When making a film budget how much money does your film really need? Is it more than you think or less? Where are you really spending your money and is it justified? Most filmmakers are not line producers or unit production managers (UPM). To cut cost on hiring an experienced line producer, most first time producers make their own film budget to save a few dollars on what would have otherwise be an intelligent investment. I totally get it! Every dollar counts! And at some point you just have to shot your film! But can you really afford not to hire a line producer?
Whether you are filming a $25,000.00 or $3,750,000.00 indie film, you are trying to “squeeze a dollar out of dime when you don’t have a cent.” The worst thing a film producer can do is fall short on the budget! The last thing you need is to have a film investor doubt your budget. If you go over budget, how many times do you think you can ask for additional funds before an film investor cuts their loses?
Take my pilot, What’s Your Sign, Girl?, for example. One of the major components of the series is going to be VFX, Wardrobe, and Production Design. That is where the majority of my budget is going to be spent. Being the line producer/upm, on various film budgets ranging from $150k to $2.5 million does come in handy. Even then I am always conscious of the budget and I have to remind myself that it has to be spent on the screen! The only thing the audience is going to notice is what is on the screen not what’s behind the scene. Part of being an indie filmmaker is toughing it out. Yes, I would love to have my personal trailer with WiFi and a personal assistant to drive me on set! Let the luxuries come later.
Focus on impressing your investor with all the elements you are adding on the screen. Always have your investors in mind and ask yourself what they would do in your situation when you are crunching numbers. If you need an experience line producer for an accurate budget and shooting schedule don’t hesitate to contact me!