Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What's It Cost?

I've had a couple of inquiries in the past month, regarding what it takes financially to put together the kind of movies we used to do at my old company. Certainly you can do movies for cheaper, Robert Rodriguez proved that, but not by much.

So the following is the budget topsheet for a typical low budget action movie. Remember that you can do this if you've written a script per my Low Budget guidelines. If you overwrite the script -- put in too many locations, parts, etc -- then money goes down the drain and not on the screen where it belongs.

PSEUDO ACTION MOVIE "X"
4 weeks preproduction
12 day shooting schedule
8 weeks post

CATEGORY// COST:

WRITING $2,500
DIRECTOR $4,000
TALENT $4,750

TOTAL ABOVE THE LINE $11,250

PRODUCTION STAFF $6,700
CAMERA $8,000
ART DEPARTMENT $2,500
SPECIAL FX $1,000
SET OPERATIONS $2,900
ELECTRICAL $4,600
STUNTS $2,150
EXTRA TALENT $100
WARDROBE $1,100
MAKEUP & HAIR $2,050
PRODUCTION SOUND $3,800
LOCATIONS $5,100
TRANSPORTATION $1,600
FILM & LAB $12,500
2ND UNIT $1,600

TOTAL PRODUCTION $55,700

EDITING $8,300
VIDEO POST PRODUCTION $3,700
MUSIC $1,000
POST PRODUCTION SOUND $3,500
TRAILER $2,200

TOTAL POST PRODUCTION $18,700

INSURANCE $9,150
GENERAL EXPENSES $3,500

TOTAL OTHER $12,650

GRAND TOTAL $100,000

4 comments:

CD said...

Fascinating stuff Bill.

Would you mind mentioning one of the films from your previous company (or any other) that was filmed for that kinda budget?

This for me is the most amazing number: Director $4,000.

Wow. So the director gets 4 grand for 14 weeks work? I kinda thought he (or she) might get a little more. He seems like the most notable member of the cast that will be with the film for the entire production. I'm assuming that the directing job is 40 plus hours a week for those 14 week...so that's about $300 a week.

That right?

CD

Bill Cunningham said...

Actually, no. The director would be off the show until the rough cut was assembled. Overall, he's on for (at most) ten weeks. So that's about $400 a week.

And if that's your first or second gig directing a movie that will be distributed worldwide -- it's a bargain. There are people lining up to pay to direct.

VATOS
13 DEAD MEN
HOOD ANGELS

would all be examples of movies in this budget range...I think some of the latter LionsGate Leprechaun movies were $200K.

CD said...

So for the screenwriter in that budget range, how long do you spend working on the script?

Three weeks tops?

CD

Bill Cunningham said...

You are basically getting 2.5% of the budget, and you work at it until the script is approved.

How long that is depends on you...

For me? On Scarecrow, It was two weeks of rewrites and several days of cast readings to iron out the rough edges. All that on top of my day job at the same company...