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Old April 2nd, 2010, 02:06 AM   #1
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Budget breakdown

Hi
I'm contemplating a $300,000 HD movie in the U.S., and I'm trying to figure out how much each department will take in salaries PER DAY... (assuming all actors are free for simplicity's sake):

1. Writer and Director, along with assistants
2. DP and assistants
3. Sound designer - location sound and post production
4. Production Designer - art director and minimal crew
5. Editor and assistant
6. Still Photographer

The reason I'm doing this is to have a realistic idea on how much I can afford in actual production (shooting, studios, etc). Also, it goes without saying that I'm looking for the best and most experienced crew possible - but is that even practical? Am I hoping for too much?
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 02:50 AM   #2
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I'm assuming it's the same over the ocean there where you are, but here in Oz it's simply a matter of having a look at the rates for indy productions as stipulated in the awards. The union usually has a document which outlines the average daily rates depending on the scale of the production.

Otherwise you can do it fully independently and off-union and pay people a flat rate for whatever you stipulate. If you want skills and quality though you will have to pay more for it.

Last edited by Damian Heffernan; April 2nd, 2010 at 02:51 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 05:55 AM   #3
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gorilla has a rate book and will help you schedule & cost the project

Gorilla Film Production Software - Film Budgeting, Film Scheduling, Story Organization, Story Outline, Story Planning, Writing Software
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 08:32 AM   #4
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I'm not sure I can afford union rates for all main positions and still stay within budget...or can I? How can a software keep updated on ground reality?
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 07:39 PM   #5
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Where are you planning on shooting in the US?

What I would suggest that you do is place a Craig's List crew ad under gigs for whatever city that you're planning on shooting in and ask people to submit their resumes and rates for a low budget feature. You'll get a real boots-on-the-ground feel for what salaries are. If I were doing it, I'd list the $300k budget so that people know what ballpark you're in.

I can tell you this - if the script is good, you can have top notch people all the way around even if your budget doesn't reflect their typical rates. People want to work on good projects and they'll take pay cuts if it looks like the work will be interesting.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 09:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
(assuming all actors are free for simplicity's sake):
Well, of course you wouldn't pay the actors.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 10:39 PM   #7
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I would really like to pay everyone - actors included. The only problem i have with services like mandy and craigslist are that one doesn't always get the best crew that is possible. however it's still a pretty good idea.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 01:09 AM   #8
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Sareesh,

An ad I put up for an editor about a year ago received a response from one of Stanley Kubrick's editors. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't get good crew off of Craig's List - they have no idea what they're talking about if they say that. Script requests have gotten responses from Academy Award nominated writers. An ad I placed for a line producer last year received dozens of responses from people with numerous multi-million dollar budgets to their name. I've wound up in an extended conversation with a guy who has executive produced one of Spielberg's films. Now, I have good projects and I know how to write an ad - so that helps. Still, all of those people were slumming on Craig's List.

As for paying the actors, on a $300k budget there is no reason that you can't. What you're going to do is look for really superb crew that have time open and want to work. You'll get amazing deals on people and equipment with just a little work.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 02:09 AM   #9
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Uh, Sareesh..........

Why, oh why are you thinking of shooting in the US?

Even assuming you need the stiffs and backdrop, apart from the immediate staff to make it happen, why would you contemplate doing the rest in the USA?

For an Indie, this is, as far as my (humble) maths goes, suicidal.

Not that you've double posted (exactly) but just tell us what's going on, 'cos I'm stymied about your motives (for shooting in the US) and end market, wherever that is.

I just don't want to watch you take a big financial swerve into the shruberry and end up bust, that's all.

If this is for the burgeoning "Diaspora" market (Google it), that's another beast altogether.

Do tell.


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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:52 AM   #10
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i'll try craigslist for sure...

chris...
It's not an Indian film - it's an English film for a western audience. Slumdog had a lot of big names attached to the project, a 250K film cannot. I might not shoot in the U.S. (I'd love to shoot in NZ!), maybe Europe if that turns out to be cheap. But I guess the basic breakdown is going to be the same nevertheless. I'm just confused about sound that's all.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #11
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Sareesh,

If you want me to take a look at it, and help with some appropriate figures, I can do that. Just email me and let me know.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
For an Indie, this is, as far as my (humble) maths goes, suicidal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
chris...
It's not an Indian film - it's an English film for a western audience.
Sareesh: "Indie" = "Independent"
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Old April 4th, 2010, 10:12 PM   #13
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LOL
Indie is Independent. My production company is called The Indie Farm!
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Old April 4th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #14
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Lori...
Luckily through some searching I've been able to find the union rates for the above positions. Where I'm stuck is sound - location and post. For my budget, how much should be a good sound budget and does that guarantee Hollywood standards?
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Old April 4th, 2010, 10:54 PM   #15
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Don't let anyone tell you that you don't get good crew off of Craig's List - they have no idea what they're talking about if they say that.
I think a LOT of the "luck" with Craigslist is how professional a request you put out - I've been "surfing" CL a LOT lately and there are a TON of spelling and grammatical errors in ads looking for crew so you're going to reap what you sow. If you are a professional and conduct yourself as a professional, I think the likelihood of ATTRACTING professionals goes up dramatically. I have a dialog going with a production coordinator now that was prepared to give his name and company name JUST so that I was able to verify that this wasn't some 12 year old kid looking for crew for his first "television documentary".

A number of my colleagues that function at the highest level peruse CL as well so be respectful, polite and give off the vibe that you are LEGITIMATE and you stand an above average chance of attracting the right people.

My 2 cents...
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