I have hopes of getting one of my short films into the Cannes Film Festival one day. You really have to produce something of quality to get in, but you do not need a huge budget to do it. I have access to video editing software professionals use, and it only costs about as much as one dinner out per month to afford it. I use local talent who works on spec. That is, if the film makes anything, they get some of it. As for props, I find a way. I needed fake check stubs for a fictitious company that was part of the script of my latest project. I found an online check stub maker that made very real looking check stubs. Better than I could have made on my own.
It was for a scene where the fake check stubs would be seen for just a few seconds on camera, but the prop was a needed element of the scene. Some days I get the things we need for shooting just hours before the camera is actually rolling. Sometimes it is minutes before. The projects have won some local filmmaker awards, but none of them have made any money. However, I keep getting the talent to work on speculation because of the vast social media exposure it is giving their skills. Some of them have gotten some gigs because of having their work noticed in one of my projects.
One day I hope to be writing real paychecks and paystubs for all the talent that volunteers for my film projects. It is more than just the onscreen actors, I have all the technicians in the background too. If I was paying scale, it would be about ten grand a day for just the bare minimum. I am amazed at how far my peers will go to help me develop these projects that never make a dime. However, the hope is to one day make it big.