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Make an 85min feature film with 200 dollars!

Posted: Sun, 6th Jan 2008, 12:10am

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PMiddy

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I’ve just finished authoring to DVD, a full-length feature film that I made for a 100 pounds! (approx. 200 dollars!)

Of-course this message is going out to all the film-makers who already have their BASIC equipment ready, including a standard DV camera, a PC and to those who aren't bothered about re-using a few of their old DV tapes!
If you would like any free help, advice or have any further questions in regards to how I achieved ‘Driftwood’, including any pre-production or post production problems, please feel free to email me at:

internationalpictures@fsmail.net

What’s the catch? – If you find any of my advice useful or if you simply enjoy the clips of my low budget film below, please subscribe to my movies whilst you are visiting my youtube channel! (Due to the vast amount of emails I am currently receiving, please allow 2 – 3 days for me to reply!)

See an extract:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDVDy0JBayU

See the trailer:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=wRQhcpDab8w

My full channel can be found at the link below and features making of documentaries, etc.
http://www.youtube.com/PMiddy001

Cheers,
Pete Middleton - Director
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 2:12am

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pdrg

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well done Pete that's less than 0.1% of what my first feature is costing!! Or less than half the cost of a single 400foot can of 35mm. Hell it's even less than a single day's crew catering on some of my days - I'll bet it was hard work!
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 2:34pm

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CurtinParloe

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Looks nice. Good work!
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 4:25pm

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Bryan M Block

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I agree-
This looks pretty darn good, especially considering the budget etc... Well done.

B
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 5:34pm

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Simon K Jones

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An interesting project. I'd like to know exactly how the budget is broken down to £100 - I'm surprised that covered travel and food expenses for the cast! Let alone things like, you know...the camera. smile

Sounds like a great achievement though, so well done!
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:04pm

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Sollthar

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Congratulations!

I have to say though, I'm a bit puzzled frankly by the whole "this only cost 200 $" attitude. If it's a good film, I don't really care if it was shot for 200 $ or 2'000 $.

Having a feature completed and made is an impressive task in itself and reason enough to be proud of. Especially an independently produced one - regardless of how much money you used. So my best congratulations for your endeavor and good luck with your final film!


And yes, 200 $ budget surely is a wrong calculation. Because to make a film, you need a camera, a computer, props, food, costumes and so on and so forth. Using stuff you already have doesn't mean it came for free. At some point, someone had to pay money for all that.
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:07pm

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Bryan M Block

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Tarn wrote:

An interesting project. I'd like to know exactly how the budget is broken down to £100 - I'm surprised that covered travel and food expenses for the cast! Let alone things like, you know...the camera. smile

Sounds like a great achievement though, so well done!
Well, I will tell you that some local guys shot a little film called "The Note" and it cost about a total of 12.00 for DV tape. Everything else was volunteered, including camera, lights, and food- and the talent and locations. It was a matter of finding people with the right resources. Now, it could be argued that the "cost" of the production at the value of the donated goods was rather high, but the actual outlay of cash was about 12.00...
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:11pm

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Sollthar

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I'd argue that even stuff you already paid for belongs into a proper budget. Just not into a cash budget. Cash budget is for stuff you actually have to buy/rent/pay specifically for a production. A films "budget" does include ammortisation costs though - business thinking. smile
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:27pm

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PMiddy

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Hi there, firstly I'd like to thank you all for the interest and kind words. Like I do mention in my profile though, the message is actually going out to filmmakers who do own a camera and basic equipment. My 100 pound budget was spent on tapes and petrol. I had the opportunity to work with some fine actors who all supported the project 100% and if it wasn't for them, the budget would have been a lot more. I also worked for free and that included months of editing work along with DVD authoring and DVD packaging. If anybody would like any further info, please ask.
Pete
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:30pm

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ben3308

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LMAO at Sollthar being Devil's Advocate, haha.

As far as I'm concerned, money spent on a movie is only spent money if you literally drop the cash on items. Donations of time/money/labor don't count. Come on, now.

MSB has been made on 100 bucks so far for tape, two shirts from Goodwill, and fake blood, but everything else: the equipment, the talent, the locations, the lights, the boom pole- are all donated/loaned/being borrowed from different places. So that doesn't count.

The only piece of equipment that we're using that I bought myself is my Rode NTG-2, but that doesn't quite count in the budget seeing as I bought the mic for stage productions and have since paid off the price from such videography projects. So it's a nixed expense.

Digressing, I think it's obvious that donations and things of that sort don't count. The argument that "well at some time someone did buy it" is pretty weak because that begs the question: where do you draw the line? If the talents eat before they arrive on set (and therefore do not require craft services) do you budget in the food that currently resides in their stomachs, simply because they paid for it, haha? biggrin Maybe you see where I'm going with this....
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:32pm

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ashman

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Hey Pete,

Well done! I checked out some of the clips from the film and the overall impression, it all looks very good. Especially with the budget you had. I'm really interested in seeing the full film so let me know if this goes out to any festivals or you release a full clip on the net.

Great Job.
Ash
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:45pm

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Sollthar

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Maybe you see where I'm going with this....
I do, I just don't care enough to argue with a teenager who gets his parents to buy everything for him and has little understanding of proper business thinking yet. I spare us both the hassle. smile


Good luck with your feature film PMiddy! I hope it does help you on the way to where you want to be and I hope it sets a shining example for other aspiring filmmakers.
And kudos for your will to assist others. That's a rare treat and I'm sure you have a lot of experience to share.
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:47pm

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ben3308

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Sollthar wrote:

with a teenager who gets his parents to buy everything
If only, my friend, if only. biggrin I'm a big borrower, not a 'brat', as it were.
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 6:51pm

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Sollthar

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Heh, even worse. smile


On a serious note though. It's simply two ways of thinking.

- The proper "business" way, how film as a product is handled pretty much everywhere in the "professional" world.

- and the aspiring "hobby filmmaker" way, how film is the realization of a dream with any mean possible and achievable.

Sometimes, both mix. And both have their truths, LMAO here or there.


Well anyways. I've got DVD's to watch. smile
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 7:43pm

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Bryan M Block

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No offense, but that's pretty bad business accounting if you ask me. You don't need to budget for an "exsiting resource" - That's like saying "My brother loaned me his car, so really this film would have cost me 25K because he already bought it and I used it. I work in video and film production for a living, and I have for the past 10 years. The budget on the last corporate project I did was about 50K, and I've run my own freelance business for years as well- Never would I include the cost of gear as part of a project budget- since gear is an "asset" that I can use over and over and over again. So saying that the project cost $200, is true and fair. Once you buy the asset, you never need to include it's cost into your project budget- I mean we would never tell a client "We can't do your 10K video because our camera cost 30K, so your budget isn't sufficient to do this..."
eek
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 7:52pm

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Sollthar

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That's pretty awesome of you then. If you hire a cameraman here with or without his own gear, you can bet your life you'll pay more for the second. Righteously so I might add.

