Frequently-Asked Questions

You sure can. We offer two routes: Budgeting for a single episode (such as a pilot), or budgeting your entire series as one big budget.

No budget can be 100% accurate, not even a budget created by a paid line producer. What we provide is a budget that’s as close as possible to the real-world costs of making your film, based on the information we ask you to provide.

Labor rates, fuel costs, rentals – you name it, and its price will change over time. Not to mention, talent and crew of all stripes can come and go during the often long-haul of putting a film together. But rest assured.  The budget we provide you will be more than enough to get you and your film dialed in. And if you order the Excel version, you can tweak it until your heart’s content.

Ah, but you won’t know how much you need to fundraise until you put together a budget. Our advice is: before any fundraising or pitching or talking to investors begins, you and your team should have an accurate, line-by-line estimate of how much your film will cost to produce. Whether you budget your film yourself, hire a paid line producer to do it, or use Film Budgeteers, having a budget before you start raising funds is essential.

Yes. If you order a budget that includes the Excel version, and not just the PDF, you can edit the downloaded Excel version of your budget using any recent-ish version of Microsoft Excel. (That is, one that opens XLSX files, or any version of Excel after 2007.)

Yes. The editable Excel file will open in Open Office 4.1.1 or newer. Make sure you don’t add an filename extension or change the “.xlsx” extension.

Yes, but be careful.  It’s a bit complicated getting anything from Excel to import correctly (and handsomely) into EP / Movie Magic Budgeting.

Our editable Excel film budget is hand-designed by real producers and filmmakers.  As a result, it’s capable of making several smart assumptions.

One example of that is that it assumes that when you enter a budget amount of $200,000.00, you’ll likely be using SAG for your actors, but you’re probably not going to be hiring IATSE, DGA, Teamsters, or WGA labor.  Or if you do, you’ll be hiring out at negotiated rates.

Other assumptions we make are similar.  If you’re making a $7,000,000 film, you can afford more for your camera package than you could if you were making a $700,000 film. That being said, you can only spend so much on a camera package, so we try to build in common-sense caps as well.

What’s important to remember is that what we’re providing can never be as finely-detailed as what a human line producer can do, so we do have to make a lot of common-sense assumptions, but do keep in mind, those assumptions have been baked into our formulas by experienced line producers and filmmakers, so they’ll be pretty accurate for all intents and purposes. And if you have the Excel version, you can tweak any line items you like.

If you’re shooting a $1 million-dollar film, you probably can’t afford Teamsters, so we zero them out, as well as other crew and line items that we assume you won’t be able to afford.  The higher budget amount you enter, the more line items and crew start to show up in your budget.  Remember, you can always manually add or delete crew and line items after you download your budget.

If you’re shooting a smaller film,
we include certain essential crew members on your budget, but don’t list a rate for them. This isn’t an accident. It comes from over 30 years experience working on small films: if your budget is too low, you simply can’t afford to pay most, if not all, of your crew.

Yep.  Your downloaded Excel file will behave just like a regular spreadsheet. You change a number in column X, column Y will change it’s total, etc.  Keep in mind, if you’re tweaking your film in a major way (for example, going from a $20,000 budget to a $10M budget), you could lose a lot of the smart calculations and assumptions we included in your original downloaded budget, so make sure you make a copy before you start editing anything.

You bet.  We only use the most up-to-date labor rates, based on all the current union contracts.  SAG, DGA, WGA, Teamsters, and IATSE.

Fringes are FICA, Federal Unemployment Insurance, State Unemployment Insurance, union percentages such as DGA, WGA, Teamsters, SAG, and IATSE, and other “fringe” costs that go into the paychecks of every paid member on your crew.  And they can add up.

If you’ve entered a small budget amount, your budget might just show a few hundred or thousand dollars for SAG.  But if you’re budgeting for a large, multi-million-dollar picture, you can bet your budget will include full union fringes.

But don’t worry – our budget also makes room for us filmmakers producing films in between as well.  For example, our calculations assume that if you’re shooting a $4 million movie, you might not be using Teamsters to run your transportation department.  But if you’re making a $7 million movie, you probably need to be.

But remember – everything on your editable Excel budget is completely tweakable.  For example, you can zero out the IATSE fringes if your film isn’t big enough to hire IATSE or IATSE-negotiated crew, and so on.

If you like, but we don’t recommend paying us for that. ;0