Filmmaking & Videography

Wondering how to make a documentary on a budget? Making your very own documentary is an exciting time, but also comes with responsibility, organization and hard work. We have compiled some helpful advice for planning, funding and creating your documentary without breaking the bank. Let’s get started!

how to make a documentary on a budget tips

How To Make A Documentary On A Budget: Top Tips

Making A Plan & Budgeting

As with making any film, a business plan is important for everybody involved. You should list your mission statement and goals for the documentary, plus a synopsis and budget. Don’t forget to include all costs, such as your own rate, equipment, crew, food and so on. Research the grant application process beforehand and make sure that you have thought of everything that you need.

Funding Your Documentary Film

how to find funding for your documentary crowdfunding sponsorship

There is lots of different funding available for filmmakers such as grants, Crowdfunding and sponsorship. Let’s take a look:


Now is the time to look at what grants are on offer. Some have particular requirements, and some are open to a wider range. Also note that some grants are for different parts of the process, such as pre-production and post-production. Keep track of all that apply to your documentary and note down their deadlines. Planning far in advance (at least a year) is the best way. As tempting as it is to get going, you need to ensure you have the funding you need.


Crowdfunding has become a popular method of raising funds for projects such as documentaries or films. There are various sites that offer this platform, such as Kickstarter, Patreon or Crowdfunder. Jot down some ideas for rewards for donors. This could be merchandise, a free viewing of the film or even their name in the credits. If you are going to crowd fund, put a plan in place for marketing the campaign so that it reaches enough people.


Corporate sponsors are another way to get funding for a filmmaker. Putting together a trailer to use as a pitch piece is a great first step. Research companies who would be interested in the subject of your documentary, and note who you have contacted. It may also be a good idea to look at other work similar to yours and if they had any sponsors.


In the same way that some companies can provide funding, you can also gain a lot of other things that are helpful. Companies may be able to donate to your production in other ways, such as offering equipment, catering and so on. These can help to stretch your money further and allow you to focus on other aspects. Offering your filmmaking services or footage as a trade is a great way to create a mutually beneficial deal.

Music Licensing

Another aspect of your production that can eat up a lot of your budget is licensing music. Single tracks can set you back a few hundred dollars. That’s lot if you consider how many tracks you will most likely need! It isn’t an option to just use whatever track you like, as you need to be aware of copyright. You don’t want to cause controversy or get in trouble after releasing your masterpiece! So, what’s the alternative option that will work?

How Audiosocket Can Help

audiosocket music licensing finding music for documentaries

Your best option is to license your music for your documentary through a company such as Audiosocket. Starting at $10 a month, you can have unlimited access to over 80,000 tracks! With various genres and moods, it couldn’t be easier to find music to take your documentary to the next level. Get started now!

to our newsletter