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Zero Budget Short Films

As an organization, we also create some extremely low (basically zero) budget short films. To do this we’ll use volunteers, summer workers, interns, and free locations provided by friends or churches. Because no one is paid, getting these videos completed can take a lot of extra work. But John Martens is very intentional about getting things done even if it takes extra effort. These two videos illustrate that principle.


In this infomercial set in 1999, Joe Holliman will try to sell you something that you don't really need.


This project brought together ~20 volunteers and cost ~$200, mostly for food. Our actors also volunteered. Some got up at 5 AM to drive out from Vancouver for 2 days in a row. Maple Ridge Community Church provided the free location. The background décor was purchased from Value Village. and the wooden slats were loaned to us by Haney Builder. 


After we shot this movie, we realized that some of the footage was almost unusable. We brought back the main actor for a reshoot but had to recruit an entirely new supporting cast. However, on the reshoot, the main actor looked different and his acting was too serious. So, John asked several editors to try putting it together. Nothing worked. Over a year later, John found Luke and asked him to give it a try. This is the result.


We needed a promo video that used only one location and one actor. So, John wrote something that contained an interesting story and yet also shared the importance of our ministry.

Cost (Zero)

Several summer workers helped, but the house, actress, makeup artist, music, and SFX guy volunteered.


This film went through a long process to complete. For the filming we had to coordinate with a professional makeup artist. Then there were several days of prep work and a long day of filming. The editing process was a real hassle that took months. We actually used several editors. One even lost months of work. John had to find a SFX person to do the “magic.” Then John spent months working with a composer (who was dealing with some serious health issues) until the music was good enough. When everything is free, making a movie is not easy, but we still get things done.

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