document.

Exams (2)

The student will complete 2 open-book/open-notes exams that consist of 20 multiple-choice, true/false, and multiple-answer questions each, and are based on the Reading & Study information. The student will have 60 minutes to complete each exam.