Tuesday, December 1, 2009
June 30, 2005
June 30, 2005
In a Perfect World...
You write a script. You're only limited by your imagination. The most intricate action scenes set in exotic locales, wonderful sets. You put them all in! This will be great!
Then it's up to Hollywood to bring your imagination to life. To find locations that will double as the places you've imagined.
They have FX technicians to figure out just how to make that gruesome death look realistic on screen. They have stuntmen to figure out how they can safely create that stunt and make it look awesome. They have seemingly limitless money to throw at any problem, any obstacle.
Too bad this ain't a perfect world.
You're a low-budget guy. And when I say low budget I'm not talking five million. With five million I could make you four movies and take a month-long vacation in the Bahamas.
No, I'm talking between $30,000-$80,000. To the layman who has never shot anything that may still seem like a lot of money. It's not.
Let me show you how fast that money goes. Assume you're not going to pay yourself anything to write/direct/edit the film. You hire your Director of Photography(D.P.). He's gonna cost you at least $4,500($1000/week for 3 weeks of shooting plus the $400 plane ticket to fly him out from LA plus his hotel while he stays here which will be about $1100 for the 3 weeks)
You can skimp. Pull some kid who's fresh out of college who thinks he knows what he's doing. Hell, he'll do it for free so he has something on his reel.
If you do that you risk making a piece of shit. I tell you, the Director of Photography is one of the most important people on your set. Do not half-ass this position. Half-ass your P.A.s, but not this position.
So then you need some all-purpose guys. We'll call them grips, but they're really gonna be grips/electricians. You can probably get some decent guys for $100/day. You're gonna need them 6 days a week for 3 weeks, so each of them is gonna cost $1800 for the shoot. 3 of them for the entire shoot is gonna cost $5,400.
You're gonna need some equipment--come on, whattaya gonna shoot on? What are you going to rent? Let's be nice and say we get a camera for $150/day--we got a break because we're renting it for 3 weeks. The total cost for the rental of the camera will be $2700.
We need lights. We can rent a light kit or two, but we really should kill two birds with one stone. Let's get a grip truck, which we'll make sure comes equipped with a light kit. It will also have C-stands, sand bags, reflectors, extension cords and most of the general stuff we'll need. We get a decent deal on that for $1000 a week. Total rental for 3 weeks is $3,000.
Hey, howsabout some actors? We can get actors for free, of course, but they're gonna suck. You get what you pay for. You can probably find decent actors for $100/day. Let's say we need five decent actors that we will pay. We don't need every one every day, but we figure out the cost for all five on the days we need them and it's $4,100. That's pretty conservative, just so you know. And we're going to assume they're all local so we don't have to fly them into town or house them at the end of the day.
You're going to need food. Forget about Craft Services, it's not happening on this budget. You're going to be getting your wife or someone to make cold sandwiches on some days, hot meals on others. Figure you're going to spend at least $600/week on food and drinks(between sodas/water/fruit juices you're gonna go broke). That's $1,800 for the 3 weeks.
The camera we got is a video camera, so depending on whether it's HD or mini-DV you're gonna need some tapes. The price is going to vary. How much footage you're going to shoot is going to vary. Let's make a low guess(especially if you're going HD) and say you're going to get 25 tapes at $6/apiece. $150
I record audio on DAT tape. Safer and cleaner than going right to the camera(plus, if you shoot with a steadicam you can't run an XLR cable into the camera while you're using it). You can get 25 DAT tapes for $5/apiece. That's $125
So what have we done so far? Gotten some of the main people together. It's a start. What has it cost us so far?
And we haven't even scratched the surface yet. And we're also being very conservative. More to come.