So no matter how hard we try there is no way around having to spend some money on a film. It’s an unfortunate fact, but what we can control is how much money you will spend on a film. The less you spend the more everyone makes. So, here’s what I propose. I believe that done properly, you can pull off this feet for around $5000-$10,000. I am going to break it down for you with the aim of $5,000!
You can use excel if you want, here’s a downloadable template: howtofilmschool.com/sample-budget-free-film-documents/ or I recommend one of the budgeting programs affiliated with your screenwriting software.
- Food – $1000
Independent Lasagna is so named because this is essentially the on-set pay everyone will receive during production. This can be quite simple if you can get someone who is willing to cook at their house and bring the meals to set.
Unless you can get donations lets just forget about pizza all together shall we. Don’t get me wrong we all love pizza, but it can get old after a while and it’s actually costly. Sam’s club is your friend, get a Sam’s club card, you can get a business account if you simply have a business card with your name on it!
Keep craft services to the essentials. Coffee and Water! Peanuts and granola bars for protein; fruit and bagels for breakfast, again “keep it simple stupid!”
As far as meals are concerned I recommend huge buffet styles dishes that are filling and can accommodate almost everyone. Baked ziti’s, Stir Fry’s, Chicken and Potato’s, Chili, Rice and Beans, and of course Lasagna! You’re going to have some issues when it comes to allergy’s, and vegans, so do with that what you will… but try to be as accommodating as possible.
- Necessary Equipment – $1000
You may or may not need to spend this much on equipment depending on how well you have done in your crewing, but there is definitely going to be some necessary items you will have to purchase, such as Hard Drives, Memory Cards, Printing Costs, Lenses, Special Equipment.
- Props/Makeup/Wardrobe – $500
Hopefully you haven’t decided to make a zombie film because that would be expensive in this department, otherwise have your Art Director search for necessary items that may be borrowed before you spend a dime, including going through the actors wardrobes for appropriate attire, and asking the actresses to bring their own makeup ☺ and raiding auctions and garage sales for props.
- Permits – $300
Do your best to make this a non-expense! Shoot at your friend’s house, outdoor with minimal crews, or go strait gorilla with go-pros and a zoom recorder! It really depends on the simplicity of your needs.
- Film Festival Submissions – $500
A major part of your distribution plan relies on film festivals, so spend this wisely by choosing the best suited festivals for your film, not just Canne’s and Sundance but festivals best suited to your project and genre.
- Website – $200
Yes, you will have to build a website! This is for your domain name and hosting, this should buy you about three years. Watch uTube videos on word press; it’s really not that hard. More on this later…
- LLC Formation – $500
As I said before, it is advised to eventually form an LLC at some point, so budget for it.
- Contingency Budget – $1000
No matter how hard we try to come in under budget, it is always good to have safety net, a buffer if you will just in case.
Make sure you check your prices on everything and budget accordingly down to the penny. Every item you plan to purchase needs to be accounted for. This is a job for your Line Producer. When your working with this small a budget every penny counts!
Check out thefrugalfilmmaker for more great tips on how to make a film on the cheap.