I should move to the US I think. smile
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 8:19pm

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PMiddy

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Thanks very much Sollthar.

Brian M Block - Good point! I agree entirely with the 'not counting the equipment as part of your budget' (even though my camera did get a lot of stick!) It'll probably break down altogether half-way through my second feature film! - However, the camera I used was a Panasonic GS400nv. 3CCD broadcast quality. They've brought out a newer model of this now which has a smaller viewfinder and I believe is a lot more 'fiddly' to operate - This has brought my camera down to about 600 pounds. Anybody could get a secondhand one for half that. Just check usage beforehand!
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 8:20pm

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CX3

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I agree with and Atom and Bryan. Fingerman had a few cars borrowed for the production... That was NOT over a $100,000 film ha. Especially if you already own it, to put it on the budget list doesn't make too much sense.

And don't use that proper business teenage thinking stuff on me wink
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 8:28pm

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Sollthar

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I never said you calculate in 100% of the cost of what you use and simply add that to the budget, even though everyone seems to try to set that into my mouth. smile

So you all are saying you'd do a hired job for the exact same amount of money no matter if you brought along your own, self financed equipment or not? (hence saving the production the money to go hire it)
Or asked from the other side, you'd expect to pay the exact same amount for a hired cameraman no matter if he brings along his own equipment or not? (hence entirely disregarding the one guys own investment into his commercial value, if you will)

Hm, maybe it's just swiss business thinking then. No surprise we're a finance capital. smile

don't use that proper business teenage thinking stuff on me
Ahw, you can't blame me for playing the "you're just a kid" card on my beloved ben as long as he's still a teenager. It almost makes me feel guilty. Almost. Not quite. smile
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 8:33pm

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Bryan M Block

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Sollthar wrote:

That's pretty awesome of you then. If you hire a cameraman here with or without his own gear, you can bet your life you'll pay more for the second. Righteously so I might add.

I should move to the US I think. smile
Well of COURSE you pay more to rent a package (op and gear) than just the op or the gear, but you don't pay for the WHOLE camera- you pay a rental on it. Why? Because the camera is an ASSET that the freelance cameraman (or camera rental house) will depreciate over time for HIS business- but for MY business as a producer, I'm not interested in how much his camera cost to BUY only to rent for the day of the shoot. Sometimes for REALLY low-budget things, for example a new client that we are trying to woo and we are doing a very small video shoot for (usually a half day or less with no real crew) We have the option of using our own camera, audio, and light kit. These are items that have been bought and paid for for a decade! We don't charge the client the cost of the gear, only a project rate to do the thing. I mean, at what point do you stop "counting" the price of gear as part of your project budget? If I have Sony Vegas (700.00) are ALL of my projects now costing me an extra 700.00 because I have to count that initial purchase into a project budget or just the first project I do with it? - That doesn't make sense. When I shot Motor Lodge a year ago or so, someone loaned me an abandoned motel to shoot my film- they didn't charge me, but the real estate value on the property is probably 400K, so did I have a 400K budget on that project? NO- I spent 1-2K out of pocket to make that picture, and my tax records reflect that.

.02
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 8:38pm

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Sollthar

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Yeah, entirely agreed. I handle my freelancing or hiring the same way.

I'm under the - probably false - impression that's kind of exactly what I said... smile

I, once again, never said you simply add the price of what you bought to the bugget 1:1. At least I can't find any post in where I said so. But it's an investment someone at sometime has made, ergo it has a commercial value, that can't just simply be disregarded just because you already own the stuff. That's all I said. Or tried to say at least. smile

Because frankly, I doubt they'd sell their film to a distributor for 400 $, will they? Even though 200 % win isn't a bad result...



Ah well, glad we got that sorted now. I start to feel bad to nick the thread. This is about a film! So keep the questions coming.


Or in other words, back to topic! cool

Last edited Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 10:56pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 9:09pm

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Bryan M Block

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Sollthar wrote:



I, once again, never said you simply add the price of what you bought to the bugget 1:1. At least I can't find any post in where I said so. But it's an investment someone at sometime has made, ergo it has a commercial value, that can't just simply be disregarded just because you already own the stuff. That's all I said. Or tried to say at least. smile

cool
Well, I agree- to a point, that the gear has value, etc.. but when I think of a project budget, I take stock of what my existing resources are and then figure out what I need to spend to "make it happen" which doesn't include resources I can use for "free". smile For example, if I have a guy that will loan me a camera and some lights and an audio package, and I want to make a film- I don't need to "raise" the money for a camera, lights, and audio package, or as line items, their cost would be 0$ - so they are effectively NOT part of my project budget expenses, and my project budget goes down accordingly. I think "what money do I have to outlay TODAY to make this happen?", not "what money have I ever spent over my entire life to make this happen?" (e.g. Editing software, camera, microphones I own, props and costumes I already own, etc...) All of which have some kind of value... I mean,at my day/hourly rate in corporate video- I can't afford myself to work on my own films! eek although my time has commercial value...
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 10:26pm

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CurtinParloe

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Sollthar wrote:

Congratulations!

I have to say though, I'm a bit puzzled frankly by the whole "this only cost 200 $" attitude. If it's a good film, I don't really care if it was shot for 200 $ or 2'000 $.

Having a feature completed and made is an impressive task in itself and reason enough to be proud of. Especially an independently produced one - regardless of how much money you used. So my best congratulations for your endeavor and good luck with your final film!


And yes, 200 $ budget surely is a wrong calculation. Because to make a film, you need a camera, a computer, props, food, costumes and so on and so forth. Using stuff you already have doesn't mean it came for free. At some point, someone had to pay money for all that.
This seems to have digressed into a budget semantics discussion. I think PMiddy's point is that most people on this board (even aged 14) are capable of raising $200 and already have some form of film-making equipment, so making a feature film is entirely within their means.
Probably. biggrin
Posted: Tue, 8th Jan 2008, 5:30am

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Bryan M Block

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CurtinParloe wrote:

Sollthar wrote:

Congratulations!

I have to say though, I'm a bit puzzled frankly by the whole "this only cost 200 $" attitude. If it's a good film, I don't really care if it was shot for 200 $ or 2'000 $.

Having a feature completed and made is an impressive task in itself and reason enough to be proud of. Especially an independently produced one - regardless of how much money you used. So my best congratulations for your endeavor and good luck with your final film!


