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View Full Version : Production: What was your last short budget? + More



Kholi
03-08-2006, 05:33 PM
Hey guys,

for those of you who/m participated in other short film contests, what kind of budgets were you working with or, what did you end up spending in the end?

How much do you plan to shell out on this contest?

if that's too personal, sorry for asking. =P

This is my first time touching a camera, ever, and I'm just wondering what kind of budget everyone else works with if any.

Ben Sliker
03-08-2006, 08:34 PM
we are college students, so basically nothing, but we probably ending up spending 300 between 3 guys.

which included a small crane, costumes, blood stuff, tapes, some pvc pipe for dolly rails, other miscellaneous stuff.

John C Lyons
03-08-2006, 09:24 PM
about $100

Brandon Rice
03-09-2006, 12:07 AM
I've produced two shorts
"One Step Ahead" - $83
"A Price Too High" - $160

About double for the second one. I tried to get more props, and feed the cast/crew better than McDonalds.

profnoxin
03-09-2006, 02:26 AM
That ranges wildly depending on what kind of project I'm working on, and what the intention is for the end product.

For our last short on this site we tried to beg borrow and steal whatever we could to get it done. In the end, it probably cost a couple hundred bucks.

For something where the clients have intent to distribute (huh... that makes it sound like a crime...) the budgets range from like 1600 bucks to 40,000. Really depends.

I've personally never spent more than about $2000 - $4000 on a film I've done.

oneinfiniteloop
03-09-2006, 07:43 AM
Not a short, but on my last music video I spent around $500 on rentals, etc.

Kholi
03-09-2006, 10:37 AM
That ranges wildly depending on what kind of project I'm working on, and what the intention is for the end product.

For our last short on this site we tried to beg borrow and steal whatever we could to get it done. In the end, it probably cost a couple hundred bucks.

For something where the clients have intent to distribute (huh... that makes it sound like a crime...) the budgets range from like 1600 bucks to 40,000. Really depends.

I've personally never spent more than about $2000 - $4000 on a film I've done.

That's a good chunk of change, though. 2k... if that's the most you've spent on your OWN short (Not a clients).

Pretty cool to know that people are really shooting bare-bones.

Beat Takeshi
03-09-2006, 10:50 AM
Budgets?!?! BUDGETS?!?! We dont need no sticking budgets!!!

lucidz
03-09-2006, 11:40 AM
i dont have a budget persay. I use every short as an excuse to buy a new piece of equipment.

So actual production cost of last short? probably 100 dollars.
How much did I spend? probably 800 or so.

Kholi
03-09-2006, 12:26 PM
That's a pretty good theory, Lucidz. Experience + New production items to work with.

I'd think that if you wanted to get really good results from a short film, it's best to shell out a couple hundred... at least to feed everyone.

lucidz
03-09-2006, 01:48 PM
I think its a great theory. My fiance isn't so sold on the notion. :/

I only had i think 5 ppl involved with the last short, and we cooked them spaghetti :P

This next short looks to have 10-12 people involved, so big jump for me.

Getting a gitzo boom pole for this one.

Mike McNeese
03-09-2006, 02:47 PM
My first short cost me 2 large pizzas and a quart of fake blood.

Slimothy
03-09-2006, 03:31 PM
I spent about $300 on the Zombie film short. I adpted Lucidz theory. The money I spend on a short usually goes to new equipment that I will use later.

wcs
03-09-2006, 03:40 PM
Here are some links that might be of interest.

SciFest:
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=44268

Zombiefest:
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=32702

Kholi
03-09-2006, 03:49 PM
Looked like Zombie fest was a bit more involved than the recent Sci-Fest, maybe?

Dunno how much I plan to spend. I'm still on the fence for even competing.

wcs
03-09-2006, 05:12 PM
Zombiefest had more necessary practical effects. Scifest was more cg-oriented... and that can be a lot cheaper.

EditPhish
03-09-2006, 06:22 PM
Budgets?!?! BUDGETS?!?! We dont need no sticking budgets!!!

I hear that! :happy:

We spent a little money on sci-fest for props and such... built a dolly but I don't count that since it will get used for other stuff. This time around we're going to build a steadi-cam/stabalizer kind of thingy. We're also going to "upgrade" from FCE to FCP, but again, that's not really specific to this project.

spidey
03-09-2006, 07:24 PM
We spent 300 on CPU

Norm Sanders
03-10-2006, 01:24 PM
In a way, I spent at least a couple thousand on PANDORA, but it really doesn't count because it was new equipment (boom pole, mic, shock mount, etc.).

Total HARD costs for the short was less than $350, $250 of which was food to feed the people REALLY well for 3 days. My short before that, DEATH MARCH, ran me about $100 or less.

I expect this one to run me more, but no more than $1K, which allows for rentals of rain towers (if I can't get them for free), food for a larger cast/crew over two weekends, etc.

Kholi
03-10-2006, 01:59 PM
In a way, I spent at least a couple thousand on PANDORA, but it really doesn't count because it was new equipment (boom pole, mic, shock mount, etc.).

