What’s really essential to your story at this point? If you need it, then make it work. However, don’t forget that solutions to problems can be a real source of creativity. In the early days of film, everyone kind of figured it out on the fly because they had no other choice – they were the true pioneers. To some extent, this is true today. Production equipment costs have never been lower, but there are obvious practical concerns you have to confront. Don’t underestimate your costs. Bonding companies at the major studios are eerily good at estimating the actual budget of a production. You know your own level of experience and you’ve evaluated your team. So how will you handle issues that arise during a production? Almost everything that can go wrong will go wrong in your project. If you haven’t planned for it in your budget, or you simply don’t have the ability to throw money at it, how will you – perhaps like your story’s protagonists – triumph over the adversity? Be smart. Get ready for the worst. And be open to compromise.
Budgetary Considerations in Financing
By this point, you should have an idea of how much money you can realistically expect. Rather than burying your project in the media graveyard, you may have to take another look at the budget.
A financial proposal is basically your budget in a nutshell. And it really needs to fit in a nutshell. Keep it short and sweet. Numbers ultimately mean more than words here. Have your accountant look it over before you actually submit anywhere.
Do not forget to include marketing in the budget. Studios may not publicly include marketing in a film’s budget, but behind the scenes you better believe they do. If you intend to distribute this no matter what, then you may have to do it yourself. Factor this in to your project’s overall costs. Your investors will be more likely to support you if you do.
A completion bond is basically an insurance policy that guarantees that you (or someone else if need be) will finish your project. If your budget is big enough, or your investors are concerned enough, you may need to get one from a bonding company. However, lower budget producers will throw these out the window the first chance they get.
If you’re using tax incentives, these are a part of the budget. Your accountant should consider all the budget consequences on a state by state basis to make sure everything is covered. Of course, don’t forget to include all the accounting and reporting costs associated with these incentives as well.