And yes, 200 $ budget surely is a wrong calculation. Because to make a film, you need a camera, a computer, props, food, costumes and so on and so forth. Using stuff you already have doesn't mean it came for free. At some point, someone had to pay money for all that.
This seems to have digressed into a budget semantics discussion. I think PMiddy's point is that most people on this board (even aged 14) are capable of raising $200 and already have some form of film-making equipment, so making a feature film is entirely within their means.
Probably. biggrin
I agree, that is PMiddy's point, and I also agree that I THINK Solthars point is that "Just because you have 200.00 don't expext it to look like that because this person obviously has other resources at his disposal, like a nice camera and lights etc..." which is indeed a valuable point.
Posted: Tue, 8th Jan 2008, 11:28am

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Mantra

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Congrat's , that's some achievement given the budget.
Keep us posted how things progress,

Best of Luck!
Mantra
Posted: Tue, 8th Jan 2008, 2:27pm

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petet2

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I agree that this seemed to become a debate about the difference between budgeting as an amateur and budgeting as a professional.

As an amatuer your budget is your outgoings - how much of my own cash did I spend to make this (and PMiddy made it clear that means tape costs and petrol).

However as a business things are not so simple (as I am learning from my wife who is the financial brains behind our business and currently resolving my tax return). Something you already own (such as a camera) does have a cost - it is on your balance sheet as an asset and you have depreciation as a business cost (until that particular asset no longer has a value). You also have to cost in your time - a common mistake in new businesses is not to do this so as you grow and need to employ staff to do some of the tasks for you then you either lose all your profits or your prices have to rise.

No you don't say to a client "my camera cost £700 so I have to add £700 to your bill" but the bill to a client isn't simply based upon how much you spend on consumables for a particular job (i.e. food, petrol, camera tapes etc). You have to include a percentage of your annual overheads (equipment, premises, vehicle costs, utilities bills, insurance costs, phone bill, business rates, etc - it's a big list) in every quote to a client and then profit on top.

If you don't you'll be very competitive on price...but you'll soon be out of business.
Posted: Tue, 8th Jan 2008, 8:45pm

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Bryan M Block

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petet2 wrote:

I agree that this seemed to become a debate about the difference between budgeting as an amateur and budgeting as a professional.

As an amatuer your budget is your outgoings - how much of my own cash did I spend to make this (and PMiddy made it clear that means tape costs and petrol).

However as a business things are not so simple (as I am learning from my wife who is the financial brains behind our business and currently resolving my tax return). Something you already own (such as a camera) does have a cost - it is on your balance sheet as an asset and you have depreciation as a business cost (until that particular asset no longer has a value). You also have to cost in your time - a common mistake in new businesses is not to do this so as you grow and need to employ staff to do some of the tasks for you then you either lose all your profits or your prices have to rise.

No you don't say to a client "my camera cost £700 so I have to add £700 to your bill" but the bill to a client isn't simply based upon how much you spend on consumables for a particular job (i.e. food, petrol, camera tapes etc). You have to include a percentage of your annual overheads (equipment, premises, vehicle costs, utilities bills, insurance costs, phone bill, business rates, etc - it's a big list) in every quote to a client and then profit on top.

If you don't you'll be very competitive on price...but you'll soon be out of business.
Yes, that is part of your markup- to accomodate your overhead (i.e. the "cost of doing business") but that is not part of the "project budget" Like I said, I bill out at 75.00 per hour through my company as a producer/writer/director- at that rate, I can't even afford myself to work on my own films! But never would I consider my own time for my own film a "cost"- If that is the case then after 10 script revisions, location scouting, meetings, and all my producer hours... Motor Lodge is a half million dollar "budget" film, eek and that is not true. My budget for that film was about 2k- what I had to outlay to get it DONE. PMiddy said he had a budget of 200.00 and he did.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 11:50am

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Sollthar

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Okay, since you stay on your opinion Bryan M Block, I'd like to ask you a question.

Let's say you shot your film for 2000 $, as you said. Don't bill in your time, your equipment and so on and so forth - would you sell it's rights entirely to a distributor for, say, 3000 $ ? Because I mean, getting 150 % of your budget back is pretty solid by any industry standard I know of. So I could say your film broke even AND made 50 % profit. All reason to get happy. Or not?
I would buy PMdiddys film for 500 $, which is a very good offer considering the budget the film had. But something tells me he wouldn't sell it to me. Nor would you be entirely happy with your financial oucome..

I think, if you're going for a film as a "product" with motor Lodge and DON'T calculate in your time when you evaluate what the budget is, you're making commercial suicide. And you're simply lying to yourself about what budget your film had and therefore is worth as a commercial product.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 1:46pm

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Arktic

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Once you buy the asset, you never need to include it's cost into your project budget- I mean we would never tell a client "We can't do your 10K video because our camera cost 30K, so your budget isn't sufficient to do this..."
Actually, you'd be suprised how often this kind of thing happens!

One really famous example was 20th Century Fox charging itself rent for the use of their headquarters, to double as the Nakatomi Tower.

Also, many large TV companies work in a similar fashion - the programme making departments of the company have to pay the hire departments money to rent their camera kit or the use of an edit suite; even though at the end of they day, all the equipment and facilities are owned by the same company. This is the way the BBC, and others, operate.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 2:12pm

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Bryan M Block

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Sollthar wrote:

Okay, since you stay on your opinion Bryan M Block, I'd like to ask you a question.

Let's say you shot your film for 2000 $, as you said. Don't bill in your time, your equipment and so on and so forth - would you sell it's rights entirely to a distributor for, say, 3000 $ ? Because I mean, getting 150 % of your budget back is pretty solid by any industry standard I know of. So I could say your film broke even AND made 50 % profit. All reason to get happy. Or not?
I would buy PMdiddys film for 500 $, which is a very good offer considering the budget the film had. But something tells me he wouldn't sell it to me. Nor would you be entirely happy with your financial oucome..

I think, if you're going for a film as a "product" with motor Lodge and DON'T calculate in your time when you evaluate what the budget is, you're making commercial suicide. And you're simply lying to yourself about what budget your film had and therefore is worth as a commercial product.
Apples do not equal oranges. You are talking about the relative value of a finsihed product vs. the capital that went into the project. Of course my time as producer/writer/director has "value" as labor capital, but it was not an ependiture of cash. Robert Rodrigez always said that he made El Mariachi for $7,000- which I guess makes him a "liar" too- He already had a camera, and he got volunteers for all of his actors etc... and of course film processing cost a bundle- especially to transfer for large scale theatrical release which is not part of the 7K budget- those funds came later from a distribution company. You can try to spin this however you want to- that's why we have accountants, to make sure that the actuals = the estimates and line items at the end of the day regardless of the reality of the situation. If you like, I can start adding up the time i spent on Motor lodge and the value of everything donated or volunteered to me- I think including Aaron Schuh's DP rate we can safely say that the "budget" for Motor Lodge would then probably equal upwards of a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000) if I had to account for everything. SO-by your logic, I shouldn't accept less than a quarter of a million dollars for my little film, because when all is said and done, that's how much I REALLY have invested in it? Hmmm... I guess that $10,000 distribution deal doesn't seem so attractive to me now, knowing that my 2K indie film really had a budget of 250K. I'd be losing money on that deal.... unsure
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 2:28pm

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Bryan M Block

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Arktic wrote:

Once you buy the asset, you never need to include it's cost into your project budget- I mean we would never tell a client "We can't do your 10K video because our camera cost 30K, so your budget isn't sufficient to do this..."
Actually, you'd be suprised how often this kind of thing happens!

One really famous example was 20th Century Fox charging itself rent for the use of their headquarters, to double as the Nakatomi Tower.

Also, many large TV companies work in a similar fashion - the programme making departments of the company have to pay the hire departments money to rent their camera kit or the use of an edit suite; even though at the end of they day, all the equipment and facilities are owned by the same company. This is the way the BBC, and others, operate.
Uh- I know you pay rental on gear, and location fees- and sometimes the gear is already paid for, but we are talking two different things here completely. If a production company wants to produce something IN HOUSE for themselves, there might be a line item for a camera package but it is not really an expenditure, they already own the camera-unless there is some other need to work that way, for example: Tax purposes, union regulations, or for accountability to investors- despite the fancy accounting, the money goes from one hand at the same company to another hand at the same company- which means the company didn't lose that money- it just gets transferred to the operating account somewhere else. Again, this makes sense from an accounting perspective- but we are t=not talking about multi-tiered divisions of companies here, we are talking producing an indie film. Why would I pay myself? For example- If I own a camera, why would I bother to figure that into a project budget that I am producing for myself? I would worry about expenditures, not exsiting assets. The same with an editing system or my time as producer, director, editor. I agree that depending on the scale of things, you would need to to take those things into consideration, for example if I had to take two months off of work to do a project, I'd have to make sure I could afford to do that or have the project have a big enough budget that I could pay myself.

So I guess PMDiddy, Robert Rodriguez, and me are all lying to ourseleves about what the budgets of our films REALLY are, and I have no understanding of how the "professional business" way of doing things REALLY works, so I just bow out now.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 4:09pm

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pdrg

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Just a quick answer to 'why pay yourself?'

The production can owe you money for your work - you don't take the fee in cash, but are owed it all the same. Now your $2k project is a $20k one, so selling it for $30k (if you want to work on costs + markup, although price and cost and value are all quite different things to me) would then be in line with your work.

Alternatively, discount all non-direct costs as the original poster has done, and you've got a sexy headline 'this film only cost £100' toi grab attention (it worked!)

Fact is, in no industry will they tell you what it cost them to make something. If Fard say 'it costs us $15,000 to make a car', you may be happy to spend $20k on it. If Furd say ' it costs us $5,000 to make an identical car', would you want to pay less than $20k for an identical product just because Furd are more efficient than Fard? This is why all the numbers you head 'a $8-10M movie' are piffle and nonsense, you'll never hear what something REALLY cost wink
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 4:45pm

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Bryan M Block

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pdrg wrote:

Just a quick answer to 'why pay yourself?'

The production can owe you money for your work - you don't take the fee in cash, but are owed it all the same. Now your $2k project is a $20k one, so selling it for $30k (if you want to work on costs + markup, although price and cost and value are all quite different things to me) would then be in line with your work.

Alternatively, discount all non-direct costs as the original poster has done, and you've got a sexy headline 'this film only cost £100' toi grab attention (it worked!)

Fact is, in no industry will they tell you what it cost them to make something. If Fard say 'it costs us $15,000 to make a car', you may be happy to spend $20k on it. If Furd say ' it costs us $5,000 to make an identical car', would you want to pay less than $20k for an identical product just because Furd are more efficient than Fard? This is why all the numbers you head 'a $8-10M movie' are piffle and nonsense, you'll never hear what something REALLY cost wink
I agree- because it's all based on relative values. My point is only that if I'm looking at a line item on my budget and my actual COST is 0$- then it is 0$ period. I'm not going to just assign some relative value to it.

For example- if I have 400.00 to rent a light kit in my budget and I find a guy that will rent it to me for 200.00, then my ACTUAL cost is 200.00, not 400, just because someone values it at 400. So if I have budgeted 400 for lights, and it only costs me 200, then I can move $200 of my overall budget to another line item, like talent or graphics or edit time etc... SO what if I find a guy that will rent me the light kit for $100 or $25 or for FREE. Then my actuals will reflect that. With a client, I have to worry about markup etc.., but if I'm producing for me- I only need to worry about expenditures. All of my producers and talent donated their time to make Motor Lodge, including me. So what "relative value" do I assign to our collective time? Is Deron (actor) worth union scale? scale plus? or is he a $10 million actor? As a writer and producer, am I worth 75$/Hr producing- dayrate 750 for directing (what my corporate job charges for me) or am I worth an $1182 DGA day rate or am I some hack that is worth a couple hundred bucks?
My actuals (and yes- I had to have actuals because Motor Lodge is a for-profit venture that has tax implications for me) show line item expenditures for those things at 0$. So there is no way to accurately determine what the "value" of Motor Lodge is- only what I spent on it. I know that me and two friends pulled together enough free and discounted resources to make Motor Lodge by only spending 2K. So if a 5K or 10K distribution deal came up, you bet- I would take it. That profit would go towards making another film, and I would probably use many of the same folks to make it with. I have no problem telling the IRS I spent 2K on the film, nor do I feel I am being inaccurate in decribing it as such- I again point to the Rodriguez example.

P.S. I agree in theory with "paying yourself" IF the production is something outside of yourself (like an LLC for a one-off project)but with the case of many of us here- we are one guy with a camera and a dream and a couple of friends when it comes to our personal projects.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 5:07pm

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pdrg

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You're quite right, for most productions here it's unnecessary to budget professionally, and after all, each budget has a different audience anyway (which is where the confusion in the thread arises!)

When budgeting a project I typically produce two budgets - one at mid-market/ratecard prices, and the other at the prices I think I can get. For instance, ask Arri/Panavision/etc nicely, and they'll knock a sizeable percentage off your hire bill if you want a fair amount of kit, or are a regular. One price goes on the investors budget, one on my budget - this way I know what leeway I have for other items. Alternatively it means I have 2 budgeted figures - the one I'd like to work with, and the one I can scrape by on - and as soon as I've raised the 'scrape by' figure I know can make the project and from this point, it's all about whether I can afford those extra few lights, a slightly longer shoot, better catering, taxis, etc.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 5:29pm

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Bryan M Block

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pdrg wrote:

You're quite right, for most productions here it's unnecessary to budget professionally, and after all, each budget has a different audience anyway (which is where the confusion in the thread arises!)

