Jump to content


Photo

Film Budget


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Jeremy Philip Lawn

Jeremy Philip Lawn

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Producer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 June 2009 - 11:14 AM

So, I am an experienced producer (past productions have been video, television, documentary and live concert), now working on my first film. I have great foresight... and have always accurately pinned a production time line to fall within its budget, usually 5-figures.

I am confident in my ability to lay out a budget for this movie (to be shot HD)... just looking for advice from other Producers who have gone through the budgeting process on a movie, while simultaneously thinking about the production design/creative process. i.e. Snags you have run into, unexpected items, additional unexpected items, and general variables you have run into in a film budget. I have not mentioned the type of film here because it is not decided yet (early stages, working with a few script ideas right now). So this post is very general, but any type of input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
  • 0

#2 Jim Keller

Jim Keller
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Producer
  • Fresno, CA

Posted 23 June 2009 - 12:42 PM

My one piece of advice to anyone doing a budget, in any medium, is this: Budget based on rate-card prices. Negotiate deals after you get the financing in place. You want the surprises to increase, not decrease your contingency.
  • 0

#3 Arnar Sigurdsson

Arnar Sigurdsson

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Producer

Posted 20 July 2009 - 11:20 AM

Hi Jeremy,
I can't claim to be a veteran producer, but perhaps this helps:

It might be obvious, but budgets fail the most when they are not organically linked with the artistic and logistical planning of the film. The budget has to reflect how the film is planned (technical, artistic and logistical plans) and then it will become the shell which keeps this in place.

As we are in the "Students and First Time Filmmakers" forum, I find that sometimes naive directors (who are really also producing) will send the "producer" into a corner and ask him to make a budget (as this is the "producer's job"). The "producer" will come back with a professional looking spreadsheet. After that, the director will begin his orgy of decision making, which may have nothing to do with the premises used in the budget. This might work from time to time, but it has nothing to with distributing your limited resources the most efficiently or keeping expenses under control. The budget has no practical film making use and expense disasters can arise.

Another scenario is making budgets and schedules, and then getting reasurring nods and smiles from the production designer (or any key decision maker). Is he nodding and smiling because he's convinced you've laid out the best possible framework for his work, or because he doesn't even consider this to have any relation to how he is going to do things? If the latter, you might end up in serious troubles.

Ofcourse, I understand that budgets are political things and might be presented in different forms depending on situations (as Jim points out when you are seeking finance, etc). But if you yourself don't have a realistic estimate of how much things will cost, based on an actual plan of how to make the film and what you will spend on it, there is no way of distributing the resources where they will be most needed. One more shooting day or one effects shot? Addittional crew member or another piece of equipment?

Making a film on budget is easy. Allowing the best film possible to be made under the budget you have is the challenge.

I hope this helps although it's sort of abstract.

Regards,
Arnar.

So, I am an experienced producer (past productions have been video, television, documentary and live concert), now working on my first film. I have great foresight... and have always accurately pinned a production time line to fall within its budget, usually 5-figures.

I am confident in my ability to lay out a budget for this movie (to be shot HD)... just looking for advice from other Producers who have gone through the budgeting process on a movie, while simultaneously thinking about the production design/creative process. i.e. Snags you have run into, unexpected items, additional unexpected items, and general variables you have run into in a film budget. I have not mentioned the type of film here because it is not decided yet (early stages, working with a few script ideas right now). So this post is very general, but any type of input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!


  • 0

#4 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:57 PM

I'm not sure what a few script ideas means, but it's difficult to do a precise budget if you haven't got something which is getting close to a later draft. You can work out rough things like possible size of cast over a rough shooting schedule, but other than being aware of this and working out possible costs for certain type of film I wouldn't get too concerned about budgeting a film idea in huge detail.

The mechanical aspects of a production often stay the same, it's things like production design that can add hugely to your budget and these can only be totally factored in once you have the script. Best apply a few limitations to the writer, such no more than X characters and not too many locations and let them go, rather than having a running costing exercise as they're busy writing the story.
  • 0


Technodolly

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport