Independent Filmmaker

Take charge of all aspects of making a small budget movie.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$45,000 – $112,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Independent Filmmakers do?

Producing a blockbuster film requires a lot of people and a lot of money. The budgets are big and the egos are bigger, and the people involved often get swallowed up in the process. An Independent Filmmaker bypasses this process, making films on smaller budgets with fewer people involved.

As an Independent Filmmaker, you may develop an idea for your film on your own, or you may buy a script from a Writer. You shoot a few minutes of film, write out the rest of your ideas in a formal report, and then ask wealthy movie buffs to look over your ideas and fund your movie. As an Independent Filmmaker, you may ask many, many people for money, but in the end, you may fund the movie yourself.

You hire Actors for your film. It’s likely that you’ll work with inexperienced Actors, but you might shoot for the moon and send your script to famous ones, hoping they’ll sign up to work with you. You then hold rehearsals, which may be short because you likely don’t have a big budget that allows you months of rehearsals.

To keep costs down, you shoot your film in just a few days or weeks. You supervise the shoot and splice the best cuts together into a final film. This part of the process may go much quicker than you expected.

Finally, you look for a distribution company that will sell and promote your film. If you can’t find a company, you may distribute the film yourself via the Web. Then you sit by the phone, waiting for calls from Film Critics and rabid fans.


Should I be an Independent Filmmaker?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Film Maker, Independent Video Producer

    How to become an Independent Filmmaker

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Independent Filmmaker-related education!
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