Time is money, especially in the world of movie-making. There are so many complexities and details that go into a production. With the amazing, technological advancements used in most films these days, it’s no wonder the pricetag of making a movie often skyrockets into absurd numbers on either end of the scale just to throw in a bit of marketing spin.
Low Budget Films – Reality, and documentary with minimal crew, and direction.
Yet many movies have reached major success in spite of shoestring budgets. Take for instance the 2004 box office hit, ‘Super Size Me.’ The budget for this fast food documentary was on a diet, too, a tiny $65,000. Morgan Spurlock made a movie about the unhealthy aspects of eating fast food like McDonald’s and Burger King. The film’s concept was a simple one, but worldwide gross for the film was a ‘whopper,’ totaling $29,500,000.
Studio Financed Films – Which run into millions of dollars
From the other end of the spectrum, the brilliant special effects of the blockbuster ‘Avatar’ and all its 3-D science fiction greatness, brought in huge bucks at the box office, but the road there, cost millions. Director James Cameron chipped in $14 million of his own money to get the epic film made. Experts crunched the final tally to be somewhere between $280 and $310 million!
Avatar became the first movie to gross $2 billion plus, with $150 million used for the film’s promotion, which brings to thought more reasons why movies cost big money. A lot of factors play into the final product, even the weather plays a role, like it or not.
Every Line-Item must be accounted for by a Line-Producer
For example, if mother nature isn’t cooperating, the weather can drag out production for quite some time. That’s just one small consideration. Any film expert would tell you that every movie to be made, no matter how inexpensive or enormous in concept, needs a serious budget. That’s where the professional line producer enters the picture.
There is so much to think about. Movie-making is more than just a camera and a bunch of actors running around. Everything adds up quickly, and that’s before you’ve chosen your A-list actors to bring in box-office gold. You need to determine where the money is going, prior to that decision, this is called below the line costs. Do you choose a movie location versus stage work? How about filming crowd scenes and gathering extras? What about costumes, makeup, artwork? Is the crew experienced, or mainly a group of interns? What about lighting, green screens, getting insurance, digital versus film, special effects, and the list goes on. Many of these more refined decisions must be made without compromising creativity, and can only be fulfilled by production consultation with that experience in mind.
Juliana Reed reads a lot of movie scripts before passing them onto a line-producer for potential financing. She has an avid interest in independant film, and loves to help new filmmakers onto the right path when approaching the business of film.