While I’ve been doing filmmaking as a hobby for many years, and gotten fairly decent at it (so the nice people tell me), one thing I’ve never really worked with before is large sums of cash. The most money I’ve ever worked with was for my first big film, The Broken Quiet. The budget? $700, which went to a basic light kit and snacks for the cast and crew.
Considering what I had to work with, I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished. Here’s a little trailer…
We completed and released that film to the Idaho International Film Festival in 2007, and are currently working on remastering the film for an eventual re-release. It has been a learning process.
As I began the script for Mark of the Veil, however, I realized that we would not be able to go without paying anybody this time around (not Hollywood union wages, but still enough to cover the salaries of folks taking time off from their day jobs).
The Broken Quiet was shot over 10 weekends. It was a labor of love for all involved. This time around, though, we’re dealing with a film that will be nearly twice the length of The Broken Quiet‘s 60 minute runtime. It has action and suspense, vehicles wrecking and guns, explosions and… Well, let’s just say it’s quite ambitious.
Writing the script, I tried to walk a fine line between unrealistic expectations of what we could accomplish on a low budget, and cutting corners just to be cheap. (I’m still on that tightrope as I am now on draft 3 of the current version of the script, draft 4 total.) I know I can’t make this movie “easy”. It has to challenge me, both artistically and financially. Everything I do must be a mountain worth climbing, or else it’s not going to truly fulfill me.
I read books suggested by friends, Googled tirelessly online, and, after prayer and a lot of time for consideration, landed on a number: $250,000.
Now, money and math aren’t my strong point, so I’m going to need some folks with experience to help me out. That’s where you could potentially come in.
I’m posting my little scratch budget here, on this post. It’s for a minimal crew. Not all the lines are filled in, some because I’m still not sure what they need (in which case I gave their whole section an estimated number of money to work with), and some because I’m going to try to consolidate many of the roles, and/or ask for volunteers in some of the crew positions.
Here’s my first attempt at budgeting a film!
(Note, the $0.00 amounts that show up aren’t typos — I’m using my vacation time for this film to save a salary. Anywhere you see $0.00 is where I’m filling a role.) (Nevermind, I think if I use my vacation time for my film stuff, my wife will shoot me. So, I’ll just go without pay from my day job here and earn an income for the time put in directing and editing.)
If you’re experienced with film budgets, and would like to connect with me to help me bring this budget to a greater clarity, I’d love to hear from you! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Brandon Freeman