FILM BUDGETS and HOW to NOT shoot yourself in the foot.

FILM BUDGETS and HOW to NOT shoot yourself in the foot.

You’re making a film, so it’s time to make a budget…Don’t panic!…but be smart…

When you start to create a budget for your film, whether its a $20,000,000 major film or a $20,000 indie, you need to create a REAL and workable budget.

There are no short-cuts, and certainly no automatic ways of doing this.

Sure, you can take a basic film budget outline, or a “standard” budget format as a start, but this does NOT mean you have a film budget, it means you have a starting point.  Nothing beats actual knowledge base and an experienced line producer.  Creating a REAL budget and one that is professionally acceptable (and one that you won’t blow out of in the first day of shooting) requires skill obtained through years of field experience. And even an experienced line producer, production manager and/or project manager cannot predict all the variables thatmight will happen.

To create that REAL budget you need to understand personnel issues, transportation issues, cost analysis, risk assessment and risk management, location searches & selections, equipment requirements and operations,  and then, when you’ve got a good idea of all that, start running your numbers based on real assumptions.

You simply can’t guess at this stuff. You need to understand all these areas, and how they interact, what can and will go wrong, and the costs associated with each. You need to be able to calculate real risk analysis and determine a cost value on this.

The most important aspect of all of these in developing a real and appropriate budget is to understand the film itself and the main personnel vision of the director, the producers, the talent and the keys. Everyone wants everything for their department, you need to determine what each really needs and the cost of those resources, without blowing out of your budget day one or alienating your crew.

The bottom line here is simple…If you haven’t created a film budget that has survived a project, get someone on board who has, or do your homework and learn about all the aspects of creating a REAL and APPROPRIATE budget for your next project.