Tuesday, August 13, 2013
There's Two Ways To Budget a Low Budget Flick.... The Pie In The Sky or The Sky In Pie...
After getting off the phone today with two different producers in regards to two different features I am producing and when I say different kinds of producers I don't mean apples and oranges different, I mean elephants and angel food cake different. But I digress. In my humble experience of producing I think ten low-ish budget features I came to the conclusion that there are two ways to budget a low-budgy-flickeroni; You can go out and hire a fancy production manager, or a not so fancy production manager, and pay them their fee, or promise them a job if the movie finds its way to a producer, and lop off the script to them and say "budget this" I call this the "pie in the sky" budgeting; or, you can go to a production manager and you say "this is the budget" and then they budget the movie, and when I say budget, they work with what you actually have or think you can get. I call this "the sky in the pie" budgeting. You see, at the end of the day it really doesn't matter if the line producer says what the f*** the budget is, because the budget is how much you have in the bank to make the movie, (or in a Prada shoe box, or how much room you have on your credit car) that is the budget of the movie not what some bourgeoisy production manager tells you what the budget it. No offense to PMs because that's a job I would never want to have (though did do it on one feature "Life On The Road With Mr. & Mrs. Brown" along with many other jobs, like directing, producing, driving James Brown's wife to re-hab twice, fending psychotics, but that's another story), but a production manager is not a producer, and usually doesn't think like a producer. A good producer (in my opinion) thinks with the concept of "This is what I have to make this thing, so lets go for it, and make it happen some how, even if it means flirting with your ex-boyfriend editor to do a rough cut of the movie for free (but lets face it, these favors aren't really free either, but you play the card because hell, it's a solution so your investors don't chop your balls off for not finishing the movie."
Moral of the story, don't be a robot, and try not to hire a robot production manager who can't think a little outside the box, movies are meant to made not to be theorized about.