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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Budget Part 2

Every film maker should first decide the purpose of making movie. Though movies are made for entertainment and profit the Indie film makers make movie for learning and kick starting their career as a film maker. An indie film maker expecting to make a blockbuster in the initial stage by spending huge amount of money will land in deep trouble (99% probability).
I made this mockumentary for learning purpose only (you will get more clarity on this when you see the budget for my movie below). Since I wanted to learn different facets of movie making I selected the concept of mockumentary which doesn’t necessitate budget/time/expertise which a regular commercial movie requires.
After understanding that starting from bottom is the right thing an independent film maker should do, let’s concentrate on the budget for making a low budget digital feature.
Budgeting in film industry can become as complicated as it can get with respect to the magnitude of the movie being made. Here is a sample budget form for a regular commercial movie. Try going through all rows and comprehend it. If you finished going through the list and assimilating it in one glance then please accept my appreciation.

If you felt that the contents were huge and scary then continue reading since I will make it simple for you.
The budget for any movie can be divided into following parts:
1. Above the line: Basically an imaginary line separates those who have influence in the creative direction of a film from others who perform duties related to the movie’s physical production. People like Producer, director, Actors, writers who are involved in the creative process of the movie are listed in the top portion of the budget list and an imaginary line is drawn under them, the money spent for these people is termed as above the line budget. For more info check this link
2. Below the line: For People/equipments who are involved in executing the physical production of the film the money spent is termed as below the line budget. For eg: All Technicians, Equipments, Wardrobe, publicity, food and so on. Refer to following link for more information.
3. Editing: The money spent after the production for editing/processing in lab is considered as editing cost.
Different film industries use different format to list the budget and there is no hard and fast rule to follow. As long as the producer/financier/you have a clear idea about where his/her money is going there is no problem. Be very careful while planning your budget, trust me if you make any serious mistakes here you might end up not making your movie at all.

Here is the breakdown for the money I spent on making the movie.
  1. Producer: 0 Rs(I paid myself nothing)
  2. Writer: 0 Rs (I paid myself nothing)
  3. Director: 0 Rs(I paid myself nothing)
  4. Actors: 10,000 Rs(Thanks to my Actors because this amount was very negligible when compared to their efforts)
    Above the Line -----------------------------------------------------
  5. Film stock: 0 (Benefit of going Digital)
  6. Camera: 30,000 Rs (Bought a HDR camera, more on this later)
  7. Cinematographer: 0 Rs (Definitely not required for this project so I was the one)
  8. Lens: 5000 Rs (Needed wide angle lens for the kind of shot)
  9. Lights/Grip: 2000 Rs(I purchased Halogen Lights)
  10. Dolly:0 Rs
  11. Sound Equipment:8000 Rs( I bought a condenser mic with sound editing software)
  12. Sound Technician: 0 Rs(I took care of the sound)
  13. Crew: 0 Rs(My Friends, Family members and I)
  14. Art: 0 Rs(No room for Art in this movie)
  15. Wardrobe: 4000 Rs(Actors go their costumes. I had buy/rent some which weren’t available with them)
  16. Expendables: 3000 Rs
  17. Extras: 3000 Rs
  18. Locations: 0 Rs (Everything was shot at my home)
  19. Office: 0 Rs(I used a extra room in my house as office)
  20. Food: 5000 Rs(Most of the time food cooked at home was consumed)
  21. Publicity: 0 Rs(This movie not intended for commercial release or for any profit)
  22. Festival: 0 Rs(Didn’t plan or thought of going here, I need to make a better movie to take it here.)
  23. Insurance: 0 Rs(didn’t need one)
  24. Film Lab: 0 Rs (I edited from my PC instead)
  25. Sound Edit:0 Rs (I edited from my PC instead)
  26. Video Edit: 0 Rs (I edited from my PC instead)
  27. Music/Score:0 Rs (I didn’t need any because of the subject chosen)
  28. Mix/Re-recording:0 Rs

    Total= 66,000 Rs( approx. 1500 dollars)
This budget might not fit every indie film maker’s requirement; one might want to shoot at external location or one might need very good sound tracks or CGI etc which might increase the budget. But the idea here is to get the budget framework simplified and gain confidence to go ahead with what ever money you are ready to spend.
As I am writing this blog, one of the revolutionary filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has made a commercial Telugu film with a meager budget(6 Lakhs) Dongala Murtha . Kudos to RGV.

You can find more tips in following links which I found in my IR.
Tips for indie film makers : 10 Tips

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