Filming on a Tiny Budget, Part 3: Scheduling and Budgeting

Scheduling and budgeting are not sexy. But they are an essential aspect of keeping your cast, crew and investors/wallet happy. Whether shooting a video for a contest or shooting a feature film for festival play, you’ll be working with people, and you’ll always be working against the clock.

Scout Locations

Though it may be exciting, you don’t want to go totally guerrilla filmmaker the day of the shoot. It’s a huge time saver if you have all of the location details in place before you start shooting.

Find out what locations will cost per hour/day to shoot at. These costs may include insurance, paying security, gas reimbursement for runners, food, etc.

Make sure to call/visit/each location you hope to be shooting at. If it’s a public space, call ahead to your city’s permit office. For shooting at a business, try to line up a flat rental rate, so if you go over time (which you WILL), you won’t be paying any extra. These precautionary steps will weed out impossibilities and may save you a lot of time and money.

Camera is Not Everything

Don’t go for the most expensive camera if another cheaper option does the same thing. For those of you who like shooting with heavier artillery (the RED camera for instance), make sure you think about other expensive aspects of your production, such as paying your cast/crew, buying props, costumes, hair and make-up and food.

Break it Down

It’s a very, very good idea to create a breakdown. An expenses breakdown is not only one of the key things you will need to keep track of everything your purchasing, but it is a great way to list and your films production needs. It’s a lot of work, yes, but it will help to make sure you stay (relatively) sane.

They look something like this:

Get a Great Assistant Director

I highly recommend designating someone for on-set  organization and pre-production scheduling and budgeting. Make sure this is a very effective communicator who is not afraid to speak up when things are running behind. An Assistant Director can also be a big help if you happen to be acting in your own project as someone who can make sure all of the behind the scenes elements are in place, so you can focus on your character’s problems.

Don’t Forget Your Paperwork! 

DocStoc.com has some great paperwork resources for filmmakers.

Dependent Films also has some excellent (and free!) budgeting forms that you can download!


::::::::: Ready?! Set?! Shoot!!

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