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Costs for my short film


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#1 CristiaanC

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 02:57 PM

Hello everyone.

I'm in the process of trying to gather funds for my short film. I've been a production assistant for quite some time (about 2 years), and have finally realized that I want to pursue directing. Story telling and realization via film is a dream of mine, and I'm at work trying to piece together the first film I've ever directed. I have written the script. It's been analyzed, and edited and worked on, I have a dedicated crew with tons of experience who'd be willing to work for free on set. This is my first film and it is a very personal and important project for me. My script is 12 pages, and I'm estimating about a 15 minute total length for the film. I will be composing all of the music for the film as well. The problem is that I'm on a very tight budget. My plans are to have it shot by the end of October or November. The funds I will have available will be approximately $6,000.00. I've set up a fundraiser for the short as well, and hopefully I can have about $8,000.00 for the entire shoot.

I was planning on going super 16mm black & white and color. Good thing is most of the short will be filmed in black and white. I'm still doing research on which film I want to use. Anyway, in terms of gear, some of these rental sites have prices for their daily rates of cameras, but it does not include ALL of the equipment which will be necessary to have it run smoothly on set. I'm expecting the shoot to be 4 days in length.

I was looking at the Arriflex 16 SR cameras and the minimum amount of glass I'd have would be a zoom, and about 3 or 4 primes. Again these are all rough estimates. I also need adequate film coverage, so I'm assuming about 3000ft for a 15 minute short. Of course I'm going to need everything else, all other camera parts, monitors, head, tripod, wiring, lighting, dolly, truck to transport the gear, mags, and everything else. Not to mention that I'm going to have to pay my DP and sound guy. Everyone else is willing to help me and work for free on this, which I'm VERY appreciative for.

I'm just curious as to if this is financially feasible. I cannot stand DSLRs and having a decent image via digital requires a nice chunk of change if one wants to rent an Alexa or RED MX or Epic, and anything else of that sort. I DO NOT want to compromise the quality of my short in terms of visuals, and on top off all of this, I need to find VERY good actors to make this short convincing, considering that it is a dialogue piece with philosophical undertones. But that's besides the point.

With all of your experience, has any of you seen a short of this kind with similar equipment executed within a limited budget of this kind? I know it's asking for a lot, but I've been doing research and I think I might be able to pull it off. I've been compiling estimates from certain rental houses and I've found a few that look promising.

All of the film processing will have a separate budget. I will gather more funds to get that done. Right now, it's a matter of just being able to film it.

Thanks all in advance and I look forward any responses.
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#2 Chris Burke

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:55 PM

It is a small budget and 3000 feet or so is a tight ratio, but I've seen worse. I could do it for that much. It all depends of the script. In terms of camera rental, maybe your dp can get a deal or own their own gear. In any case, a super 16 rental package can be found for very small money. I am assuming you need it for a week. You can do a lot with your budget, it just all depends on what your script calls for.
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:29 PM

Hello everyone.

I'm in the process of trying to gather funds for my short film. I've been a production assistant for quite some time (about 2 years), and have finally realized that I want to pursue directing. Story telling and realization via film is a dream of mine, and I'm at work trying to piece together the first film I've ever directed. I have written the script. It's been analyzed, and edited and worked on, I have a dedicated crew with tons of experience who'd be willing to work for free on set. This is my first film and it is a very personal and important project for me. My script is 12 pages, and I'm estimating about a 15 minute total length for the film. I will be composing all of the music for the film as well. The problem is that I'm on a very tight budget. My plans are to have it shot by the end of October or November. The funds I will have available will be approximately $6,000.00. I've set up a fundraiser for the short as well, and hopefully I can have about $8,000.00 for the entire shoot.

I was planning on going super 16mm black & white and color. Good thing is most of the short will be filmed in black and white. I'm still doing research on which film I want to use. Anyway, in terms of gear, some of these rental sites have prices for their daily rates of cameras, but it does not include ALL of the equipment which will be necessary to have it run smoothly on set. I'm expecting the shoot to be 4 days in length.

I was looking at the Arriflex 16 SR cameras and the minimum amount of glass I'd have would be a zoom, and about 3 or 4 primes. Again these are all rough estimates. I also need adequate film coverage, so I'm assuming about 3000ft for a 15 minute short. Of course I'm going to need everything else, all other camera parts, monitors, head, tripod, wiring, lighting, dolly, truck to transport the gear, mags, and everything else. Not to mention that I'm going to have to pay my DP and sound guy. Everyone else is willing to help me and work for free on this, which I'm VERY appreciative for.

I'm just curious as to if this is financially feasible. I cannot stand DSLRs and having a decent image via digital requires a nice chunk of change if one wants to rent an Alexa or RED MX or Epic, and anything else of that sort. I DO NOT want to compromise the quality of my short in terms of visuals, and on top off all of this, I need to find VERY good actors to make this short convincing, considering that it is a dialogue piece with philosophical undertones. But that's besides the point.

With all of your experience, has any of you seen a short of this kind with similar equipment executed within a limited budget of this kind? I know it's asking for a lot, but I've been doing research and I think I might be able to pull it off. I've been compiling estimates from certain rental houses and I've found a few that look promising.

All of the film processing will have a separate budget. I will gather more funds to get that done. Right now, it's a matter of just being able to film it.

Thanks all in advance and I look forward any responses.


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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:35 PM

There deals are commonly done on shorts and with much of the current work moving from Super 16 you should be able to rent the equipment for a good rate, especially for a week. I wouldn't take the published figures as the rate you have to pay, best phone the rental houses and do it on a personal basis. Sound well organised, efficient and friendly in your dealings with them.
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#5 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 01:46 PM

It's possible, but not a formula for a successful shoot. My rule of thumb is $1000/page is the threshold of getting picture and sound that will play well at a film-festival.

You'll want to look for a DP who owns the right camera, or someone (DP or camera assistant) who has a connection to a rental house. If you get the right kind of references, you can "ask" for the camera package. If you're PAing on big shows where the Key Grip and Gaffer own a lot of gear, now would be a good time to make some friends in those departments. Also, call Kodak or Fuji directly and tell them what you want to do, why film is important to you, and can they help you.

I would budget 1 roll of film per page of script, plus one more for good luck. I don't suggest short ends, because they're terrible for the actors, and they're probably rather scarce nowadays.

One thing you'll have a hard time getting around are the lab and tele-cine costs. I did my 6 page short (http://www.cinematog...showtopic=46720) on short-ends, free camera, light and grip; it was still somehow $10k before I started cutting! Lab and insurance were the biggest expenses.

Oh yeah, get all your deals in writing!

Good luck!
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Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

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The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio