Financing / Crowdfunding : Financing Your Film and a Proper Film Budget by Michael Mandaville

Michael Mandaville

Financing Your Film and a Proper Film Budget

I was speaking with a representative of a major film production bond company. We were discussing how many film producers have a proper film budget specifically for their film and how many use some generic budgets for their project. The reason is that a specific budget customized for your project deals with all the details whereas a generic budget has broad financial coverage but is not specific.

Amanda Samaroo

So what’s the preference? Which is better?

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Legitimate producers and financiers will NEED to see a proper and complete line budget for your particular film. Unfortunately, this usually requires a line producer as it seems at least 90% of film makers are not able to actually do this. And unfortunately for them, it's a lot of work and no line producer should be asked to do one for free or on spec. But in my experience, most of those same filmmakers won't spend the small money to do this obviously necessary step and if they cannot afford it, they don't have the attention span to learn how to do it themselves.

Willem Lodewijk Elzenga

As a producer I use my breakdown and budget to steer the project. I think that's what producer-driven filmmaking means. So a generic budget is quite a gamble if you ask me. The more detail the better.

Doug Nelson

I do a pretty complete breakdown and a Tagger program (FD Tagger) - then I burn through a couple of legal pads. (In the olden days, I was a Line Producer.)

Amanda Samaroo

I would love to learn how to do it.

Michael January

For a completion bond as part of a financing package you need a budget by a bondable line producer for the specific film you're doing, which will also take into consideration spend calculations, for various incentive locations, union rates, or non, overages, etc. They are insuring your film and need to know that it can be produced for the budget, and financing needs to know what the incentives are truly worth to finance. You can have a more general budget for a financing presentation package or deck, which gives investors an idea of what the film will cost, but you will need a more serious budget to actually close. If you are making a low budget independent privately financed, without major lending elements, you might not need a bond.

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