When budgeting a project I typically produce two budgets - one at mid-market/ratecard prices, and the other at the prices I think I can get. For instance, ask Arri/Panavision/etc nicely, and they'll knock a sizeable percentage off your hire bill if you want a fair amount of kit, or are a regular. One price goes on the investors budget, one on my budget - this way I know what leeway I have for other items. Alternatively it means I have 2 budgeted figures - the one I'd like to work with, and the one I can scrape by on - and as soon as I've raised the 'scrape by' figure I know can make the project and from this point, it's all about whether I can afford those extra few lights, a slightly longer shoot, better catering, taxis, etc.
Agreed- I think I take exception to the term "professionally" though- We do the same type of things at my job all the time, we've been in business for 16 years and do production for national clients. "budgeting professionally" means alot of things to me wink
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 6:39pm

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pdrg

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Bryan M Block wrote:

pdrg wrote:

... to budget professionally,
Agreed- I think I take exception to the term "professionally" though- We do the same type of things at my job all the time, we've been in business for 16 years and do production for national clients. "budgeting professionally" means alot of things to me wink
Yeah, that was sloppy writing from a overtired pdrg on a pda :-$ I suppose I meant something more like "formal" or "commercial" or even "customer-ready"... "professional" was a near match but you're right, professionalism is about appropriate tools for each job smile
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 6:56pm

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petet2

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Bryan M Block wrote:

Sollthar wrote:

Okay, since you stay on your opinion Bryan M Block, I'd like to ask you a question.

Let's say you shot your film for 2000 $, as you said. Don't bill in your time, your equipment and so on and so forth - would you sell it's rights entirely to a distributor for, say, 3000 $ ? Because I mean, getting 150 % of your budget back is pretty solid by any industry standard I know of. So I could say your film broke even AND made 50 % profit. All reason to get happy. Or not?
I would buy PMdiddys film for 500 $, which is a very good offer considering the budget the film had. But something tells me he wouldn't sell it to me. Nor would you be entirely happy with your financial oucome..

I think, if you're going for a film as a "product" with motor Lodge and DON'T calculate in your time when you evaluate what the budget is, you're making commercial suicide. And you're simply lying to yourself about what budget your film had and therefore is worth as a commercial product.
Apples do not equal oranges. You are talking about the relative value of a finsihed product vs. the capital that went into the project. Of course my time as producer/writer/director has "value" as labor capital, but it was not an ependiture of cash. Robert Rodrigez always said that he made El Mariachi for $7,000- which I guess makes him a "liar" too- He already had a camera, and he got volunteers for all of his actors etc... and of course film processing cost a bundle- especially to transfer for large scale theatrical release which is not part of the 7K budget- those funds came later from a distribution company. You can try to spin this however you want to- that's why we have accountants, to make sure that the actuals = the estimates and line items at the end of the day regardless of the reality of the situation. If you like, I can start adding up the time i spent on Motor lodge and the value of everything donated or volunteered to me- I think including Aaron Schuh's DP rate we can safely say that the "budget" for Motor Lodge would then probably equal upwards of a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000) if I had to account for everything. SO-by your logic, I shouldn't accept less than a quarter of a million dollars for my little film, because when all is said and done, that's how much I REALLY have invested in it? Hmmm... I guess that $10,000 distribution deal doesn't seem so attractive to me now, knowing that my 2K indie film really had a budget of 250K. I'd be losing money on that deal.... unsure
Again this comes back to are you doing it as an amateur who wants to make a bit of cash to fund their next project or you want to make a living out of film making. Living hand to mouth where you only budget a project based on outgoings specific to that project just isn't sustainable.

Imagine this - you own a camera and lights so when costing a ten minute promo you base your bill to the client upon your actual costs (transport, tape, susbsistence, time) and come up with a figure. Four months later the same client comes back to you and wants another film the same - however when you get your camera down from the shelf it's broken and you need to buy a new one. Does that client now have to pay a much increased bill as the cost for this project has to include all the same outgoings as the previous one but you also have to add in the entire cost of a new camera?

No you do not include the entire purchase cost of a new camera or some other piece of equipment in the budget for every project. You include a proportion of the purchase cost of a new camera in the budget for projects spread across the perceived lifetime of the camera so that you have money available to replace equipment as necessary.

I think we are well away from the original intention of this thread which was to encourage new film makers to realise that if they have a camera then they can make a feature length movie for very little outlay. However it would be misleading to suggest that is an acceptable way to budget a business if you want it to be your sole source of income and there will be many FX Homers who want to follow just that career path.

The amount of time a project takes is very relevant and so your time has to be included in budgeting. Getting £10,000 for a movie that costs £2,000 to make seems great - wow £8,000 profit for making a movie! If it takes a few months to make then that's not a bad return for two months work - £4,000 a month is a pretty decent salary. However if it takes you a whole year to make the movie then how will you pay rent or mortgage on your home, the bill for your utilities, food, clothing and so on?

Also if you are seen to be making some money then the offers of free equipment and labour etc will soon dry up. I bet Robert Rodriguez found it imposible to get anything for free once those that gave up their time/resources for nothing saw him banking big bucks on the back of it.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 8:40pm

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Bryan M Block

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petet2 wrote:

Bryan M Block wrote:

Sollthar wrote:

Okay, since you stay on your opinion Bryan M Block, I'd like to ask you a question.

Let's say you shot your film for 2000 $, as you said. Don't bill in your time, your equipment and so on and so forth - would you sell it's rights entirely to a distributor for, say, 3000 $ ? Because I mean, getting 150 % of your budget back is pretty solid by any industry standard I know of. So I could say your film broke even AND made 50 % profit. All reason to get happy. Or not?
I would buy PMdiddys film for 500 $, which is a very good offer considering the budget the film had. But something tells me he wouldn't sell it to me. Nor would you be entirely happy with your financial oucome..

I think, if you're going for a film as a "product" with motor Lodge and DON'T calculate in your time when you evaluate what the budget is, you're making commercial suicide. And you're simply lying to yourself about what budget your film had and therefore is worth as a commercial product.
Apples do not equal oranges. You are talking about the relative value of a finsihed product vs. the capital that went into the project. Of course my time as producer/writer/director has "value" as labor capital, but it was not an ependiture of cash. Robert Rodrigez always said that he made El Mariachi for $7,000- which I guess makes him a "liar" too- He already had a camera, and he got volunteers for all of his actors etc... and of course film processing cost a bundle- especially to transfer for large scale theatrical release which is not part of the 7K budget- those funds came later from a distribution company. You can try to spin this however you want to- that's why we have accountants, to make sure that the actuals = the estimates and line items at the end of the day regardless of the reality of the situation. If you like, I can start adding up the time i spent on Motor lodge and the value of everything donated or volunteered to me- I think including Aaron Schuh's DP rate we can safely say that the "budget" for Motor Lodge would then probably equal upwards of a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000) if I had to account for everything. SO-by your logic, I shouldn't accept less than a quarter of a million dollars for my little film, because when all is said and done, that's how much I REALLY have invested in it? Hmmm... I guess that $10,000 distribution deal doesn't seem so attractive to me now, knowing that my 2K indie film really had a budget of 250K. I'd be losing money on that deal.... unsure
Again this comes back to are you doing it as an amateur who wants to make a bit of cash to fund their next project or you want to make a living out of film making. Living hand to mouth where you only budget a project based on outgoings specific to that project just isn't sustainable.

