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$10,000 budget

no-budget short micro low

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#1 Grant Perkins

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 03:34 PM

So for a 15 minute short I'm budgeting 10k for the whole project.

I will write,direct, and edit so that part is "free".

It's three characters, four locations, and an extra or two.

Based on your experience, where should this money be spent?

Any feedback is appreciated!
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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 03:48 PM

Where are film students getting 10k for a short film???

 

Number one expense in any business is man hours, make sure you're hiring good people. Above all else make sure you hire someone who knows something about audio for video... Hell, hire me you have a real budget.

 

Editors assuming they're mixers is a great way to landing films into sub-par quality.

 

Also hire a good grip, spend a lot of the visual budget on lighting. You ever noticed how Canon is able to make DSLRs look as professional as Arri cameras? They have the lighting budget of a real film set.

 

Hit me up


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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:14 PM

Good actors is one key difference between many short films and the award winning ones.


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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:59 PM

Good locations and production design as well-- depending on your project. And in LA, 10K Doesn't go that far. . .


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#5 Ryan Emanuel

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:39 PM

That all depends on what kind of story it is.  And your approach as a director.  Sometimes the actors matter most, some times the world building does. Do you wants to give actors freedom to go anywhere around the set, do you want striking compositions that could tell the story without audio.  Theres plenty of of difference styles with different price tags.  


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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:17 PM

Good locations and production design as well-- depending on your project. And in LA, 10K Doesn't go that far. . .

 

From a look perspective - this, a million times this.

 

You cannot make bad things look good with camerawork. You can make good things look better.


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#7 Robin Phillips

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:27 PM

I've seen lots of good short films made on budgets ranging from $500 to $500,000. It really depends on the script, but I'm guessing you're not doing scifi craziness. the 480/546 class at USC I think had the budgets capped at either 10k or 15k, with film and processing needing to be paid for from that budget. 

 

1st up - insurance. DO NOT FILM WITHOUT THIS. its not worth the risk. If you're in a class at a school that will provide an insurance cert, awesome. If not, its probably gonna be 1200-1500 for a 12 day stretch. Since this will save your ass in the event of any accident, this is your first expense. You'll need Property, General liability, and Workmans Comp. Add ons for hired auto insurance, pyro etc are additional costs.

 

Are you shooting thru weekdays, or more than one weekend? Consider paying the crew and talent at least favor rates (unless they're your good friends AND good at what they do). But pay the gaffer. seriously. Also probably sound (even if just their kit fee). Both jobs are kinda thankless on a short.

 

Food and water - people dont need the fanciest stuff, but if you do 4 days of pizza it'll bring down the moral and set energy on day 2.

 

Production design / costume design - depending on the subject matter this may or may not be as high a priority, but as someone else said, if something looks bad/cheap the best crew in the world wont save it. Though really creative lighting can, subject matter permitting. Consider creative solutions before spending money, but expect to spend some here. You may be able to design yourself (or between you and other key crew), but you'll likely still need some various things. You may need to pay for locations. Some insurance policies may require a financial transaction for the policy to cover, so even if its a free location it never hurts to do a rental contract for $1. 

 

You probably dont need 4k, it may even reveal the "budget" (again subject matter depending). While HHDs are getting cheap, for the love of god get a bare minimum of 2 drives to store a duplicate of the footage. Normal procedure is to have 3 copies of footage on digital. Back up project files to google drive as you work. 

 

A hair/makeup person will make life easier, though if you're in LA you may find talent whose down to just apply their own base if their really on board with what you're out to do. I've always kinda felt with high res digital you really want a dedicated person though. 

 

Even $500 for some kind of score or music license goes a long way. Same with a sound mix, which you really will need for a festival run.

 

I'd note depending on if you're doing anything crazy in a public space, or with a prop gun that MIGHT be in view of the public, get a permit and, if need be, rent a police officer to babysit you. If you're in a safer area or super near the sub-station, sometimes they'll settle for giving you only 1 cop instead of 2 (urban areas usually send partners). It'll be annoyingly expensive, but a hell of a lot cheaper than the consequences of SWAT descending on your set and shooting your actor. (note that a cop on an adrenaline high responding to a gun call almost certainly wont notice the film equipment, only the gun). This advise is at the end cause it may not be applicable, but if it is applicable this is expense #2 right after INSURANCE.


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#8 Grant Perkins

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 01:36 AM

INSURANCE!

 

This is a dry run -- so to speak -- for a feature so I want to encounter(learn) as much as I can while risking as little as I can.

I can't beleive I let that one elude me, thanks Mr.Phillips I will definately be picking that up.

 

While we're on that subject, I was going to form a production company for the film, and put the insurance through that. The company wouldn't be just only for this film but for subsequent ones (but if the film doens't do anything, then I guess I"ll fold it),

 

Any insights on forming a company to make a film?


