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Budget and Scheduling

Contributed By Michelle Christensen

After the shooting schedule, the production board and the day out of days are put together it is common to hire a unit publicist (especially when shooting an independent film). The publicist should start promoting the film as soon as possible and get it hyped up. They should send out media advisories to anyone who could cover a story regarding the production, cast and crew.

Once these production blue prints are in place, the budget can be drafted. Much time should be spent with the director before a budget is prepared. The better that a production manager understands the director's vision, the better they are able to put the money where it's needed. Once a 10% contingency has been set aside, 60% of the budget should be spent on production and 40% on postproduction. In production, one has better means to contain cost by shortening the shoot, condensing locations, and scratching night exteriors, as well as by negotiating deals with crew and vendors. Production is sexy and romantic. You can talk people into doing things for free and get away with murder. Post Production is not sexy. Vendors are less willing to negotiate prices. Most of your hard costs lie in post production so always budget your film backwards.

The shooting schedule and the budget together with and biographies of the key creative collaborators (i.e. Producer, Director and Actors) and a premise and treatment of your script are your business plan. Additional materials, like revenue projections, comparisons with films of similar genres and box office charts yield nothing and demonstrate you don't know what you're doing. Such projections are very subjective but they may impress an unsophisticated investor. Scripts should only be provided to serious investors. The Producer may enlist Associate Producers to find potential investors and shop the business plan around. Associate Producers are often paid on a commission of the money they raise much as salesmen are.

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