Film Production

A Budgets is an important tool for your Indie Film

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Budgeting is a No-Brainer

Always do a budget. Always.

A movie, a short film, a web series or anything you’re creating is a business. It’s a one-off business and produces one piece of product, but it’s still a business. And what do businesses all start out with? Business plans.

Your budget is your business plan. It gives you an idea of what you need to spend money on even if you have no idea what to spend money on. If I handed you $10,000 and said go make a short film, where’s that money going?

In your pocket? You’d be surprised how many producers answer ‘yes’ to that one. But seriously, what are you spending your money and how much should go to what department?

Hiring sound? Paying for a sound mix in post?

Editor?

Equipment? What kind? Getting a dolly track? Steadicam?

Hiring an operator? Who’s shooting it?

Digital camera, right? Buying hard drives? Backup hard drives? (Yeah, you’re going to need those)

What about food? How many meals are you providing?

Are there travel expenses?

Are you paying actors? If not, are you paying for their travel? If not, why would they work for you for free?

Have a headache now? This is just a small list. Could you imagine if you were planning an 18-21 day shoot for a feature? You’d go insane.

Budget, budget, budget.

Making a budget is paramount to the success of your project. It forces you to think about the unthinkable that pops up in your production. It makes you rank by level of importance where your money should go.

Quick hint: Sound.

If you don’t like to create a budget, go make friends with a line producer or even someone who loves creating budgets. I know, I know. What person loves to do budgets? You’d be surprised. Now go find them and make a budget.

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— Michael Field is a filmmaker from Connecticut. Check out his website and current projects at michaeldfield.com

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