How do you secure financing for your independent film if you don't really know what it will cost to make? Having an accurate budget is paramount to the fundraising process. You need to have a document you can explain, defend and feel confident about as you enter the pre-production process.
I recently published an article on Medium called "10 Insider Tips for Film Production Budgeting," which provides some useful insights into the film budgeting process that will help you elevate your budgeting game. I'll summarize them here for you, but you should go to the full article for further details on each.
1) Run a breakdown and schedule first so you can base your numbers off of them.
2) Utilize software that can track actuals if you can't afford additional accounting software.
3) In addition to the contingency, always pad up certain areas of your budget for extra protection.
4) Create a "notes" section to help summarize the key elements the budget covers (or doesn't cover).
5) Use "globals" when possible to make future changes easier.
6) Research crew and vendor rates from reliable sources.
7) Know a few key percentage "rules of thumb."
8) Only share the budget top sheet with third parties unless the full budget is requested.
9) Tax incentives have nothing to do with budgeting, so don't confuse them!
10) Learn what is and is not included in a picture's negative cost.
You can read the full article here: