No Budget Film School

No Budget Film School

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No Budget Film School - Los Angeles

NO BUDGET FILM SCHOOL is a unique series of classes specifically designed to help the NO-BUDGET filmmaker, whether he or she is working with a budget of $200,000 or $2,000.  The lessons, tools, and techniques gained from these courses are are intended to maximize very limited resources and minimize critical errors that can doom otherwise worthy projects. 





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My next Los Angeles "The Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking" class is May 3-4, 2014, with writer/director Tom Provost's Cinema Language class the following weekend, May 10-11.  These classes will be held at Raleigh Studios' Chaplin Theater.  You can register now at our Eventbrite Page. Please be sure to sign up on the Mailing list, as I'll be sending updates on guest speakers, as well as valuable goodies we'll be giving away.  AND, mailing list subscribers get special discounts on all classes!

   Register Now!


No Budget Film School has partnered with Write Brothers to bring you an incredible offer:  all registered attendees will receive Movie Magic Screenwriter  software absolutely FREE!  (a $250 total value!).  Attendees also receive big discounts on  Quick Film Budget's innovative budget-making tool and on Lightspeed's new cloud-based production management system.  And we'll be raffling off some goodies, too. (see below for details on the software)


Burn Movie Poster


 Tom Putnam's award-winning hit documentary


One of the highlights of No Budget Film School is the candid discussions with guest speakers I bring in, who share micro-budget secrets from the front lines of no-budget filmmaking. I'm thrilled to have prolific writer/director/producer Tom Putnam joining me. Tom has done it all over a long career: directed no-budget narrative features (Shafted); directed Sundance shorts, (Broadcast 23), produced and directed acclaimed documentaries, (Marwencol, Red White Black & Blue), and he even directed Paris Hilton in The Hottie & The Nottie. Most recently he produced and co-directed the award-winning documentary Burn, which he self-released in one of the most successful DIY theatrical releases of the last several years. Burn played in nearly 200 cities, selling out huge venues and grossing close to $2 million. His short films and features have played in over 400 film festivals and he was named to Filmmaker Magazine's prestigious "25 New Faces of Independent Film" list a few years ago. We will have much to discuss with Tom! 

Also confirmed are two folks I bring in every time: my former colleague at Next Wave Films, Peter Broderick, one of the most sought-after consultants in the independent film world.  He will give an empowering presentation on Hybrid Distribution strategy.  And filmmaker and post production maven Matt Radecki will go through post production on a micro-budget; Matt is the owner of Different By Design, an indie friendly post house in Los Angeles. I am scheduling some more amazing people and will be announcing them over the next few weeks.


Attendees can take each class separately, each day separately, or, for the full no-budget filmmaking immersion, the whole two-weekend, four-day bundle together, at a special package price. Students with a valid ID save even more. 

For anyone who's ready to make a film and wondering how to do it with the little money they have access to, this is the class to take. I've been teaching these classes for the last 9 years, in between making my own no-budget films. The class has evolved as I refine my own techniques and pass along the hard-learned lessons of each production. And my guests will be passing along their no-budget secrets, too. These principles, tools and methods can NOT be found in a book, at film school, or in other film classes, and this will be the last time I teach this class for the foreseeable future.

To register, visit our Eventbrite Page:


I was recently interviewed on two popular podcasts:

That Post Show


On That Post Show, I discussed No Budget Filmmaking with host Kanen Flowers.  We covered a number of topics including what I cover in my classes, my work at IFC's Next Wave Films, my experience working with Christopher Nolan on his first film Following, the realities of making a no-budget film, the reasons for making a no-budget film, the importance of making money on your no-budget film, conventional low-budget filmmaking versus no-budget filmmaking, Alex Karpovsky's recent no-budget filmmaking successes, the evolution and making of Pig, and much more.


That Post Show


I was also featured on The Geek Speak Show podcast, mostly talking about my film Pig, which was recently released on video by Kino Lorber and was playing in San Francisco as part of the screening series SF in SF (Sci-Fi in San Francisco).  We also talked about no-budget filmmaking in general and a few other things. Pig is available on DVD, download and streaming from our website:

I've always been proud of the feedback I've received from my weekend "The Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking" class; here are some responses to the class I taught in New York last October (you can read more testimonials HERE):

"Amazing! Thank you for taking the time & bringing the workshop to NYC. Super-inspired, and really grateful I got the chance to learn what you teach." - Tim Venable

"Thanks so much for the class. I've sat through similar film seminars and classes in the past and must say that your No Budget School was the most inspiring, yet pragmatic in approach and method. It should be called the No Excuse Film School. None of us have any excuse for not producing a feature after taking your class." - Jim Long

"Thank you so much for creating this incredible workshop for filmmakers and for coming all the way to NYC to share it with us here. I have so much admiration for how much work it took for you to put this together, and I so appreciate all your personal experience in the industry that you distilled into such a crystalized and clear format to share with us. I not only learned an incredible number of new tools with which to continue working on my craft, but I also reinforced several things that I've been doing in my filmmaking to date." - Peter Davenport

"Thanks again for the outstanding class. I'm still reeling from all the information you gave in class. I definitely got my money's worth -- and much, much more so." - Larry Daggett