Total HARD costs for the short was less than $350, $250 of which was food to feed the people REALLY well for 3 days. My short before that, DEATH MARCH, ran me about $100 or less.

I expect this one to run me more, but no more than $1K, which allows for rentals of rain towers (if I can't get them for free), food for a larger cast/crew over two weekends, etc.

I was thinking around one-thousand or so for my own budget. Do you think that's too much for someone who's never touched a camear before?

:cheesy:

Norm Sanders
03-10-2006, 06:21 PM
If you're serious in your question, yes, it's too much. There's only so much money you can throw at something before it simply won't have an impact on production value & is just wasted.

The most important things are going to be story, camera angles, lighting, pacing, editing, etc. ... none of which have much if any impact on costs if you have those things at your disposal.

Your hard costs will be food, props you have to buy, possible deals you've got to cut with people to pay them SOME up front cash, etc.

But if the story's cool enough, most people will work for free, especially if they know you won't skimp on food. When the day's done, send people home with the left over food, and they'll love you for it.

Kholi
03-10-2006, 10:36 PM
If you're serious in your question, yes, it's too much. There's only so much money you can throw at something before it simply won't have an impact on production value & is just wasted.

The most important things are going to be story, camera angles, lighting, pacing, editing, etc. ... none of which have much if any impact on costs if you have those things at your disposal.

Your hard costs will be food, props you have to buy, possible deals you've got to cut with people to pay them SOME up front cash, etc.

But if the story's cool enough, most people will work for free, especially if they know you won't skimp on food. When the day's done, send people home with the left over food, and they'll love you for it.

I was very serious. I guess I'm just preparing to spend around that much. Not like it's a problem at all. One-thousand's pretty cheap, to me anyway.

I have most of that stuff at my disposal, but, I'd rather be prepared to spend that much than be surprised at doing so.

Norm Sanders
03-11-2006, 12:50 AM
Glad to hear $1K is cheap, and comes so easily to you apparently ... doesn't for most.

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-11-2006, 03:17 AM
$300 Shed
$500 Odd Squad, though we spent much more on things we didn't return because my GF totalled our car ...

crap add $600 van rental

she totalled the "grip truck" THE DAY before the shoot began and the production was designed around having everything in that van inluding ladders and dolly track and all the gear and costumes - so when we finally left the body shop where the van was towed at like 8 o'clock that night after having the wreck at 11:00 AM, there was just not time to restratigize so we rented a van ... so damnit $1100!

We purchased props, costumes, paint, food.

Kholi
03-11-2006, 03:28 AM
Glad to hear $1K is cheap, and comes so easily to you apparently ... doesn't for most.

Didn't mean it was cheap for me, I meant it was cheap for a decent five minute production. Though that was just speculation, anyway. I've heard of a few people spending much more than that for the same amount of time.

ZombieSquid
03-11-2006, 10:57 PM
Unless you count gas for the bike, I spent absolutely no money whatsoever on my SciFi short.

Norm Sanders
03-12-2006, 01:41 AM
Wow, great job! Of course, you still need to count tape stock, etc. unless you went straight to a fire store drive.

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-12-2006, 01:42 AM
Wow, great job! Of course, you still need to count tape stock, etc. unless you went straight to a fire store drive.

or shot on old tape :Drogar-Evil(DBG):

Norm Sanders
03-12-2006, 02:16 AM
The person who'll risk shooting their short on old tape is one BRAVE (or ignorant?) person!

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-12-2006, 02:18 AM
a person who'll shoot their short on used tape has an extra $5 :grin:

Kholi
03-12-2006, 02:20 AM
a person who'll shoot their short on used tape has an extra $5 :grin:

LOL.

I'd think spending 1k on a short when you've never ever filmed a single thing in your life is brave... am I wrong?

Norm Sanders
03-12-2006, 02:47 AM
Well, money spent can always be earned again. However, footage lost due to a glitch in a tape is simply lost ... forever. Maybe the person can pull the crew back, as well as the talent, and hope for the same location, lighting, setting, etc. to get a pick up shot or reshoot, but it's still a lot more work & stress than just blowing money that can easily be replaced down the road.

However, either of those (spending $1K on first attempt/short or shooting on used tape) could border on brave or stupid, IMO.

Kholi
03-12-2006, 11:34 AM
Well, money spent can always be earned again. However, footage lost due to a glitch in a tape is simply lost ... forever. Maybe the person can pull the crew back, as well as the talent, and hope for the same location, lighting, setting, etc. to get a pick up shot or reshoot, but it's still a lot more work & stress than just blowing money that can easily be replaced down the road.

However, either of those (spending $1K on first attempt/short or shooting on used tape) could border on brave or stupid, IMO.

Well, I'm not brave I'll tell ya that!!! :cheesy:

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-12-2006, 08:02 PM
if you HAVE $1k to spend on a short why not do it even if its your first, just realize that you may have an utter piece of poopoo that cost $1k

So if its not a choice between rent and buying an arsenal of airsoft guns or a custom sewn super hero costume, then go buy your guns and costume.

Also, money spent on things like airsoft guns can be considered an investment, unless you think you'll never do anything testosterone laiden again, whereas a hot pink and lime green "Muffin Man" costume will probably be a one time use item.

