Not to state the obvious here, but there are a lot of elements that go into a production. From sound design, to props, to costumes and more, each part adds up. Especially in terms of costs.
That’s where budgeting comes in. As much as we’d like to go into a project thinking solely about the artistic vision we labored for months or even years developing, money is an important factor. It does, after all, make the world go round!
Going into a project with a realistic understanding of your budget is the first step in creating the production you’ve always dreamt of.
In movie production, a line producer will break the script down scene by scene to identify each element that needs to be included in the budget. Each scene typically consists of 7 main elements: location/set, actors/actresses, costume, vehicles, props, set dressing, and equipment/crew.
After the breakdown, we create a production schedule. The schedule comprehensively lists what will be shot and when and cast and crew needed for those days. The schedule informs the process of itemizing everything involved. Knowing exactly what is needed from the start helps the production company and the client prepare for costs way in advance and stick to a deadline.
Making a Budget
At ECG, we’re here to help you with all the ins and outs of budgeting. We know that your time and money are vitally important. That’s why we work with you to come up with the perfect plan.
First, it’s important to determine your priorities. What level of quality do you need for your project? (Hint: if the answer is “high quality,” we’d recommend our services!) Where can you cut something to make room for something you think is more important?
Think about deadlines. How quickly does this project need to be produced? How much money can you reasonably allot to expedite any given aspect of the video? Like we’ve all heard before, time is money. That is especially true on film sets. Every minute of any production adds up in labor, location and crafty costs, on top of a lot of other things.
When piecing together your project, consider the 3 main elements of video development costs. These are time, talent, and tools. The more time, talent, and tools you need, the higher the cost.
Budget, just like any other aspect of video production, breaks down into Pre-Production, Production and Post Production.
Pre-Production is the preparation that happens before shoot day. This includes writing, producer planning and prep, and director prep. Each process is allotted a certain number of hours based on clients’ needs, which we always keep in mind when we make a budget.
So the prep is all done when shoot day rolls around, awesome! But shoots have their own costs associated with them that we have to take into account. Everybody on set is being paid for their time, of course, and they all have to be fed on what can end up being 10+ hour days. Even the location, the very ground the cast and crew stand upon, has fees associated with it.
Post-Production is, you guessed it, everything that happens after the video is shot. This includes editing, animation and graphics, sound mixing, color grade and more. Again, each element of post-production is allotted hours in the budget.
So, to summarize (hopefully to no one’s surprise), it takes a budget to create a solid product. ECG partner Jay breaks it down best in his blog post about budgeting for music videos. Of course, that’s not to say that your budget has to be huge! Nearly all of us here at ECG have been in the spot, whether as student filmmakers or as a weekend short film creators, where we had little or no money to make a production happen. That experience lends itself to us everyday in the creation and assessment of our project budgets.
At ECG we’re here to guide you every step of the way, including helping you make smart decisions with whatever amount of funds you or your company have. Regardless of the project and budget you have in mind, the important thing is that you’re in good hands. We want to see your vision come to life the way you imagined.
But hey, we’re always open to those multi-million dollar productions any of you might want to produce! (If that’s the case, call us absolutely this moment. Pretty please!)
At the end of the day, we’re all about creating content that everyone is proud to have been a part of. Check out our portfolio to see what we’ve been up to and don’t hesitate to reach out about an idea you’d love to see come to life!