Q: How do you make a budget?

August 31, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

Q: How do you make a budget?

Carla M., Gainesville Florida

I always say, “the budget is the script for a producer”. Meaning, without a budget the producer cannot do their job effectively.  Making a budget is a very creative process. It’s kind of like writing a script. When you first start to make budgets there will be a lot of research involved. You will need to make phone calls and look online for quotes and the cost of certain things in the budget. Once you’ve done a few budgets, you have less research, but there is always some research involved. Then when you get those quotes, you will need to use those numbers to fill the budget in. Like writing a script, the process of making a budget is different for everyone. You need to know the parameters:  How much money can likely be raised? How many shoot days? What SAG agreement do you fall under?  What level of crew can we afford?  Are you making a movie with friends and neighbors?  Where are you shooting?  How many locations, cast members, scripts days, etc?  For me, once I know these parameters and I’ve filled in the budget for the first time, I tend to need to process it. It is usually well over what I want it to be so I then go back and start dwindling it down. Sometimes, I need to leave it alone for a day and just let it sit in my head and I’ll come up with a creative solution to the budgeting issues I’m having. The thing to remember is that the budget is an ever-changing thing. For example; you will find that someone on the production team knows someone who can get something in the art department’s wish-list for free that you had budgeted at $100 but that the grip equipment you thought was going to cost you $50 is actually $150 and so you move the money for the art department into the grip department.  The budget is constantly changing so remember that it’s a guide and don’t get too stuck on where you put the money initially. You must be able to see the big picture and stay within your total budget cost while being flexible within those parameters. Measure twice and cut once as they say.  Make sure you’ve done enough research that you can confidently say you can make the film for the amount in the budget. There’s nothing worse than not being able to finish because of budgeting incorrectly.

Comments

2 Comments on "Q: How do you make a budget?"

  1. Bob Slydell on Wed, 31st Aug 2011 3:38 pm 

    When seeking film locations or equipment a great source to consider is iCrewz.

  2. cindy on Wed, 14th Sep 2011 11:24 am 

    Thanks Bob!

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