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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:24 AM

For some film funding schemes in the the UK  you need a limited liability company. There are costs in starting one, plus any requirements for an accountant for the tax returns. The latter can assist with advice on the documentation needed.  


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#10 Grant Perkins

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:35 AM

I'm in L.A., but good to know if I branch out to London.


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#11 Matt Thomas

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:31 AM

If you're a student I'd ask yourself what kind of portfolio piece you want from this, and what kind of work you want in the future. If it's directing work you want, blow that budget on good actors. If it's more visual work you want, blow that budget on awesome camera/grip/location. If it's both... hire some one to help get that script/story to an amazing level and let the story do all the work. 


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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:22 AM

The problem with LA, and well California, is that no matter what, even if your LLC makes no money, you have to pay at least 800/yr for it. But it is a very good idea to have an LLC to put the film through and run the insurance through-- and try to keep it active, as it will build up a bit of a history and having a history is very good from a company standpoint.

 

I'd also think about putting some money aside from lighting and grip for your short-- depends on where you're filming but even 1500 set aside for other equipment/special stuff can be really nice. But like i said, 10K goes faaassst lol


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#13 Grant Perkins

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 01:42 PM

LLCs!

 

Thank you for that info Adrian, I did a search and found out that California has the HIGHEST annual LLC fee in the country -- YIKES!

 

For a poor 'lil student like me, that no longer seems like a practical option.

 

But this was an interesting bit of information:

https://www.llcunive...-fees-by-state/

 

What is your opinion on simply forming the LLC in other states? Would this not make also make me eligible for that state's production incentives as a resident(company)?


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#14 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 02:24 PM

For a poor 'lil student like me, that no longer seems like a practical option.

 

I'm still trying to figure out how a poor student came across 10 grand to blow on a short film....


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#15 Ed Conley

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 02:41 PM

LLCs!

 

Thank you for that info Adrian, I did a search and found out that California has the HIGHEST annual LLC fee in the country -- YIKES!

 

For a poor 'lil student like me, that no longer seems like a practical option.

 

But this was an interesting bit of information:

https://www.llcunive...-fees-by-state/

 

What is your opinion on simply forming the LLC in other states? Would this not make also make me eligible for that state's production incentives as a resident(company)?

 

You'll have to spend way more than 10k to get any tax benefits/credits ... anywhere.


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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 04:48 PM

If you form an LLC in another state and do business in California (more than 50% thereof, I think) you need to register as a foreign company in California and again, pay the franchise minimum tax of 800$. Basically, you need about 1000$ to form an LLC and keep it in Cali or anywhere else, honestly, no matter what.

Personally, the LLC is less about tax benefits, more about liability benefits; though I'm no lawyer. For tax stuff you want to go the Corp route (S or C) but you should be speaking with an accountant and lawyer at that point (and really at any point) to help explain better the benefits and pitfalls.


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#17 Grant Perkins

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 04:51 PM

 

You'll have to spend way more than 10k to get any tax benefits/credits ... anywhere.

 

Thank you for that Ed, you made this student do a bit of research on production credits.

 

I've found a link which does list state production incentives here:http://www.filmprodu...xincentive.html

 

After perusing that link, I followed up with the good people in New Mexico: http://nmfilm.com/Summary_1.aspx

 

I had a wonderful conversation with their Incentive Controller, to whom I detailed my no-budget production.  She gave me examples of the incentives and detailed some of the expenses that would be eligible, including 25% for post-production, She assured me that there was "no minimum" for qualified productions, even giving me the example that if I spent $100 on a hard drive, I could be eligible to get $25 of that back if I only shot even for just a day. It was quite a sales pitch!

 

Ed, did you have some negative experience with New Mexico or some other state that I should be aware of? Because the information you've provided does not at all seem correct.


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#18 Grant Perkins

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 02:09 PM

I'm still trying to figure out how a poor student came across 10 grand to blow on a short film....

 

That's nothing, we blow way more than 100 grand on film school alone! :unsure:

 

You'd struggle putting a decent 3 minute music video together for 10 grand, and that's to launch a single. Imagine trying to launch a career with a 15 minute narrative, and only 10 grand to pay for it?

 

I guess poor is relative. :rolleyes:


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#19 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 02:37 PM

I guess poor is relative. :rolleyes:

Yeah try $7500 for a TV pitch pilot.


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#20 Robin Phillips

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 11:58 AM

 

That's nothing, we blow way more than 100 grand on film school alone! :unsure:

 

You'd struggle putting a decent 3 minute music video together for 10 grand, and that's to launch a single. Imagine trying to launch a career with a 15 minute narrative, and only 10 grand to pay for it?

 

I guess poor is relative. :rolleyes:

 

its happened before. The real thing that can hold back a 10k film isnt so much budget but lack of practice/experience and talent. That being said, I've seen super low budget USC 310s and 508s (2nd semester projects) that have played at Cannes...


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