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How to Produce on Budget?

Written by Atika Greene on September 13, 2021

Budget is a significant factor when it comes to creating the project of your dreams. Don't let your lack of resources or funds stop you from executing your project. We want to help you use what you already have and find the best people to collaborate with on your project. Let's start by identifying the three things that will benefit from producing on a budget.

First, you want to find a fantastic Line Producer. A-Line Producer is the essential piece of any production. They hire crew, allocate funds and make sure everything is executed safely and on budget. If your budget is small to none, this can be a team effort, and the producers or creative team will do all of the above. The Line Producer should be someone you can trust to implement everything promptly. It should be someone whose primary goal is the success of the project. Next, consider the number of characters with speaking roles. On smaller budgets, you might need to minimize your characters to secure payment for your main actors. The least amount of talent will be in your best interest when allocating the proper funds to your actors. Lastly, stick to one location that you can film multiple scenes or the entire script. It can be very costly to use different locations unless they are free or in exchange for a credit. Sometimes you might be able to ask friends and family to film at their homes and offer them a producer's credit. Thinking outside the box and using all of your potential resources can be very helpful. When writing your script, you can keep all locations and character limits to eliminate additional editing. After you have completed your rewrites and edits, you should have a solid script ready for production. Start by gathering the creative producing team that can support you on this journey.

After the script is complete and ready for production, you want to start by breaking down the script. When breaking down the script, you can begin to list all locations, characters, props, and any pertinent information to set you up for success when filming. It is also the time when you eliminate anything excessive or unnecessary. Now, let's move on to casting; it might be beneficial to cast friends or students. Your friends might be open to a lower payment, and students want an on-set experience. It will save your budget on talent. It also allows you to keep the majority of that budget for a name talent or micro-influencer to help with marketing and profitability. After breaking down your script, you might notice that many scenes can take place in one location instead of multiple.

Responsibilities of a Producer:

Remember to consider some avoidable costs, such as Camera, Insurance, Craft Services, Editor, Sound and Talent, and Crew Fees. The goal is to minimize expenses, so try to use all potential cost-effective resources. Please make a list of everyone you know who can assist in your project and what they do. Focus on the essential elements that help tell the story. Anything that doesn't need to be in the script can be removed or just considered when the budget is more extensive. Don't sacrifice the story for the budget or vice versa. Every production needs a solid creative team to help make these decisions. Ideally, you want to create a sizzle reel or proof of concept that you can pitch for more funding. Use what you have now and get all that you wish to later. The story will speak for itself.


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