Things will go wrong in production. Heck, maybe they started going wrong as early on as development. Whatever the case, it’s tempting to throw money at these problems to make them go away. In the moment, the most logical place to get that money will be from the funds allotted to post-production. But don’t do it. After all, post-production is where problems go to get fixed, remember? So, you’ll need that money. Otherwise you could be stuck going to a loan shark to finish your project – because by that point friends and family may not be willing to support your “media habit” any longer.
Budgetary Considerations in Post-Production
So if you’ve made it this far, you’ve left room in your budget for editing, sound and all those other finishing touches. Right? RIGHT?!?! Okay, good. Now make sure you also have enough time to get everything done. Budgeting for post-production is as much about staying on schedule as it is covering the costs. For example, if you’re aiming for a test screening, you’ll also want to give your editor time to re-cut and your producer time to re-screen after those merciless bastards in the audience have torn your dream project to shreds.
Don’t “Borrow” From the Post Budget
Bring on a Post-Production Supervisor Early
If you’re reading this from your editing suite, then you really need to hire a post-production supervisor this instant. In fact, you should probably travel back in time to the happy days of pre-production and do it then – or if you’re into reality-based logic, you can plan ahead by bringing on a post-production supervisor at that stage of the project. Pre-production may seem like it’s a bit early to be thinking about post – our sources tell us that “pre” means before and “post” means after – but this will save you time and money in the long run. A post-production supervisor will secure the right people, agreements and formats at the best possible prices, allowing you to focus more on the creative and technical aspects that relate to your story. So when you are having those debates about which ADR take perfectly captures the emotional arc in that pivotal scene while also hitting the right note of that awesome song on the soundtrack which you’ve totally paid for the licensing rights to, you’ll want to send a really nice fruit basket to your post-production supervisor.
Yes, this is another one of those bummer moments where we brace you for a reality check about your goals. So does your project really need to screen in 3D IMAX theaters, or would streaming it on YouTube be enough of a reward for all your hard work to this point? Different screening venues mean different formats, all of which means more money. Even if you want to try for some of the bigger name film festivals, the cost of formatting for these venues can go well beyond the budget range of most humble indie filmmakers. Whichever path you decide best fits your project, make sure to budget the money needed to meet these requirements. Even the time needed to research what format those venues actually use for screenings should be accounted for.