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It’ll always cost more than you first think.
Love Like Hers was my first major short film project. The idea was to throw myself in at the deep end and put everything I had learned over the previous few years to the test. I’d already shot a short film on zero budget (Angel of the Night) and for some reason thought this would be the natural next step in the learning process.
So, why did we need a budget?
I had this great idea to shoot on film, work with a large and experienced crew, throw in a bunch of actors, several locations and the rest. Now, I’m quite skilled in the art of negotiation, but getting all this on a zero budget was a none starter. We were going to need a stack of cash.
The production was rather large. I had over 30 crew, 5 actors, 6 locations, production vehicles, low loader, a film camera kit, lights and so on. These were the clear and obvious expenses. Let’s not forget travel, accommodation and other expenses that hide in the background somewhere, waiting to jump up and scare the living daylights out of you.
Luckily, I managed to pull in a LOT of favours. I had to pay most of the experienced crew something, and believe me, it was far from full rate (thank goodness). Again, I was very lucky to get them to agree to work for a heavily reduced rate.
Here’s a mini breakdown of the costs on Love Like Hers:
CAST – £1,650.00
The actors were paid equity rates for their part in the film. It was a three day shoot but we’d managed to schedule everything so that we didn’t need all 5 actors for the full duration. This involved several hours of moving shots and locations around to make the booking of actors cost effective. Always worth early consideration with projects filmed with many actors over several days. Every penny counts! This above figure does not include travel and accommodation. Scroll down for that.
CREW – £2,025.00
Some of the more experienced members of the crew had to be paid something, otherwise I’d have no crew! This was my first project, I’d not worked with 99% of them, so why should they want to give up their time for my film? The good thing is, all those involved in the film believed in what I was trying to achieve and therefore reduced their daily rates – considerably. Of those that did get paid, they were on a VERY similar daily rate. There were several crew members that worked for expenses, life savers!
EQUIPMENT – £1,850.00
ProVision in Leeds let me have the Arri s16mm camera, zeis lenses, tripod and head, track and dolly, all the lights I needed and LOTS of other kit for just £600 (including vat) for the three days. We literally had a large van load of kit. Another example of how being cheeky and asking the question can pay off. The bulk of this expense goes to the low loader that we needed for our car interior scenes, coming in at a whopping £1,200 (inc vat) for the afternoon.
Other costs included:
COSTUME – £80.00
PRODUCTION DESIGN – £235.00
FILM LAB (RUSHES / TELECINE) – £1,600.00
LOCATION AND SET FACILITIES – £1,550.00
TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION – £2,290.00
INSURANCE – £400.00
The total costs for Love Like Hers coming in at a massive £11,780.00.
Seeing that figure now and I’m close to falling off of my chair. This won’t be the end of the spending either. there’s a film festival run to think about and a premiere screening night to organise.
Fortunately, I’d managed to raise just over £10k via crowd funding, the rest has come out of my own pocket. I do think I’m a little mad for spending so much on a short film, but hey, you live once. I’m not doing this for the fun of it, I do have plans and massive ambitions for my filmmaking career and Love Like Hers will play an important part in my development.
Short films don’t make money! Short films are a great way for new filmmakers to learn, experience and develop in the world of filmmaking. If you can get your hands on the funds (without getting into debt) to get your short films made, then go go go! However, I do think it is important to have a plan. Set goals. Do a few short films, build your skill level, gain experience and get noticed.
I’m about to write, produce and direct what will be my LAST no-budget short film. A small group of filmmakers are getting together to make ‘That Day‘. There’s zero budget (although it will end up costing me in the long run I’m sure), which means those involved are giving up their time for free. It’s a fun, let’s get out there and shoot something kind of project, but don’t let that fool you. We’ll be treating this like a professional project with big production values and high standards.
The great thing is, I’ll be working with crew that I’ve worked with previously. They all trust my vision and work ethics and understand where I’m heading. They’re supportive and know that I’ll be there to return the favour one day! It is essential to surround yourself with people like this, ABSOLUTELY essential!!!
Love Like Hers – Facebook Page / Webpage (with trailer)
That Day – Facebook Page / Webpage
Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel with lots of filmmaking videos and follow me on Twitter @dannylaceyfilm.
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