Now that you have your short film script polished and you feel comfortable taking the next step, you need to think about how much everything is going to cost.
If you have no experience in budgeting and don t have a producer, don t fret, there are ways around this that are simple and help you to make your movie without fear . The cost of your film will depend on the script you have in hand and how complicated it is. Below is a checklist to think about.
What camera package should I get? DV, HD, 16mm, 35mm?
DV is now old school but if its your first time out, then these cameras are fairly cheap to rent, tapes can carry 60 -90 minutes each, and cost is minimal. Your resolution will be lower than that of a TV but you can maintain a professional look with good lighting and a tripod.
HD is a different story. Lower end HD cameras tend to have a digital feel despite being branded as HD. Rental costs rise sharply as camera packages come with lenses, batteries, memory cards, external monitors and so on. Higher end HD cameras are very expensive and are fairly bulky despite technology advances.
16mm and 35mm are top of the range, but have the highest running and development costs by far. The gap between HD and film is growing, as less indie productions are now using film, which is pushing up the cost of rentals and film development. Also, with film equipment you tend to need more crew to manage the camera department as its heavy, bulky, and needs to be maintained.
(If you want more information regarding specific cameras in these areas, there will be other guides available on Film Industry Network that cover this)
Lighting : Am I renting 2ks, 10ks or should I use my own tungsten light bulbs for the Christmas decoration? Is this film noir or am I shooting outside with no lights? Will I want this to be Tim Burton colourful?
Catering : How many crew members will I need to feed? Should I give them sandwiches or a 5 course meal every day of the shoot?
Locations : Will I be shooting in my friends apartment or in the street? Do I need a church or an airport? How much will it cost to rent these locations, or can I get them for free?
Personnel : Should I pay my crew members and actors, or do they pay their own way to my set? Am I covering their expenses?
Post-production : Do I need special effects or should I stick to tomato juice? How much will it cost to hire an editor, or should I borrow some editing software? Can I do this on my computer, or do I need someone who knows how to capture my footage?
Sound : Should I get professional shotgun mics, wireless mics or just use the camera s inbuilt sound? (not recommended for festivals) Do I need a guy to hold a boom and a mic, as I have a lot of dialogue? Oh wait..my film is a silent movie. Phew
Sets : Can I get a production designer to make things look great? Does he/she need to buy some props? I might need a studio? Can I paint the walls or maybe I can hang pictures?
Costumes : Do my actors bring their own clothes? Should I buy them a tux?
Vehicles and additional costs : Where can I rent a cheap police helicopter? I want to get that tank, or perhaps I can buy a miniature version and make it look like 100 million dollars? Do my actors need to be chauffer driven and should I have a van to put all the equipment in?
P and A (prints and advertising) How am I going to market my movie? I might need to make some posters, DVDs, send it to festivals (and all that jazz) .
Contingency : 10% of your budget should be allocated to potential costs, and things you don t foresee. You never know!