Sample Budgets

From The Independent November 2002

Standing in the Shadows of Motown
Budget: $2 million
Cost of Principal Photography:
Much of $2 million
Length of Principal Photography: Music: 1 week
Doc: 3 weeks
Cast: $90,000, including travel
Concert: $1 million
Transportation: Included in
performer fees
Cost of Postproduction: $800,000
Length of Postproduction:
8 months
Film Editing: $75,000
Archival Footage:
Insurance: Albert Rubin package, standard fee

Budget: $150,000
Cost of Principal Photography: $24,000
Length of Principal Photography: 4 weeks, plus reshoot week
Cast: $10 per diem; $25,000 deferments; SAG experimental (when distribution deal comes, SAG gets paid first)
Screenplay Fee: Deferred
(after everyone gets paid back)
Director/Producer Fee: Deferred
Set Construction: none
Wardrobe: none (provided by actors)
Props: gun rental: $175;
party misc.: a few hundred dollars
Transportation: subway fare out of per-diem; whoever wanted could pile into the van
Catering: Out of $10 per diem
Total Postproduction: $125,000, including editing, film transfer,
original music, sound mix, sound edit, three prints, subtitles, publicity, posters, post cards, press packets
Length of Postproduction: 5 weeks
Music and band performance: $30,000–$35,000 deferred
Number of staff:
Preproduction: 10
Postproduction: 10
Film Editing: $400 a week
Insurance: none

The Grey Zone
Budget: $3.8 million, with a $200,000 contingency
Length of Pre-Production: 3 months, 6 days a week in Bulgaria
Cost of Principal Photography: Around $2.7
Length of Principal Photography: 41 days (originally 45)
Cast: SAG scale (four actors with top billing received slightly more)
Transportation: $1,500 a person. “We did not fly people first class.”
Screenplay Fee: Used to build the second crematorium
Special Effects: $80,000
Set Construction: $250,000
Wardrobe: $40,000
Total Postproduction: $200,000–$250,000
Length of Postproduction:
14 weeks editing
Number of staff:
Preproduction: 5-member core for 3 months
Postproduction: 3 people
Film Editing: Done in New York for less than union scale
Insurance: The Millennium package self-insures everything

Okie Noodling
Budget: $128,000
Cost of Principal Photography: $38,000
Length of Principal Photography: 2 summers, with interviews
in spring and fall.
Director/Producer fee: $2,800 “[What] I had left after I paid everyone and paid everything off.”
Transportation: helicopter rental $600 an hour, with pilot
Postproduction: “It was supposed to be in-kinded to us, but the
station didn’t give me much time, so I just bought a G4 Mac and some software and a couple of drives, and just cut it in it my bedroom.”
Length of Postproduction:
6 months.
Video to Film Transfer:
Number of staff: Principal Photography: 3 (camera assistant, audio engineer,
and Beesley)
Postproduction: 4 (editor, assistant,
business manager, and Beesley)
Insurance: Errors and omissions, $3,000
Archival Footage: $3,300 for one-minute clip from David Letterman Show
Music: $6,000—Flaming Lips soundtrack