Movie Budgeting is an often misunderstood world of fringe items and scale wages and all kinds of things that seem to be foreign to most people. Just trying to calculate the overtime, double time, bumps for stunts and all of these things is enough to drive a person over the edge. That is why it is best to leave movie budgeting to an expert.
Ok so here’s the deal. If you are doing a rather large size film and have to worry about the fringes, bumps and taxes then you are probably better off using a program like EP’s Movie Magic. This program will let you add in all these calculations and help you to better prepare for your shoot with a detailed budget.
But… Movie Magic is like a skill set in itself and is not as easy as just opening and typing in numbers. You literally need a book or a class to be trained to use it.
Excel or another spreadsheet application
Your next option is Excel or another type spreadsheet application. Outside of scribbling some numbers down on a paper towel, this is probably the route you will go on your first film. For most applications and for movies under $250,000, Excel will work fine. Most of us all know how to use it and can learn pretty quickly. I have used both Excel and EP’s Movie Magic both successfully on different films and have survived so it can be done.
How much should I budget?
This is the typical chicken and the egg type question as everyone wants to know how much their film is going to cost. I’ll let you in on a secret; it costs whatever you want it to cost. Movies can be made from anywhere from $50 up to and over $250 million. The thing you have to ask yourself is how much am I willing to put in myself and how much can I raise. Somewhere in the middle is your answer on the budget number.
Is there a standard budget amount that guarantees a good film and a possible sale?
No there is not. As long as the story line is there and the quality is good, the price you spent to make your movie does not apply.