How To Make a Hollywood Movie for $7000

Whether you’re looking to start a business or grow your existing business, chances are you don’t feel ready to execute your plan.

You may feel you can't get started until you’ve got the “right equipment,” or “the right connections,” or the “right knowledge.” Maybe you’ve already invested a ton of cash in your personal training, purchasing new electronic gizmos, and searching for the perfect landing page software and shopping cart.

Maybe you’re always “getting ready to get started”… perpetually stuck in the preparation phase.

My purpose in writing this article is to encourage you: you can succeed with what you already know, what you already have, and by being who you already are!

How to Spend $7,000 to Make $2 Million!

In his book, Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less-and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined, Scott Sonenshein tells the following story.

On a spring day in 1991, Robert Rodriguez was waiting for his test results at the hospital. He was not ill – he was applying to be a subject in a pharmaceutical trial study. Why? Because he needed the $3,000 he would receive in order to fund the idea he had for a movie.

Immediately after the drug study, with his $3,000 in hand, Rodrigues went to work filming, adopting a unique approach.

According to Sonenshein, “Rodriguez made a list of what he already had available: a friend’s ranch, a pit bull, condoms to fill with fake blood, desk lamps in lieu of professional lighting, a wheelchair from which he could take moving camera shots, and a guy he met at the hospital he would cast in the film.”

“Rodriguez did just about everything but star in the film, serving as its writer, cameraman, editor, sound artist, and production assistant.”

After completing production, he pitched the film to several movie companies and agents, sending them a copy of the film’s trailer. Then he waited.

Finally, his phone rang and on the other end was Robert Newman, a well-known entertainment agent in Hollywood. Newman loved the trailer and wanted to know how much it cost to make. When Rodriguez told him “about seven grand”, Newman was impressed with the young prodigy, telling him that most trailers cost between $20,000 and $30,000. He didn’t realize Rodrigues was referring to seven grand for the entire movie!

Columbia Pictures bought the film for about $500,000, and El Mariachi went on to be a become a modest but solid success. “Box office sales topped $2 million. It was by no means a blockbuster, but this success helped Rodrigues advance his Hollywood career. Next, he signed up to write, direct and edit a sequel to El Mariachi” entitled Desperado, and this film starred Antonio Banderas.

The lesson should be clear: experts in the moviemaking industry would've said that to create a $2 million hit movie with a total filmmaking budget of only $7,000 would be impossible.

But that didn’t stop Rodriguez. Instead, he just made the movie anyway with resources he already had, with what he already knew, and as the director he already was. He didn’t wait until he had the proper funding. He didn’t wait until he had the best equipment. He didn’t wait until he had the backing of a studio. He literally traded his blood for a $3,000 nest egg to get started, and then produced the whole movie for $7,000 – impressive!

The 7-Day Challenge

I believe it's possible for you to leverage the resources you already have and build a huge success just like Rodriguez.

This article is about getting things done instead of “getting ready to get started,” For this reason, I'm issuing a formal seven-day challenge.

Here’s the challenge: within the next seven days, pick one project you’ve been considering. Something you’ve been “preparing for,” but felt you weren’t ready.

No doubt a project instantly sprang to mind. Your next step: do it. Make it happen. Fully engage your ingenuity!

Do it with the resources you already have.

See what happens. Then, report back here and let us know what you've achieved with what you already know, what you already have, and by being you already are.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at