How to Calculate Cost of Filming an Independent Movie

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Many directors choose to create an independent movie for one of three basic reasons. They might not be able to get a studio to produce the movie. The director might want to take full control over the story. Some directors choose to create independent movies to get a start in the movie business. Calculating the estimated cost of an independent movie is critical to secure funding.

  • Estimate the cost of the equipment. The gear you need depends on the type of movie you make, however all independent movies require a movie camera, sound recorder and lighting rigs. Equipment is available for rent in most major cities if the funds are not available to purchase the equipment.

  • Figure in the cost of location shooting. Most locations allow you limited access to exterior shots for free. Some locations require rental fees each day. Search for areas that allow you to shoot for free to help reduce overhead costs.

  • Negotiate with the actors and crew to estimate their salaries. Many actors and crew members will take a lower paycheck if they are given a percentage of the movie's profit. Many extra's parts and one-line roles can be filled for free by students and locals in the area you are filming in.

  • Research the type of film the camera uses. Find the best price for the film. Depending on the length of the movie and the number of takes, the number of reels you need will vary.

  • Calculate post production costs. This includes marketing, time in a sound stage, editing software or time in an editing studio, any special effects and copies of the final cut.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create a spreadsheet to include all the information you gather.

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