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View Full Version : How much do low budget first time directors get paid?



TajJackson
02-12-2006, 11:44 PM
Hey guys and gals. I am still pretty new to this board, so sorry for the low post count. Anyways.....I always wondered how much a first time director gets paid for a low budget movie. I might be shooting a horror movie this summer and need some ballpark figures.

Here are a few budget scenarios I might be working with.

A 500,000 dollar movie
A Million dollar movie or just under that.
A 3 to 5 million dollar movie
A 10 million dollar movie

Thanks in advance.
Taj

skinnyboy
02-13-2006, 01:32 PM
Doesn't seem very low-budget to me...
I would image it depends on the size of the cast and crew - the more people have to get paid, the less any one person can get paid. Also, if it's a union shoot that'll change things.
I haven't got an answer, I'm curious myself. I'd do it for 2-5 percent of the budget, though.

wabbit
02-13-2006, 02:13 PM
It really depends on the producers and the director. From what I have seen in the ~$1,000,000 range they are earning anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000. When you are talking budgets you need to know if the budget is total or just below the line costs. Name directors, like name actors can negotiate for obscenely large salaries.

It really adds up to a person's negotiating position.

Cheers

TajJackson
02-13-2006, 02:30 PM
Thanks for the responses. I too had no idea what to expect in the salary department. Because I am a first time director, I didn't want to be or appear too greedy when negotiating and blow my chances. But at the same time, If everyone else is getting paid, well...

Gopher_Greene
02-13-2006, 04:24 PM
500,000 and below budgets directors normally get 20,000 but everything is negotiable, look for some of the back end as well.

Lawsuit_Boy
02-13-2006, 05:50 PM
haha, I wouldn't mind pulling in 20,000 for myself. I literally "pinch pennies" when I make a film. I will collect every single coin that I find and put it to use.

Naanan
02-24-2006, 11:29 AM
Man if you can find someone to hire you, having never directed, to direct a film with more than $5,000 in budget, I would take what ever they offer. Hell, I'd probably do it for free if asked just to get the experience. When money is on the line, real money, a producer is going to want some assurance that you can make that budget work. My experience as a DP and Producer is that most directors that haven't directed before have numerous problems that cost money, such as....
1. They have no idea how to make their day. They all seem to think that they are Kubrick and can spend 3 hours on a cutaway cat in the window seat shot.
2. They are way more concerned with the technology on the set than they are with the DIRECTION that the picture is going.
3. They have no idea how to talk actors into giving the performances that the DIRECTION of the film needs.

If you know how to do all these things well and you have a REEL to prove it than you can probably demand a little more cash. Directors are kind of like Fire Fighters, you don't have to pay them much, and in most cases you can find volunteers, because there are way more people who want the job than there are jobs to want.

Get all you can if you can, but hell man it's kind of like getting paid to waterski or go on vacation isn't it. The love of the craft is worth way more than the money involved, but then what do I know, I'm just management.

Good luck to you, hope you do well. Negotiate negotiate negotiate and remember a good compromise is when neither party is happy.

wabbit
02-24-2006, 11:49 AM
If you know how to do all these things well and you have a REEL to prove it than you can probably demand a little more cash.

This reminds me of the last season of Project: Greenlight. That guy had an amazing reel but couldn't direct REAL actors or manage a crew to save his life.

Sorry to go OT, but if you are a first time director, watching the 3rd season of Project: Greenlight is a great leason in what NOT to do. And, yes, I know much of what is shown on the show is a result of creative editing but to anyone who has worked with a virgin director it is chalked full of memories.

Cheers

david_kuznicki
02-24-2006, 12:29 PM
This reminds me of the last season of Project: Greenlight. That guy had an amazing reel but couldn't direct REAL actors or manage a crew to save his life.

Sorry to go OT, but if you are a first time director, watching the 3rd season of Project: Greenlight is a great leason in what NOT to do. And, yes, I know much of what is shown on the show is a result of creative editing but to anyone who has worked with a virgin director it is chalked full of memories.

Cheers

Experience is the only teacher; people seem to forget that. There are some things that can be learned from books, videos or whatever... and then there's directing.

I tell everyone the same thing-- skip film school, buy a camera, some lights & a good mic and LEARN something. Or find someone making a low budget film & intern. Just get in there and get your feet wet.

I've been doing this for 10 years, and I still learn something new each time I step onto a set.

David Kuznicki
Production Manager, WGTE-TV30

escozooz
03-06-2006, 12:22 AM
"From Reel to Deal" by Dov S-S Simens. Read it. :kali: :dankk2:

Brandon Rice
03-06-2006, 12:41 AM
wow, that ain't low budget. That's pretty high.

natdizzle
03-06-2006, 07:30 PM
Hey guys and gals. I am still pretty new to this board, so sorry for the low post count. Anyways.....I always wondered how much a first time director gets paid for a low budget movie. I might be shooting a horror movie this summer and need some ballpark figures.

Here are a few budget scenarios I might be working with.

A 500,000 dollar movie
A Million dollar movie or just under that.
A 3 to 5 million dollar movie
A 10 million dollar movie

Thanks in advance.
Taj

ya not low budget....

TajJackson
03-07-2006, 05:47 AM
While I agree with you guys that those budgets are alot of dinero. I personally dont think it is low budget either. Im sure some of you could direct your masterpiece with that kind of cash. Unfortunately, I think most of Hollyweird still considers that low budget. Am I right?

Waheed AlQawasmi
03-07-2006, 07:06 AM
Now I might be wrong, I have not checked the stats latley but I think that Hollyweird conciders anything 9million and under to be low budget.

jpbankesmercer
03-09-2006, 04:25 AM
Low budget to me always equates to free!
J.P.