How To Prepare A Film Budget

Hosted by Tatiana Kelly

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Tatiana Kelly

Webinar hosted by: Tatiana Kelly

Producer at Serena Films

Tatiana Kelly's first film Wristcutters: A Love Story starred Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Will Arnett, John Hawkes, Shea Whigham, and Tom Waits. It premiered at Sundance in 2006, was released by Lionsgate, earned two Independent Spirit Award nominations, was screened in over thirty film festivals, and was an eight-time Best Feature festival winner. Subsequent productions were Happiness Runs starring Rutger Hauer, Andie MacDowell, Shiloh Fernandez, and Jesse Plemons, Smother starring Steven Bauer and Taryn Manning, and Dark Yellow, starring Melora Walters and John Hawkes. Recent theatrical releases include The Words, which was the Closing Night film in 2012 at Sundance starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, and Olivia Wilde, and The Procession, written and directed by Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Festinger (In The Bedroom), starring Lily Tomlin, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Lucy Punch. Upcoming films include Sunset Stories, which premiered at SXSW which starred Monique Curnen, Sung Kang, Joshua Leonard, Zosia Mamet with cameos by Jim Parsons and Kevin Bacon, Amos' Wake starring Shiloh Fernandez and Keisha Castle-Hughes, and Perfection, based on the short film Slice, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was a participant in IFP's Independent Filmmaker Lab, and winner of the Adrienne Shelly Female Directing Grant. Upcoming theatrical releases include Life of a King which premiered at the LA Film Festival starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Kelly is also on pre-production on Cut Throat City which she is producing with Reggie Hudlin (Django Unchained) and which is being directed by RZA from the Wu Tang Clan, Catcher Was a Spy based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name, directed by Ben Lewin (The Sessions) and written by Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot, Thor 2), and House of Curl based on the bestselling book by the same name starring Guy Pearce and Laura Linney. She is also in development on projects with Academy Award-nominated writer Tab Murphy (Gorillas in the Mist), Ernesto Foronda (Better Luck Tomorrow), and companies including Lynda Obst Productions, CBS Studios, and Tribeca Productions. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Learn directly from Host Tatiana Kelly, who has produced 12 independent films including The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Procession

One of the most critical stages in filmmaking, once you have a script, is budgeting your film. The budget can cover everything from the inception of the project, such as writing fees and other development costs, all the way to the finished film and even film festival marketing. Whether the film is under $10,000 or over $10,000,000 the film budget must present a spending plan for every dollar to be expended on the production.

You will need to have a budget that is detailed and accurate because it will serve as the road map and your bible for the project. It is also one of the key documents of your presentation that should be in place when seeking out investments. It is really the scope of the budget that will directly affect the amount of money needed to be raised.

Creating a budget is not an easy task given that it can consist of hundreds of line items that have to be balanced across many different competing priorities. Both over and under estimating the budget can be disastrous in that you can either end up not having enough money to finish the film or you can have enough but it will be impossible for investors to recoup their financial investment.

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Tatiana Kelly will present a straightforward method of developing a working budget. She will discuss what some of the key questions are as well as the decisions that need to be made prior to embarking on a budget. There are certain primary elements of the film and the screenplay that may be necessary such as stunts or locations or cast in order to secure financing for example, and which will help start to build out the budget. She will also cover budgeting basics and review what all of the line items represent.

Tatiana Kelly is an independent producer who has produced 12 independent films including Wristcutters: A Love Story, The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), and The Procession. Tatiana is also on pre-production on "Cut Throat City" which she is producing with Reggie Hudlin ("Django Unchained") and which is being directed by RZA from the Wu Tang Clan, "Catcher Was a Spy" based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name, directed by Ben Lewin ("The Sessions") and written by Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Rodat ("Saving Private Ryan", "The Patriot", "Thor 2"), and "House of Curl" based on the bestselling book by the same name starring Guy Pearce and Laura Linney.

She is also in development on projects with Academy Award-nominated writer Tab Murphy ("Gorillas in the Mist"), Ernesto Foronda ("Better Luck Tomorrow"), and companies including Lynda Obst Productions, CBS Studios, and Tribeca Productions.

What You'll Learn

  • Primary elements to think about when setting up your budget.
  • Different budget thresholds.
  • What do you need to justify a bigger budget?
  • How to determine what to offer cast and crew in terms of fees.
  • How a budget is broken down.
  • Above the Line costs.
  • Below the Line costs.
  • Post-production costs.
  • Ancillary costs.
  • SAG Residual Reserves.
  • Bonds.
  • Marketing costs.
  • Contingency.
  • Areas where people generally over-budget.
  • Recorded, in-depth Q&A with Tatiana!

About Your Instructor

Tatiana Kelly's first film Wristcutters: A Love Story starred Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Will Arnett, John Hawkes, Shea Whigham, and Tom Waits. It premiered at Sundance in 2006, was released by Lionsgate, earned two Independent Spirit Award nominations, was screened in over thirty film festivals, and was an eight-time Best Feature festival winner.

Subsequent productions were Happiness Runs starring Rutger Hauer, Andie MacDowell, Shiloh Fernandez, and Jesse Plemons, Smother starring Steven Bauer and Taryn Manning, and Dark Yellow, starring Melora Walters and John Hawkes.

Recent theatrical releases include The Words, which was the Closing Night film in 2012 at Sundance starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, and Olivia Wilde, and The Procession, written and directed by Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Festinger (In The Bedroom), starring Lily Tomlin, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Lucy Punch.

Upcoming films include Sunset Stories, which premiered at SXSW which starred Monique Curnen, Sung Kang, Joshua Leonard, Zosia Mamet with cameos by Jim Parsons and Kevin Bacon, Amos' Wake starring Shiloh Fernandez and Keisha Castle-Hughes, and Perfection, based on the short film Slice, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was a participant in IFP's Independent Filmmaker Lab, and winner of the Adrienne Shelly Female Directing Grant. Upcoming theatrical releases include Life of a King which premiered at the LA Film Festival starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

Kelly is also on pre-production on Cut Throat City which she is producing with Reggie Hudlin (Django Unchained) and which is being directed by RZA from the Wu Tang Clan, Catcher Was a Spy based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name, directed by Ben Lewin (The Sessions) and written by Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot, Thor 2), and House of Curl based on the bestselling book by the same name starring Guy Pearce and Laura Linney. She is also in development on projects with Academy Award-nominated writer Tab Murphy (Gorillas in the Mist), Ernesto Foronda (Better Luck Tomorrow), and companies including Lynda Obst Productions, CBS Studios, and Tribeca Productions.

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Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, 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! 

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Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • This webinar is for people that have little to no experience in budgets. I'd imagine it's quite useful if that's what you're looking for, but this is not a next level class for those that prepare budgets on a regular basis.
  • Tatiana Kelly presentation was very thorough. I have five pages of notes that I can use later. I feel more prepared in planning a budget. Kudos!

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