Imagine this - you own a camera and lights so when costing a ten minute promo you base your bill to the client upon your actual costs (transport, tape, susbsistence, time) and come up with a figure. Four months later the same client comes back to you and wants another film the same - however when you get your camera down from the shelf it's broken and you need to buy a new one. Does that client now have to pay a much increased bill as the cost for this project has to include all the same outgoings as the previous one but you also have to add in the entire cost of a new camera?

No you do not include the entire purchase cost of a new camera or some other piece of equipment in the budget for every project. You include a proportion of the purchase cost of a new camera in the budget for projects spread across the perceived lifetime of the camera so that you have money available to replace equipment as necessary.

I think we are well away from the original intention of this thread which was to encourage new film makers to realise that if they have a camera then they can make a feature length movie for very little outlay. However it would be misleading to suggest that is an acceptable way to budget a business if you want it to be your sole source of income and there will be many FX Homers who want to follow just that career path.

The amount of time a project takes is very relevant and so your time has to be included in budgeting. Getting £10,000 for a movie that costs £2,000 to make seems great - wow £8,000 profit for making a movie! If it takes a few months to make then that's not a bad return for two months work - £4,000 a month is a pretty decent salary. However if it takes you a whole year to make the movie then how will you pay rent or mortgage on your home, the bill for your utilities, food, clothing and so on?

Also if you are seen to be making some money then the offers of free equipment and labour etc will soon dry up. I bet Robert Rodriguez found it imposible to get anything for free once those that gave up their time/resources for nothing saw him banking big bucks on the back of it.
Apples / Oranges. I make my living doing video and have for 10 years. As soon as you mentioned "client" in your statement, you are changing the rules completely. I mean, after all you are talking to someone who is finishing a film with a quarter million dollar budget here! That's what is great, I started this thread with a 2K indie film, now that I've been educated by the professionals, I have a quarter million dollar movie on my hands! biggrin
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 11:27pm

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Sollthar

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Brian M Block wrote:

Hmmm... I guess that $10,000 distribution deal doesn't seem so attractive to me now, knowing that my 2K indie film really had a budget of 250K. I'd be losing money on that deal....
Yep, in industry terms, you are losing money on that deal. If not, then you might have just found the perfect business. Making some 2000 $ films and sell them for 10'000 $. I'm in, let's do that several time a month. smile

petet2 sums it up really well. I've got nothing to add really, if people still don't understand I suspect for some reason they're trying not to.
It is really just two perspectives on the same thing. Film hobbyist and hard film business. I myself can understand and appreciate both perspectives. I just find it important to realize that there ARE both - especially for people who actually want to survive in the film business. I too, am trying to offer good advice for people aiming for a career in independent filmmaking. The hobbyist can budget however he likes and is able to afford really.
Posted: Wed, 9th Jan 2008, 11:40pm

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PMiddy

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Hi guys,
This seems to be turning into a real debate! Lets forget the equipment for now. In a perfect world, all this equipment should be able to work on the next production. So its for peanuts. This production would not have been possible at all without stating to the cast that it was going to be a zero budget film. It would not have been possible without them.
Everything I know about film-making is self taught and I have a full time job during the day (nothing to do with film unfortunately). What could have been a quick project dragged on for another 2 years in post - some guy pulled out all the props that he had supplied and it all had to be re-filmed. (Always get your cast and crew to sign for everything!) A little delicate when they've already said they'll do it for nothing but things happen!
In answer to Sollthar's statement, after all this work - I couldn't possibly put a cheap price on it - your absolutely right. Editing took a long time - I also did the effects, (sun glints, infamous rundown sequence included on trailer, everything thats visual really!) - the 100 pound budget is basically what I personally spent. Its how you get the rest for nothing and your personal man hours working through the night that counts! (Risking your proper job because your waking up 3 hours late for work on a morning, etc!)
Cheers for your interest and please keep it going (free advertising for me!)
Filmmaker to Filmmaker, thanks very much for your support.
I only made this for a little promotion.
Pete
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 12:16am

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petet2

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I've just viewed the trailer and the bus clip - looks very good!

How are you releasing the movie - what certificate did the BBFC give it? As an alternative to dvd (or as well as) have you thought about submitting the movie to the Horror Channel in the UK?
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 12:36am

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Bryan M Block

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Look- the whole reason I got into this discussion was because somebody way up the thread claimed that saying the film had a 200.00 budget was somehow false or misleading. I still claim that it is not. To Sollthar's original point (I think) I agree- "just because you have 200.00 don't expect to be able to make a feature without alot of "free" resources at your disposal." To pdrg's point- everything has an arbitrary value- there is no way to determine the actual cost and or value of something like a film- to my points above, how shall I budget for myself then? What rate shall I bill myself for myself for so I can "owe" myself an appropriate amount of $ and then, shall I invoice myself and send myself a check in the mail? And if I don't pay myself I can start adding on penalties, like 15% for late payment? If I continue NOT to pay myself, I can take myself to court and sue myself for breach of contract! Then I'll vow never to work with myself again, until I get desperate, then I will try to hire myself only to find that my rates have gone up and I can't afford myself any more! But at least the book keeping will be in order. wink

Cheers mates-
B
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 2:25am

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petet2

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Bryan M Block wrote:

Look- the whole reason I got into this discussion was because somebody way up the thread claimed that saying the film had a 200.00 budget was somehow false or misleading. I still claim that it is not. To Sollthar's original point (I think) I agree- "just because you have 200.00 don't expect to be able to make a feature without alot of "free" resources at your disposal." To pdrg's point- everything has an arbitrary value- there is no way to determine the actual cost and or value of something like a film- to my points above, how shall I budget for myself then? What rate shall I bill myself for myself for so I can "owe" myself an appropriate amount of $ and then, shall I invoice myself and send myself a check in the mail? And if I don't pay myself I can start adding on penalties, like 15% for late payment? If I continue NOT to pay myself, I can take myself to court and sue myself for breach of contract! Then I'll vow never to work with myself again, until I get desperate, then I will try to hire myself only to find that my rates have gone up and I can't afford myself any more! But at least the book keeping will be in order. wink

Cheers mates-
B
How do you budget for yourself is the point that I (and I think Sollthar - apologies if not!) have been trying to get across.

You seem to be starting from a position of "I have a pre-existing source of income and I want to spend some of the spare bit on making a movie - how much do I need to spend?" and that is your definiton of budget. Which is how I and all the other amateur film makers on here define our budget.