Movie Magic Screenwriter
is the best screenplay formatting software, an industry standard, and the choice of Hollywood professionals. Screenwriter formats while you write so you can focus on what you're writing, not where it goes on the page. It also formats for television, stage, novels and comic book scripts so you've got an all in one package for any story you want to write. With a massive set of features designed to make the rewriting process fast and simple you can get from FADE IN: to FADE OUT effortlessly. Developed by writers for writers, Write Brothers is the first and ony creative team ever to receive a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science for screenwriting software. All No Budget Film School attendees get this terrific product FREE for registering.
is a revolutionary budgeting tool that helps independent filmmakers move toward production by automating the budget-making process and delivering a professional customized budget in minutes.  Quick Film Budget can create budgets for Short Films, Micro-Budget Features, and Studio Films. You can select to have your budget delivered in a modifiable file format such as Showbiz Software, EP's Movie Magic, Excel, or Numbers. Attendees get 20% off this incredible budget-making tool.


LightSPEED eps is a a web-based entertainment production management system designed specifically for the film and television industry. It centralizes your production information and provides secure access from your computer, cell phone, or wireless device. LightSPEED combines and integrates several production management functions, like scheduling, call sheet creation, contact list creation, and makes them available in the cloud for your whole production, safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. All attendees receive a discount on the LightSPEED product.

Got a script and are ready to shoot? Can't make it to the next class? I offer private, one-on-one Consulting for no-budget filmmakers who need some guidance. Check out my No Budget Consulting Page for more information.

And I blog, Facebook and Tweet, so feel free to follow me here:

- Film Radar Indie Producer Blog
- No Budget Film School Facebook Page
- Mark Stolaroff Twitter Page



PIG is my third collaboration with award-winning writer/director Henry Barrial. It stars Rudolf Martin (Swordfish, NCIS) as a man who wakes up in the middle of the desert with no idea who he is or how he got there. Pig is a "lo-fi sci-fi" that plays like a mystery and a drama, all the while messing with the audience's head. I produced "Pig" using the same techniques taught in No Budget Film School.  Pig was an official selection at over 35 festivals worldwide and won 10 awards, including 7 Best Feature awards. Kino Lorber released Pig on March 11, 2014. To learn more, visit our website and sign up on the PIG mailing list:

You can also join our Facebook Fan Page and follow us on Twitter.



Think Outside!



Filmmaker Jon Reiss has written THE guide to indie film distribution in the new decade--THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OFFICE. If you think selling your movie means making it and then waiting for distributors to come a-calling, then you're living in 1998. That reality is a pipe dream for most filmmakers, but the good news is there are new ways and new tools that will allow you to get your film out into the world yourself. Jon's book is the manual for DIY and Hybrid Distribution. He's taken what he's learned from distributing his own film, the successful documentary Bomb The System and also interviewed countless experts in every relevant area of DIY distribution to come up with the most comprehensive and up-to-date book on the subject. When should you be thinking about how you're going to market and sell your film? The moment just after you've come up with the idea for your film!

Buy your copy today:


Be The Media

Renowned media consultant and author David Mathison has assembled a who's who of new media experts and compiled his essential guide to the "personal media renaissance"--BE THE MEDIA. Until recently, publishing books, music and film required years of education and the expensive assistance of publishers, labels, studios, distributors and lawyers. Today, artists can leverage low-cost tools and new methods of distribution to connect with their audience directly, and keep more of their royalties and rights. This book covers everything from how to blog and podcast to the ins and outs of social networking and internet syndication. Specific chapters help authors, musicians, and filmmakers, (yours truly contributed to this chapter).

Buy your copy today:


This Is The Truth!

Journalist, professor and marketing executive Reed Martin has written one of the most exhaustingly researched books on the pitfalls of independent filmmaking ever written--THE REEL TRUTH: EVERYTHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MAKING AN INDEPENDENT FILM. Already considered a classic, this best-selling tome has quickly become the indie filmmaker's bible. Martin has interviewed just about everyone (including Yours Truly) in the industry to uncover nearly every conceivable mistake that the first- or second-time filmmaker might make when they go about developing, writing, shooting and selling their film. Experts like producer Ted Hope, filmmaker Chris Nolan, and entertainment attorney John Sloss lay it on the line and give the reel deal on what it takes to avoid all those nasty pitfalls that are out there just waiting for us!

Buy your copy today:
The Reel Truth Amazon Page

For information on where and when the next No Budget Film School classes will be held, subscribe to THE NO BUDGET MAILING LIST. You'll also get valuable discounts on classes!
For the latest No Budget news, films, and filmmakers, check out THE NO BUDGET REPORT.
For information on some of the best no-budget films out there, check out the NO BUDGET FILMS PAGE .

Questions? Email questions or comments to:

Mark Stolaroff (is losing his hair)

Producer Mark Stolaroff (former principal of Next Wave Films) shares what he's learned from years in the trenches of independent filmmaking. 

He and other no-budget professionals will offer their first-hand knowledge of production, post production, marketing, and distribution.

Click here for more information on Mark Stolaroff and future guest speakers.

Know other filmmakers who might be interested in this class? Click the below link to let them know about this site!