Diane’s Diary #36: The Beginnings of a Proper Budget
Note: This is Excerpt #36 in Diane’s Diary. If you would like to read previous excerpts, you can find Diane’s Diary 1-35 here.
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In Diane’s Diary #35 I explained that in order to receive grant money, I needed a fiscal sponsor and found a wonderful sponsor in From the Heart Productions. As you may have garnered from the name, Carole Dean’s company, From the Heart, believes in sponsoring and supporting film projects that have a positive impact in this world- projects that come from the heart.
As I began taking Carole’s course and listening to the podcast, I realized that while I had created a general budget for my business plan while I was in school, I had only ballparked some of the numbers. But I really needed a comprehensive budget because it’s a big project. A major part of the expense is that this docuseries is going to require a fair amount of travel. The experts who have agreed to participate and be interviewed are scattered all over the country. In fact, there are a few international people, but we’ll see if I am able to film them too.
In my perfect world, I will have enough money to hire one fabulous crew and fly all around the country with them. However, this might not be possible. More likely, I will fly to each interview and hire a local crew. What will be very important is continuity so that, for example, if one crew is using one camera brand and the next crew is filming on a different camera brand, they end up matching. I also learned that it’s not just the physical camera that is the issue, but it’s communicating the look that I want. A good director can do this.
Reminder: I have minimal directing experience and no formal training so I will be relying on the experts that I work with. (More about the experts I am hiring in an upcoming post.) But I did realize that I wanted to start having these technical conversations early in the process.
Back to the budget- I asked my Line Producer, Theresa Frankel, if she would create the budget for me in a few different ways: by the story, by location, etc. This way we can see where we might be able to trim it when we start film prep.
In order to create a proper budget, Carole Dean also suggested that I contact more of the finishing experts, for example, a sound company and a colorist to get some real figures from them. (Once the film is edited, the sound person makes the audio sound as good as they can make it and the colorist makes the picture look as good as possible.) I spoke with some great people. I have no idea if I will end up working with any of them, but I now have some figures and contacts.
The budget is now more thorough and realistic.
In Diane’s Diary 37 we will move into writing a proposal and how that also ended up affecting my budget.
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