If 1K is a strain on your budget in anyway, then I'd try to keep it will below a total of $500 for food (your must have expense) along with any props costumes or other material needs ... then hold on to the other $500 for emergencies only -- like replacing a broken windshield in the friends car you borrowed or something.

But if you got it, spend it.

Maybe it'll be great -- some people place in these things with only their second and third films.

If you wind up just not happy with your film at all, you'll learn a lesson -- what it likes to spend $1k, along with all your time and energy, on something you hate :grin:

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-12-2006, 08:07 PM
Well, money spent can always be earned again. However, footage lost due to a glitch in a tape is simply lost ... forever. .... (spending $1K on first attempt/short or shooting on used tape) could border on brave or stupid, IMO.

dude you know i'm joking about shooting on used tape ....

all of these sound like fortune cookies or cinfucious parables though :Drogar-BigGrin(DBG)

confucious say "man who shoot on used tape has an extra five dollars"

confucious say "man who spend 1k on firs short either very foolish ... or very brave."
:grin:

Norm Sanders
03-12-2006, 09:57 PM
I know you're joking, Jack, but I also know you like to play Devil's Advocate ... even if you agree with something, I can see you throwing the alternative out there just for the sake of it. :)

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-12-2006, 11:12 PM
I know you're joking, Jack, but I also know you like to play Devil's Advocate ... even if you agree with something, I can see you throwing the alternative out there just for the sake of it. :)

I never play devil's advocate ...

Can you supprt that assertion ...

I think your just talking wildley out your bohiney ...

It's not that I disagree with you, I'm just saying its possible that you're wrong -- just as an alternative way off looking at things :Drogar-BigGrin(DBG)

Blaine
03-13-2006, 12:03 AM
Well, I'm not brave I'll tell ya that!!! :cheesy:
Go for it, man. When we decided to do our feature, there were all kinds of people wondering why... why? because we had to. And we just watched a 98% complete screening tonight, and man, I'm glad we did. We have a movie and there's no other feeling like it!!!!:)

Kholi
03-13-2006, 12:07 AM
Go for it, man. When we decided to do our feature, there were all kinds of people wondering why... why? because we had to. And we just watched a 98% complete screening tonight, and man, I'm glad we did. We have a movie and there's no other feeling like it!!!!:)

Sweeeet. Of course I don't want a 1k heap of dump. But, it's an experience.

Glad you guys had fun at your screening.

profnoxin
03-14-2006, 12:33 AM
The 1k is going to be worth it if you do the following:

Hire out your D.P. and your Editor, and get a real crew together. Find people that will talk you through all the things that they are doing. You'll have just spent 1,000 bucks to get a short made, and buy yourself something better than film school: Real knowledge from working professionals. You have a damn good idea in my opinion.

Hell, hit me up. I'll give you some names if you'd like.

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-14-2006, 12:35 AM
The 1k is going to be worth it if you do the following:

Hire out your D.P. and your Editor, and get a real crew together. Find people that will talk you through all the things that they are doing. You'll have just spent 1,000 bucks to get a short made, and buy yourself something better than film school: Real knowledge from working professionals. You have a damn good idea in my opinion.

Hell, hit me up. I'll give you some names if you'd like.

hey that's not a bad idea -- and then the first timer might pwn us all ... so wait ... I mean bad idea - bad idea :laugh:

Kholi
03-14-2006, 01:13 AM
The 1k is going to be worth it if you do the following:

Hire out your D.P. and your Editor, and get a real crew together. Find people that will talk you through all the things that they are doing. You'll have just spent 1,000 bucks to get a short made, and buy yourself something better than film school: Real knowledge from working professionals. You have a damn good idea in my opinion.

Hell, hit me up. I'll give you some names if you'd like.

Sweet---

PMed you.

profnoxin
03-14-2006, 03:59 AM
Rock on my friend... I just hit you back.

profnoxin
03-14-2006, 04:00 AM
Hmm... "hit you back".... am I really that guy?

Jack Daniel Stanley
03-14-2006, 01:15 PM
apparantley :)

profnoxin
03-14-2006, 03:08 PM
Damn it!

CineMark
04-05-2006, 10:05 PM
1k may be a lot, but i think it's all in where you spend it.
Equipment is always an investment, never an expense.
I feel like money needs to be spent in certain areas of a film to give it a higher production value. Props, set decoration, etc.. It's the only way to make your film look exactly how you envision before you put that camera in the room.

We're not spending near 1k on our HeroFest short, but it's adding up. Besides equipment, you figure clothes, props, makeup, anything for visual effects, it start's piling up.

I say don't put a hard figure on it. Don't spend $1000 just because you have it. Spend it where you need it, and where you absolutely can't borrow something or get it for free. If you want to spend it on people - DP, etc. - that's up to you. But you would hate to have an obligation to pay these people and then get on set and realized you should have spent more money on props, wardrobe or whatever.
A good DP probably can't make a terribly boring or badly designed set rock — they could make it look better than others could, but i think you still need some thought into it. And if you think of something, it's probably going to cost.

Anyway, that's my input.