Stage 32 Budgeting Class: How to Create & Maintain a Successful Television Show Budget

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Taught by Rami Rank

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Class hosted by: Rami Rank

President & Producer at Top Ranked Pictures, Inc./GOLIATH (Amazon), DEXTER (Showtime)

Rami Rank is a producer with credits on shows including, DEXTER for Showtime, SWINGTOWN for CBS, HELP ME HELP YOU for ABC, and GOLIATH on Amazon, as well as features such as the remake of APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Since 2013 Rami has worked on a variety of both scripted and unscripted projects, most recently serving as Co-Producer for the Amazon hit series GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton. Top Ranked Pictures, Inc. is a development and consultancy film that works with filmmakers to bring their project to fruition by providing budgeting and scheduling services. Top Ranked Pictures has also consulted on multiple studio builds and business plans for studio projects. Rami began his career working on indie features as a Production Coordinator, Production Manager and Line Producer. After joining the union and coordinating the third season of DEXTER, Rami joined Universal Studios where in addition to helping manage the Backlot and Stage Operations he also ran UVS-1, Universal’s Virtual Production business until 2013 when he came back to production. Full Bio »

Summary

As a television maker, one of the most difficult aspects of your job is creating and managing the budget for your project. Budgeting a feature or a short can be complicated enough, but at least you have all of the information at your fingertips. You have a script, schedule, rates—all of these things are at your disposal. However what happens when you need to budget a TV show? You don’t have all the scripts, there’s seemingly no way to create a schedule and, on the surface, no way to generate a budget. And once that budget is established, how do you handle decision making and cost tracking over a many, many months long process? These seemingly unsolved issues do have answers, and ones that may be simpler than you think.

Successfully producing a TV show to get on screen requires that you understand not just how to build a TV budget, but also how to operate it. Knowing the ins and outs of Movie Magic and the various tools within as it relates to television is key. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and drown in the details of creating and managing the budget of a series. Through thorough research of the software, what it does and how it affects your project, you will be able to create TV budgets with ease. Presenting a solid TV budget will help you gain the confidence of those who can ultimately invite you into the inner circle of TV producing and allow you to advance your career to new heights.

To help you on your path is Rami Rank who is a producer on Amazon's GOLIATH, DEXTER for Showtime, SWINGTOWN for CBS, HELP ME and HELP YOU for ABC, as well as features such as the remake of APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Through his storied career, Rami has produced and budgeted for all types of television shows, including some of the biggest ones out there. He knows intimately what goes into the vital aspect of creating a budget for these projects and is ready to share all he’s learned exclusively with the Stage 32 community.

In this 3-session class, Rami will offer detailed, practical, and exhaustive guide to creating and managing a successful TV budget. In session one he will review the basic starting point of a TV budget: where the information comes from and how to utilize it. He will review some basic concepts like Budgeting and Scheduling Software, Rate Guides and the two types of budgets you’ll be creating – Patterns and Amorts. Session 2 will be a deep dive into the Amort budget. Students will receive a copy of an Amort budget to use as reference as we walk through all of the departments, positions and costs to consider in preparing the Amort. In the final session you will receive copies of a pattern budget to use as reference as he teaches how this budget is transformed into an episodic budget and then tracked using hot costs and cost reports. You will leave these three classes with the knowledge base and confidence to tackle any TV budget.

Plus this class comes with exclusive handouts that you can use for your own projects including:

  • PDF copies of real Pattern and Amort budgets.

 

 

"As a long time producer, I know how important a solid budget is for any television show, and I know just how challenging it is to create one successfully—much harder than for features and shorts. I’m excited to empower producers and creatives in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Get ready to learn more about TV budgets than you ever have before!"

-Rami Rank

What You'll Learn

SESSION 1 – GROUNDWORK

In session one we will review the basic starting point of a TV budget: where the information comes from and how to utilize it. We'll review some basic concepts like budgeting and scheduling software, rate guides and the two types of budgets you’ll be creating – Patterns and Amorts.

