The first thing you must secure to shoot a no-budget movie is equipment. If you are just starting out, that requires finding someone who owns equipment that you can bring aboard to help you make your movie. On my first short film, we found someone at my school who owned a nice camera (Canon XL-1) and offered him the chance to be our director of photography. I needed lights, so I found someone I had met in the local film scene and offered him the chance to be a production adviser and, as a result, he brought his lights for us to use. By offering people the chance to take active roles in our movies, they produced the equipment we needed at no charge.
A few years later, I was able to purchase my own camera and lights and, while it was an out of pocket expenditure, it meant that all movies shot after this could be my chance of making no-budget films whenever I wanted. What made this great is that I could hire whoever I wanted from this point on because I was not relying on using other people’s equipment.
When shooting a feature length movie, this is also possible. While the movie was not a no-budget film, someone I know shot a movie for $85,000 which gave them little money for anything special on the shoot. However, they met someone in the past and they called him to see if he was interested in being the director of photography for their movie. He asked what kind of camera they wanted to shoot with and they joked that they would love to use the Red digital video camera. They knew there was little chance of using this camera thanks to its $25,000-plus price tag. However, it just so happened the director of photography had a friend who owned a Red and, by hiring his friend as an assistant, they had access to a Red for free and were able to shoot their movie with the same camera David Fincher used in "The Social Network." The moral to this story is that it helps to network and it never hurts to ask others for help.