If your only source of income is the film you are working on then yes the budget needs to include your salary. If you don't pay yourself a wage what do you buy food with while you make the movie?

You say above that you have been in business 16 years and work for national clients - are you seriously telling me that when you draw up the budget for those projects you don't include a salary for yourself? Dude after 16 years you must be starving... wink
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 6:02am

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Bryan M Block

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petet2 wrote:

Bryan M Block wrote:

Look- the whole reason I got into this discussion was because somebody way up the thread claimed that saying the film had a 200.00 budget was somehow false or misleading. I still claim that it is not. To Sollthar's original point (I think) I agree- "just because you have 200.00 don't expect to be able to make a feature without alot of "free" resources at your disposal." To pdrg's point- everything has an arbitrary value- there is no way to determine the actual cost and or value of something like a film- to my points above, how shall I budget for myself then? What rate shall I bill myself for myself for so I can "owe" myself an appropriate amount of $ and then, shall I invoice myself and send myself a check in the mail? And if I don't pay myself I can start adding on penalties, like 15% for late payment? If I continue NOT to pay myself, I can take myself to court and sue myself for breach of contract! Then I'll vow never to work with myself again, until I get desperate, then I will try to hire myself only to find that my rates have gone up and I can't afford myself any more! But at least the book keeping will be in order. wink

Cheers mates-
B
How do you budget for yourself is the point that I (and I think Sollthar - apologies if not!) have been trying to get across.

You seem to be starting from a position of "I have a pre-existing source of income and I want to spend some of the spare bit on making a movie - how much do I need to spend?" and that is your definiton of budget. Which is how I and all the other amateur film makers on here define our budget.

If your only source of income is the film you are working on then yes the budget needs to include your salary. If you don't pay yourself a wage what do you buy food with while you make the movie?

You say above that you have been in business 16 years and work for national clients - are you seriously telling me that when you draw up the budget for those projects you don't include a salary for yourself? Dude after 16 years you must be starving... wink
And I keep telling you all Apples and Oranges.
1. The company I work for has been in business for 16 years- I have only been in the business for 10 years.
2. My current project (at work, not my personal project!!) has a budget of 50K, the last project I did for work had a budget of close to 80K- I'm WELL aware of what goes into a "professional" budget as I am usually the one being yelled at when things don't add up...(Directors perogative wink )
3. A line item that costs 0$, costs 0$. We do this all the time, it is not an "amateur" tactic. If, for example we need a location and we budget $500 as a location fee, but the client has a relationship with someone (like a hospital for example since that is most relevant to what I've been doing lately) and the hospital charges us 0$. I can reduce the budget by $500 (or re-direct that $500 to something else like post). Another example, we found that a client actually had a small lighting kit that they owned (it was 15 years old...)and had stored in a basement. Not having to rent lights shaved a couple grand off of the budget for that project. (Had to fly out to washington state to interview a subject matter expert etc...) That's all I'm saying- an existing resource that costs $0 out a project budget reduces the project budget by that much. Get enough existing resources at 0$...well, you get the point. Did the company buy the lights at some point? Sure, 15 years ago, and that expenditure had no bearing on the project budget for this project in 2007.
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 10:00am

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pdrg

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Just a thought, but if the client has a location or lamps, of course you won't charge the client for that location or lamps - but if I'm charging a client for *my* location or lamps, they'll pay a fee (contribution for bulbs losses and repairs, or power and carpet cleaning for my location). I would maybe (to win business or for goodwill) list the items at say $500 then discount the line item to $0, so everyone knows something has a nominal value but I'm prepared to waive it this time.

What arbitrary value do things have? What does your production owe you? Clearly not $75 an hour unless you want an equally distorted budget! But it's fair to have a notional production fee, maybe 5-10% of your overall budget. Is that a fair figure? No, but what is? How do you decide the worth of anything? It's the price both parties will agree on for a transaction, so if as your own client (your own film) you agree a value of $0 for your work, that's cool. If I was working on your film, we may agree $0 with a x% stake - no hard fast rules.

You could invoice yourself although it's a shortcut to paying extra taxes. I invoice my limited company, but that's because it owns the film, not me, as you previously noted!
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 2:54pm

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petet2

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You say apples and oranges (a reference I'm not sure I understand). The point I'm trying to get across is this...

You leave film school and get a £10,000 grant to make a movie. It takes six months to make. You spend £4,000 on "making the film" as you define it (tape, transport, food, props, etc, etc) and the remaining £6,000 covers your cost of living of £1,000 per month. You then set out to seek funding to make another (similar) movie - how much funding do you need to make your second movie: (a) £4,000 or (b) £10,000?

I think it is important that the young aspirational film makers on this website have a clear understanding of the finance side of things.

[The answer is of course (c) £2.5 million smile ]
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 3:31pm

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Sollthar

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And I keep telling you all Apples and Oranges.
Yeah, it just appears you're the only one talking about apples, while everyone else is talking about oranges. smile

Let's take John as an example. John has monthly living costs of about 3'000 $, includes rent, food, cloth, household, a bit of luxury and so on and so forth. So in the way this world works so far, he needs to make 3'000 $ a month to live.
Now he decides to make a movie. Fortunately, he has a camera because he bought himself one a while ago, he got a computer for christmas and he is a nice guy and has loads of friends who serve as actors. His film asks for guns, which he doesn't have, so he buys them for 100 $ and some tape for 50 $, goes and shoots his film. Then it takes him 6 months to finish the film and after six months, voila, he has his movie done.

NOW come the two perspectives. If that filmmaking is a hobby of John, he'll think like a hobbyist and say his film cost 150 $ and he made it in his SPARE time on his free will - but that also means John has to do another job, because he still needs those 3'000 $ a month. We're all good. John has the first step in his dream to potentially maybe become a professional, or keep it as a hobby. If his film makes 200 $, John will can be very happy because he actually made 50 $ with his hobby.

If John is a professional filmmaker though, meaning he does filmmaking as his profession, he spent those 150 $ alright, but also 6 months worth 3'000 $ each - 18'000 $ worth of his time. That was what it took John to make his product. It was the films budget, even though he has never laid hands on 18'000 $. That doesn't mean that this money doesn't exist. On paper - he actually DID pay himself! And his film will need to make 18'000 $ or John has the quite serious problem of not being able to buy food for much longer.

So the budget needed for Johns film wasn't 150 $, it was 18'000 $ (actually, more, because there's much more to take into consideration than Johns own time).

Obviously, everyone is free to go and say "Nah, I'll work for free" and we both know that no one will say "no" to that offer. But if you do work for free, you're basically only cheating yourself - from a business point of view, I'm currently ignoring the whole "but I like it and I like doing what I like" thing. And that's everyone's own choice, naturally.


