How to prepare a film budget

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A budget can make or break a creative project. It’s one of the most important tools you will use in ensuring that your production is completed on time and within its financial boundaries. If you’re starting a new film, television or theater project, and wondering what it takes to create a good budget, here’s some insight into the process.

Who’s involved.

Your line producer and production accountant work together to create your budget. They identify all costs needed to make the project happen.

When to start.

The budget must be finalized before any production begins. The production team will get estimates for renting cameras, lights, sound and other equipment. They will negotiate with vendors to make sure the production is getting the best prices. Adjustments in your budget are made based on cost negotiations or how much funding is secured.

The makings of a good budget.

A good budget is well-thought out and thorough. Production accountants consider every detail and resource you will need to complete your project, down to the number of stamps.

What’s next.

When your accountant finishes your budget, you’ll be ready to use it to secure funding from your investors or the network/studio.  Your budget plays a major role in fundraising. Funders want to see that a project is economically viable, and a well-prepared budget makes a stronger case for investment.

Also, after the budget is complete, your accountant will use it to prepare a cash flow analysis. This indicates how much money will be needed to produce your project on a week-to-week basis. Check our blog soon for more information on how a cash flow analysis is prepared.


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