Motion Picture Budget Book and Motion Picture Budget Workbook
This is a set of books I have been working on for some time now. The books are intended to help film students and new producers understand the budget process and provide a foundation for budget development. The Workbook is available here in its preliminary format for your perusal.
Even if you are not involved in production this workbook will give you an idea as to what goes into making a major motion picture.
Please feel free to post any comments you may have on this project.
When asking this question you can expect the answer to fall along party lines. In media development, the Party System is divided in 2 Major Parties. Creative and Distribution with fringe parties like Product Placement and Trend Watchers confusing the issue just enough to keep things interesting.
If you ask a creative, they will fall to there idealistic mantra du jour, that their skill set plays to. If you ask Distribution a pipsqueak, that gets paid way too much, will materialize and begin flipping through charts of data telling you what elements are essential, statistically, for the presented genre.
Where in lies the truth?
Sadly it is closer to the Distribution, but not necessarily in the way you may think. The distributors are a wealth of knowledge on what has been successful in the past. So, unless you have a first run package like Blair Witch, you might want to pay attention to the bean counters.
On the creative edge, making formula look good is truly an art. Consider: most theatrical writing is based on a fairly strict formula. Theatrical productions that stray too far from this tried and true path have little chance of succeeding. So it is important to “follow the rules” but that doesn’t mean through out creativity.
If you look at the rules as a frame work to drape your art over, it will be easier to work with. This goes for things like product placement and sponsors as well. If you know up front what you need to incorporate into the project, it makes it easier to build/work around those elements.
If you are a creative, don’t despair. Take what you have and what you are given, look at them both closely and find that creative middle ground that lets your art shine through and be seen by the masses.
Distribution, relax, your risking a heart attack with all of that stress. The Creatives are not out do destroy you. Take the time to present where the money is coming from and what is unnecessary to generate the support to get the project to market. Don’t make creative decisions without involving the Creatives, even if only make them feel better.
Reduce the stress level on both sides and everyone wins.
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