How to budget a short movie

Top Ten Tips for Budgeting for Short Film

  • Working to budget a short film is one of the most challenging moments of the start of my career. You need to try and put the money on the screen, which basically means, making sure that most pennies spent, go towards things you will actually see on screen in the finished film.
  • FOOD! Food is very important, a full crew is a happy crew it has been said. You have no idea how much people will help you if you feed them well.
  • Props aren't out of the realm of short filmmakers with no-to-low budgets. Make them yourself, it isn't that expensive to make something LOOK expensive.
  • Excel makes things easy but never doubt the old faithful pen and paper.
  • Make sure you budget for transport which has been something that has got me before, forget that bus ticket cost, several times over, equals a lot of money if you only have £200 to spend.
  • Insurance is important if you hire cameras, a cheap and effective insurance for video projects is E and L Insurance. I've used them several times and they offer a one month insurance which typically has never cost me more than a few pounds.
  • Try to get local actors as transport from the other side of the country can be very expensive, not to mention accomodation.
  • If you can offer a payment, do. A crew will be very thankful if you can offer just £15 pounds for their hard work and some lunch on set. It shows you appreciate them. As The Joker said, "If you're good at something, never do it for free".
  • Charity shops are good for low budget costumes and props.
  • Templates may be for £1000+ movies, but they can offer a comprehensive list of budgeted items. Every film needs cameras, crew, food and transport, from Man of Steel to 28 Days Later, to your movie.