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Old November 4th, 2006, 02:14 PM   #1
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Citing a budget

Hey everyone, I was wondering what you guys thought about film budgets--meaning, when requested what a films budget was . . . how do you determine it?

Do you guys base the estimated budget solely on what you paid toward other cast, crew, and equipment rentals--or . . . do you base it on what it WOULD/COULD cost if it weren't for owned equipment or donations. Like, if you own a camera that you paid $5000 for, would include that in the budget?

I'm just curious, because I know Hollywood is notorious for inflating estimated movie costs.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 06:20 PM   #2
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I'm no Hollywood producer, but my understanding is that you budget for actual projected costs. That tells you how much cash you nead to raise, borrow or steal to get the job done. You might have another set of books with camera depreciation and the like, but that's for the IRS, not your investors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Overstreet
I'm just curious, because I know Hollywood is notorious for inflating estimated movie costs.
Heck, Hollywood inflates REAL costs. I've read that a studio might require that you use their lot, their catering, their dry cleaning service, etc - at their prices. It's not unlike working for a company, living in the company town and shopping at the company store. The money never gets spent, just recycled.

Even though it's a bit dated, check out Independent Feature Film Production by Gregory Goodell. http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Fe.../dp/0312181175

One might expect to read about lenses and lights, cameras and microphones. You won't. The book is about budgets and contracts, investments and law.
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Old November 10th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #3
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I think multiple budget systems are needed for any project. I like to have a "acedemic" budget first...one that considers what everything would cost if I had no equipment, no free help, and did everything by the book. Then I do a realistic budget taking those things into consideration. The difference of those two becomes my contribution to the film, so if the "acedemic" budget is 2x the "investor" budget, then I own 50% of the film.

But then you need a real budget...one that comes from the actual spending before, during, and after production. This should probably match as closely as possible the, investor budget....after all the "acedemic" budget is only acedemic, and to provide proof if asked, as to why you are asking only giving the investors 50% when they are putting up "all" the cash.

However, this is just the system I PLAN, on using. I havent' really put this into practice, as I'm still developing features. I've only self financed my shorts at this point.

In terms of books I would also recommend, "From Reel to Deal" by Dov S-S Simens, and "Risky Business, Financing and Distributing Independent Films" by Mark Litwak.
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Old November 11th, 2006, 12:39 AM   #4
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Thanks, excellent responses. Now, here comes another question. After the film is made, and someone asks how much it cost to make, do you give them your academic budget, or your realistic budget? Lets just say it was for publication ...
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Old November 11th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Overstreet
Thanks, excellent responses. Now, here comes another question. After the film is made, and someone asks how much it cost to make, do you give them your academic budget, or your realistic budget? Lets just say it was for publication ...
Actually from what Mark Litwak recommends, you play the Hollywood game and greatly exaggerate your budget, and if it was say a $150k movie, you say "just under a million". The reason being that telling someone, especially a distributor, your budget gives them an automatic signal of "this is what he owes his investors", and changes the deal you might get otherwise. No one except your investors has any right to know what the real budget is.
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Old November 11th, 2006, 12:56 PM   #6
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Thanks. That's basically what I was wondering. That's what Dov S.S. Simons (sp?) recommends as well. But, I wasn't sure how often people do that.
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Old November 11th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Overstreet
Thanks. That's basically what I was wondering. That's what Dov S.S. Simons (sp?) recommends as well. But, I wasn't sure how often people do that.
Hmm...then I may have misquoted Mark Litwak as saying that when maybe he hasn't. I sorta get their two books confused sometimes.
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