TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR FILM ON BUDGET


TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR FILM ON BUDGET 

By Roberto Cardenas 


A well-executed film makes a great calling card. But, no one will come calling if they hear you can’t make a film on budget. Investors care about return on investment and, simply put, the higher you go over budget, the lower their return. We want your projects to not only be creatively mind-blowing, but fiscally attractive. 

Here’s some tips for running a tight ship:

  1. Utilize your budget wisely by hiring experienced crew members. You get what you pay for, and people with experience know how to be efficient with their talents.
  2.  Pad your budget with about 10% extra for the unexpected. You can plan all you want, but you can’t control or anticipate everything. It’s better to have a slush fund for when you get rained out, your equipment breaks, or your lead comes down with the flu mid-shoot.
  3. Create a treatment (designed to be executed within your budget) that all stakeholders can sign off on before you start shooting. It will it keep the vision clear and avoid 11th hour conflicting opinions, reshoots, pick up shots and additional rounds of edit.
  4. Designate the person with final say on creative and on budgetary concerns, and make sure all stakeholders have signed off. Too many cooks in the kitchen means your crew will waste too much time catering to varying opinions. Your “final say person” should be involved any time there are disagreements on how to proceed.
  5. Communicate with your crew about timeline expectations that not only include their delivery schedules, but also builds in time for your notes/feedback…and extra time for the unexpected (see point 2 above). A project that does not deliver on time rarely delivers on budget.
  6. Use quality equipment in production and post-production. We talked about hiring experienced crew members at the top of this list, but if you don’t give them the proper tools to do a quality job you will spend more time and money fixing quality issues at the back end than you expected…or budgeted for.

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