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#1 Jaime Brandon

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:07 AM

Hello talented individuals of cinematography.com! I am creating this post to get an idea how much it would cost to shoot a Short Film. Currently, I am a struggling actor in NYC looking to follow in the footsteps of Stallone (Rocky) and Vin Diesel (Multi Facial) by creating a great film for Film Festival recognition.
The film is a comedy and the script is 29 pages. I'm dotting the last i's and crossing the last t's to prepare it for the Library of Congress for Copyright purposes. I am planning to submit to SAG, so it will be 35 mins or less. I am sending out this post early, so I'll have an idea what costs I will be looking at. Everything will be done with my own money, so I have to save up to get to this point (unless someone out there knows any producers who may be willing to back the film upon reading the script). Here is what I require:

-An ENTIRE crew: everybody from A-Z! I would be responsible for finding the cast and makeup artist, but anyone associated with the filming aspects would be needed.

-I have a Directorial vision, but would need an experienced Assistant Director to help run things and bounce ideas against. This may be on me to find, if so, no problem... Please indicate if you have affiliations with an editing department.

-I would need 2 cameras: an outstanding cinematic camera (like the Red), as well as an "audition" type of camera (not sure what type these are, but they are closer to documentary style than cinematic).

This is my first film of any kind, so I have lots to learn. I encourage you to treat this post with the utmost sincerity. Along with prices, I also invite you to send samples of your reel, as I will keep tabs on this post as I go through the process. If you don't want to post your information here, send me a message. Not sure if this is important, but there will be 5 locations used: an apartment room, a bar, a park, an office, and an audition room. I estimate the filming to take no more than 5 days. If you are still reading, let's make magic! If there are any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask me. Thank you,
-Jai Brandon
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#2 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:36 AM

Hi Jaime,

Welcome to the forums.

There isn't a cut and dry answer for what you are asking. There are already lots of posts on budgeting, and tons of books on the subject.

What might be easier would be to say "my budget is $5,250 (or $240,000) what can I get for that?" And even that has no easy answer.

It's like saying, "how much will it cost for me to get a car. It needs to seat 2, and be able to drive on gravel every now and then." You can spend $2,000 for an old honda, or $400,000+ for an exotic car. Both will "work"

Check out rates for personnel in your area online, and multiply them by 5. Don't forget days for prep. Don't forget post production, don't forget a colorist, don't forget effects, don't forget audio sweetening, and don't forget distribution.

"you get what you pay for" still applies in the film world. =)

I know that might not be what you were looking for. But I hope it helps.

Bryan
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 12:00 PM

Hello Jaime,

You could spend anywhere from $5 to one million dollars per finished minute. Making any kind of product is so complicated that it would be wise to go for the $5 approach. I'm not suggesting that you don't have talent. It's just that getting from idea to finished product is tricky when you don't already have a base of experience. An easy approach would be to locate another student that has a basic DV camera and computer with editing software. See if your project gets his interests up. All a production has to cost you is the price of video tapes. After that, you should (but not essentially) should keep your workers fed. That can be done cheaply with a little effort. You really could get by with only two crew anyway: Camera and mic persons.

Everyone goes into their first production thinking it will end up looking just like what they see in their head. Experience helps you get a handle on the realities of no budget production. If you want to do this with your life the $5 productions are a fine way to start.
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#4 Jaime Brandon

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 01:03 PM

Hello Jaime,

You could spend anywhere from $5 to one million dollars per finished minute. Making any kind of product is so complicated that it would be wise to go for the $5 approach. I'm not suggesting that you don't have talent. It's just that getting from idea to finished product is tricky when you don't already have a base of experience. An easy approach would be to locate another student that has a basic DV camera and computer with editing software. See if your project gets his interests up. All a production has to cost you is the price of video tapes. After that, you should (but not essentially) should keep your workers fed. That can be done cheaply with a little effort. You really could get by with only two crew anyway: Camera and mic persons.

Everyone goes into their first production thinking it will end up looking just like what they see in their head. Experience helps you get a handle on the realities of no budget production. If you want to do this with your life the $5 productions are a fine way to start.


Thank both of you for responding... I wouldn't call my project a no-budget project per se, I'm just going to need a little time to save the money required to create something presentable. I know Vin Diesel spent $3000 total (3 days) on his short film Multi Facial and the production wasn't bad. I had to laugh when I read "Everyone goes into their first production thinking it will end up looking just like what they see in their head" because you hit the nail on the head. I have a vision I want to try and create, so that's why I want to find a crew that knows what they're doing and a crew that may also have ideas themselves (or do you guys not chime in on set?). I believe that if my budget were b/w $5000-$10,000 for a maximum 5 day shoot, I should be able to create a presentable 30 minute film...

Edited by Jaime Brandon, 29 September 2009 - 01:03 PM.

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