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Film Budget Breakdown

When people refer to film budgeting it means the process by which a unit production manager, filmmaker or a line producer prepares a budget for a motion picture production. Documents could be as much as 150 pages long and it’s used to get financing for the film so the pre-production can begin and eventually the final production.

A draft is usually made of film budget breakdown and many drafts may have to be made before a final one is agreed upon. A budget has four main parts:

Above the line – The creative talent
Below the line – production costs
Post-production – visual effects and editing
Other  Insurance, bonds etc.

Financing for the film is usually secured from a sponsor, investor, film studio, product placement, entertainment company, or from other funds out of pocket.

Deke Simon – author of Film and Video Budgets describes the budgeting process with great insight and humor. His book is the industry “bible’ on budgeting:

Film Budget Breakdown

Story Rights – This is the right to produce a film that is based upon something such as a video game, novel play or other work. It can be a remake of another film or a sequel as well. Screenplays can be as little as fifty thousand up to 10 million or even more.

Screenplay – This is the film on paper. A screenwriter is used to write the film and they can make tons of money to create the screenplay. The script can be worked on afterwards by a script doctor to get the final draft together.

Producer – This person or persons makes and develops the film and they can make bonuses as well as a share of the overall profits of the film. Producers can make multiple millions for a film. Film makers also like to use vacuum sealers to provide healthy fresh food for the actors, click here to find more information on food sealers.

Director – The director directs the action of the stars and makes the story come alive with the talent that is used to make the picture. Good directors can make as much as 10 million for a single film.

Cast – these are the actors and actresses that are a part of the movie. These people can be paid multiple millions per film. The cast also includes extras that have minor roles in the background. They can make about $130.00 per day. On low budget films extras often get nothing for participating in the film.

Production Costs – This includes wages of the crew making the film, the sets, the costumes, food, accommodations, transportation and other costs.

Visual Effects – these are done by computer and happen in post-production. These costs are largely determined by the work that needs to be done. Big budget films with tons of effects can cost up to a hundred million to get the effects onto the screen.

Music – Film composers are needed for the music and sometimes this includes big ticket music stars who command high salaries. An original song from a star could cost one million or more.

Budget Reduction

Many films need budget reduction. One way they do this is to cut out the night scenes which require far too much expensive lighting. Other ways include eliminating filming in famous locations or commercial areas as this costs money to shut down these areas for filming. Sometimes car chase scenes are done on Sunday when traffic is light. To cut costs some films use lesser known actors who need the work and take reduced salaries.

Some films are made in other locations but in the movie the city is different. For example the film might be set in Los Angeles, but the film is actually shot in Vancouver B.C. Some films use non-union crews to reduce the costs of film budgeting as well.

cc photo credits: flickr.com/photos/vancouverfilmschool


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