From Big Budget to No Budget: The Joys of Indie Filmmaking


I recently returned home from the New Mexico desert where I was shooting a super micro budget film with a team of four, including myself. I was surprised by how many people asked me, “Why did you make this movie?” “Do you have a distribution deal?” “Why would you make a no budget film, after you just made a big budget film?”

Frankly I was a bit surprised by how many people asked me this question. I am a filmmaker; it is my heart, my soul, and my passion to tell stories. I need creativity, like I need air to breathe. It isn’t about the bottom line; it is about my pure need to create.

ayor team tent

(left to right – Helenna Santos, Alexandra Boylan, John KD Graham, and Richard Galli on set for “At Your Own Risk”)

Honestly if you don’t truly love the creative process of making a movie, then this business is not for you. It is a very small percentage of producers, writers, and directors who make a living off of making their own movies.

For me it was actually extremely refreshing to go from the high intense stress of making a movie with investor’s money, dealing with star talent, and running a 45 person crew, to being out in the middle of nowhere with a couple of my friends, just having fun. Everyday we woke up, drank coffee, went over the script, and headed out to location to shoot, sometimes six scenes in one day! It was a blast. It felt like I was returning to my roots. Making movie magic for fun, without any expectations of what will happen when the movie is complete. There is no guarantee for independent films anyway, correction, there is no guarantee for any film, PERIOD!

team ayor walking

With all the tools available to filmmakers today, there is no reason people can’t be making their own films all the time. Even if you’re doing it just to learn, which you should be, it’s worth it to pick up a camera, grab some friends and make something. It will also give you the insight into whether you want to truly be in this business or not. Because if you don’t want to want to make no budget films, just for fun, to be creative with your friends, then the chances of you surviving this town are slim to none.

No one asks a painter, “Why did you paint that painting?” And if they do it’s probably because they wanted to know the inspiration behind the artwork. Be inspired to tell stories, and don’t be afraid to ask yourself, “Why am I not making a movie?”

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At Your Own Risk movie team

Alexandra Boylan

About Alexandra Boylan

Producer/Actress/Writer - Alexandra Boylan was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She started acting in her high school theater department, and soon began booking indie films in Boston. After moving to Los Angeles, she studied under Harry Mastrogeorge, who mentored her for six years. Her most recent credits include, “Bellflower”, “Passion Play”, “Flock”, “Home Sweet Home” and a world peace commercial. For a complete list of credits please visit Alexandra created her own production company MirrorTree Productions. Producing the feature film “Home Sweet Home” released by Image Entertainment June 4th . Mirror Tree LLC has completed numerous short films, and a web series. Alexandra is also the Co-Creator/Owner of “Your Perfect Adventures Productions” just released the first of its kind live action movie app game “Your Pizza Adventure” available on the App Store. Alexandra stars in the critically acclaimed web series “Flock”, featured on, an official selection of the Hollyweb Festival. To view her websites please visit, and