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.)
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 maximums as well.
Because the amount you asked to create a budget for is too low to afford certain line items and crew. For example, if you’re shooting a $1 million-dollar film, you probably can’t afford Teamsters, so we zero them out, as well as other cast, crew and line items that you won’t be able to afford at the low budget amount you’re working with. The higher the budget amount you tell us you’re working with, 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’ve purchased the Excel version.)
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.
Fringes are costs you must include in your budget for every cast/crew member. For non-union cast/crew, you must pay FICA, Federal Unemployment Insurance (FUI), and State Unemployment Insurance (SUI). For cast/crew members who are a part of the DGA, WGA, Teamsters, SAG, or IATSE, you also pay unique guild fringes, such as Health & Welfare and Pension costs. And fringes can add up, so they have to be budgeted for correctly.
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.
v2.0 feature — adding TOPSHEET ONLY option in checkout tweak — non-union labor rate calculation refinement feature — multi-budget packages
v3.0 update — guild rates feature — adding series and episode budgeting functionality
v3.2 tweak — minor aesthetic changes fix — transpo crew not showing up for budgets of $5m
v4.0 update — latest rates for all guilds and guild fringes, ceilings, and hourlies feature — brand new non-union rate logic, including minimum wage for certain budget ranges feature — smarter guild selection logic feature — manual guild selection option, by guild feature — smarter time selection logic feature — added Travel/Lodging as a customizable category feature — added SAG Student Agreement and SAG Short Project Agreement as possible choices tweak — removed / pared down many line items that don't make sense on lower budgets tweak — eliminated forced rounding of user budget amount tweak — changed possible budget range of $10K - $300M to now $25,000 to $250M tweak — aesthetic changes to final budget document