So even though Bryan fights really hard against how every business in the world handles their productions for a reason I honestly don't quite grasp, it is important that aspiring filmmakers who want to make a profession out of their filmmaking know how to properly do a budget.
The money you directly spend on stuff you buy for your film is PART of the budget, but it ISN'T the COMPLETE budget.

I think the problem here is simply the reality that very few people on fxhome do filmmaking as their sole profession. Most of us are hobbyists with aspirations and we deal with the reality that we have to pay ourselves for a long time. We think like hobbyists that way, even IF our profession might actually have something to do with film.

I just want to make the two perspectives clear. I'm not saying Bryan M Blocks perspective is wrong, I'm merely defending myself because what pete2, pdrg and myself are saying simply isn't wrong either. smile
Posted: Thu, 10th Jan 2008, 8:47pm

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Bryan M Block

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Sollthar wrote:

And I keep telling you all Apples and Oranges.
Yeah, it just appears you're the only one talking about apples, while everyone else is talking about oranges. smile

Let's take John as an example. John has monthly living costs of about 3'000 $, includes rent, food, cloth, household, a bit of luxury and so on and so forth. So in the way this world works so far, he needs to make 3'000 $ a month to live.
Now he decides to make a movie. Fortunately, he has a camera because he bought himself one a while ago, he got a computer for christmas and he is a nice guy and has loads of friends who serve as actors. His film asks for guns, which he doesn't have, so he buys them for 100 $ and some tape for 50 $, goes and shoots his film. Then it takes him 6 months to finish the film and after six months, voila, he has his movie done.

NOW come the two perspectives. If that filmmaking is a hobby of John, he'll think like a hobbyist and say his film cost 150 $ and he made it in his SPARE time on his free will - but that also means John has to do another job, because he still needs those 3'000 $ a month. We're all good. John has the first step in his dream to potentially maybe become a professional, or keep it as a hobby. If his film makes 200 $, John will can be very happy because he actually made 50 $ with his hobby.

If John is a professional filmmaker though, meaning he does filmmaking as his profession, he spent those 150 $ alright, but also 6 months worth 3'000 $ each - 18'000 $ worth of his time. That was what it took John to make his product. It was the films budget, even though he has never laid hands on 18'000 $. That doesn't mean that this money doesn't exist. On paper - he actually DID pay himself! And his film will need to make 18'000 $ or John has the quite serious problem of not being able to buy food for much longer.

So the budget needed for Johns film wasn't 150 $, it was 18'000 $ (actually, more, because there's much more to take into consideration than Johns own time).

Obviously, everyone is free to go and say "Nah, I'll work for free" and we both know that no one will say "no" to that offer. But if you do work for free, you're basically only cheating yourself - from a business point of view, I'm currently ignoring the whole "but I like it and I like doing what I like" thing. And that's everyone's own choice, naturally.


So even though Bryan fights really hard against how every business in the world handles their productions for a reason I honestly don't quite grasp, it is important that aspiring filmmakers who want to make a profession out of their filmmaking know how to properly do a budget.
The money you directly spend on stuff you buy for your film is PART of the budget, but it ISN'T the COMPLETE budget.

I think the problem here is simply the reality that very few people on fxhome do filmmaking as their sole profession. Most of us are hobbyists with aspirations and we deal with the reality that we have to pay ourselves for a long time. We think like hobbyists that way, even IF our profession might actually have something to do with film.

I just want to make the two perspectives clear. I'm not saying Bryan M Blocks perspective is wrong, I'm merely defending myself because what pete2, pdrg and myself are saying simply isn't wrong either. smile
I think you are completely missing my point, yet I compeltely understand yours. There are hard and soft costs associated with any production. I'm not "going against" the way anyone is doing business, dare I say that I may understand it better than most people on this board wink But again, a 0$ line item is a 0$ line item. If my client says "I only have 10K to do a shoot" then the project budget is 10K, regardless of whether they get 30K "worth" of shoot. No one would consider it a 30K project budget, they would consider it a 10K project budget! we would find a way to get it done for 10K or not at all- It's simple really. I'm not disagreeing with ANY of the accounting practices for paying yourself etc... but when you get down to ACTUALS, a 0$ line item is a 0$ line item, and when it's you working for you- you can make yourself a 0$ line item. Having played in bands for 12 years, and worked as an "artist" in other capacities in my life (actor, instructor, composer, etc...), I will tell you that if I worried about "cheating myself" from a business perspective, I would have NEVER had many of the best creative experiences of my life. You have to do it because you love it, because the business rewards may never come. I'm fortuante enough right now to working at a very small corporate communications/media production company where I am the SOLE on-staff writer/director/editor/producer. (www.pmgcommunications.com) My projects generally have budgets between 20-50K, with occassional small 2-5K projects (like the one I just did for Odd Lots stores). With that range of budgets, I'm well aware of both what bugets "should" look like and what you usually have to do to get the job done wink Often we need to get as many 0$ line items as we can to fit within the budget and meet expectations, and in the "real" or "professional" world, that IS the rule, not the exception- how do you make it happen for X$

That said, I think this was a healthy discussion.

B
Posted: Fri, 11th Jan 2008, 1:32am

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petet2

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Yes it was, thanks m8 good luck in all you do.
Posted: Fri, 11th Jan 2008, 4:48am

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Randito3

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I would love to see the full film. It looks very promising.
Posted: Sat, 12th Jan 2008, 1:17am

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PMiddy

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Thanks to you all for discussing this topic and for all the kind words throughout,
Randito3 - The DVD is now complete and I'm currently at the stage of posting it to various film festivals. So the film is made but I guess it has the chance of a general release, the same amount as me winning the national lottery this Saturday. To be picked up by a distribution company is all a matter of who you know, how much you have or just plain luck! - You never know, you may be seeing it shortly.
Thanks again!
Pete - Director
Posted: Sat, 12th Jan 2008, 11:37am

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pdrg

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Good luck Pete - try withoutabox.com to simplify festival submissions, and you could try sales agents like the Film Artists Network who will take it to markets if they think it'll sell - I met them out in Cannes, nice guys smile
Posted: Sun, 13th Jan 2008, 9:32pm

Post 53 of 55

PMiddy

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pdrg, I will look into the film artists network. Thanks again
Posted: Sun, 13th Jan 2008, 9:49pm

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pdrg

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PMiddy wrote:

pdrg, I will look into the film artists network. Thanks again
No worries, hope they help!
Posted: Sun, 13th Jan 2008, 11:42pm

Post 55 of 55

PMiddy

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Amateur filmmakers like myself may be interested about a couple of my most recent uploads to youtube.com - entitled "Roadkill"
Both are identical clips but one features the DVD commentary track which may raise a laugh. Personally, I would watch it with the commentary track turned off first.

http://uk.youtube.com/PMiddy001

Cheers to you all!