On May 2nd, PACS International hosted its first #pacschat Twitter chat, with expert host Cheryl Jenkins.
We invited film and television professionals to chat with us and share their opinions about planning a film budget. We asked participants questions like:
- What financial issues do you usually see with productions?
- What mistakes do you recommend avoiding that would drive up costs?
- How much time do you allot for preparing a budget?
- What kind of cost-saving measures do you take before production begins?
- How do you plan for unexpected expenses?
Here’s a summary of chat responses:
- Productions usually experience financial issues due to last minute creative changes and not budgeting properly for overtime. Overtime affects the budget across the board including location, catering and equipment.
- To avoid unnecessary costs, be sure to understand each contract and the rules for each union. Look at labor laws for each state where you may travel. Don’t waste money paying double time for non-union crew when you’re in a state the does not require it. Also, schedule each actor’s work days together to avoid paying for unworked days. For weekly overnight contracts, actors receive four hours on the 6th day whether they work or not.
- Plan to spend 2-3 weeks preparing your budget. This includes the time needed to create a schedule. Budgets must be created for each project; don’t use templates or percentages.
- Budget for prep and wrap days. Crew members will only work the minimum number of hours on these days. Also, look closely at your payroll fringes (taxes) and avoid budgeting excess money in this area.
- For independent projects, have a 10-15% contingency for unexpected expenses. For studio projects, plan for additional equipment charges or overtime. A contingency line is not allowed.
Stay tuned for the date of our next #pacschat Twitter chat.