  • The Unknown Void of TV Budgeting
    • The art of balancing and forecasting
    • Honesty as a priority
    • The budget as a living document
  • Where do you get your information?
    • Creative concepts
    • Nuts and bolts
  • Tools of the Trade
    • Movie Magic budgeting
    • Movie Magic scheduling
    • Calendar program
    • EP Paymaster or Pay Rate Guide
  • What and How Do I Pay People
    • The Roles of Unions / Guilds
    • Minimum Rates
    • Minimum Staffing
    • Pay Hours
    • Overscale Employees
    • Fringes / Eventual Savings
  • General Concepts
    • Pattern and Amort Budgets
    • Out / In Pattern
    • Hero Sets
    • Cast
    • On Production vs. Off Production Roles
    • Hot Costs
    • Cost Reports
    • Projections
  • Q&A with Rami

SESSION 2 – THE AMORT BUDGET

Session 2 will be a deep dive into the Amort budget. Students will receive a PDF copy of an amort budget to use as reference as we walk through all of the departments, positions and costs to consider in preparing the Amort.

  • What is in the Amort Budget?
    • Prep Costs
    • Wrap Costs
    • Seasonal Costs
    • Non-Episodic Costs
    • Fixed Costs
  • ATL - A Walkthrough of the Above the Line Costs / Departments in the Amort Budget and some basic estimation tools
    • Writers
    • Producer
    • Director
    • Cast
    • ATL Travel
  • BTL – A Walkthrough of the Below the Line Costs Along with a brief outline of job responsibilities
    • Extras
    • Production
    • Art Department
    • Construction
    • Strike Costs
    • Grip / Set Operations
    • SFX
    • Set Dressing
    • Property
    • Picture Vehicles
    • Set Lighting
    • Camera
    • Sound
    • Costumes
    • Hair / Make-Up
    • Transportation
    • Location Expenses
    • General Expenses
    • Tests
    • 2nd Unit
    • Stage and Backlot Rentals
    • Editorial
    • Main Title Sequence
    • Stock Footage
    • Miscellaneous Overhead
  • Q&A with Rami

SESSION 3 – THE PATTERN BUDGET AND GOING FORWARD

In the final session students will receive PDF copies of a pattern budget to use as reference as we learn how this budget is transformed into an episodic budget and then tracked using hot costs and cost reports.

  • The Pattern Budget
    • Finding and Understanding Balance in the Pattern
    • Managing expectations and realities of future savings
  • New Items Not In The Amort Budget
    • While most of the items in the pattern budget are already in the amort, there are a multitude of new costs purely related to the episode, here, we will review those
  • Creating the Episodic Budget From the Pattern
    • Concept Meeting
    • Preliminary Budgets
    • Department Meetings
    • Tech Scout
    • Production Meeting
    • Final Budgets
  • Tracking and Projections
    • Hot Costs
    • Cost Reports
    • Seasonal Tracking
    • Projections
  • Q&A with Rami

About Your Instructor

Rami Rank is a producer with credits on shows including, DEXTER for Showtime, SWINGTOWN for CBS, HELP ME HELP YOU for ABC, and GOLIATH on Amazon, as well as features such as the remake of APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Since 2013 Rami has worked on a variety of both scripted and unscripted projects, most recently serving as Co-Producer for the Amazon hit series GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton.

Top Ranked Pictures, Inc. is a development and consultancy film that works with filmmakers to bring their project to fruition by providing budgeting and scheduling services. Top Ranked Pictures has also consulted on multiple studio builds and business plans for studio projects.

Rami began his career working on indie features as a Production Coordinator, Production Manager and Line Producer. After joining the union and coordinating the third season of DEXTER, Rami joined Universal Studios where in addition to helping manage the Backlot and Stage Operations he also ran UVS-1, Universal’s Virtual Production business until 2013 when he came back to production.

Schedule

CLASS 1 - Groundwork - 7/6/20

CLASS 2 - The Amort Budget - 7/13/20

CLASS 3 - The Pattern Budget and Going Forward - 7/20/20

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • If you want to learn about budgeting television, take this course!

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