How much does a short film cost to make? You might as well ask how long is a piece of string.
Let's put the film into some context. Backstage is 9 minutes long and it was shot over 3 days. Let’s break the cost of the film.
We had a main cast of 3, Liam, Dan, and Aja. We also had a supporting cast of 3, James, Rich and Me. The 3 main cast and our 1 supporting cast member all worked on the film for free because they just wanted to help make the film.
Our crew size was 8, we had Emily who was the producer and 1st AD, Rob (not me) was a 1st AC, Ed was on sound, Kristian was our script supervisor, Adam filmed this wicked steadicam shot, Jack filmed BTS, and Alex was our clapper loader.
Just like the cast, our crew worked on the film for free.
Since the cast and crew worked for free we made sure we provided food and drinks. Even if you are making a no budget film, make sure you provided food for your cast and crew, it goes a long way.
Travel Expenses: £71.70
Along with the food for the cast and crew we paid for people's travel expenses. You don’t want people to be out of pocket for your film.
The location we used for the film was an old school which is ran by a local church. They allowed us to use the location for free, whenever we wanted. We did not have to, but we did make a donation to the church for allowing us to have access. If you find yourself in this situation, just work out what you can afford. You don’t have to donate a lot, and whatever you do will always be appreciated.
The only prop that we really needed in the film was the announcer's microphone. We made this out of cardboard and foam which we had laying around, so it didn't cost anything.
When writing this film we knew we would need to spend a bit of money making sure our characters fit into the world. Some of the costume items we had to buy were the Mediums yellow shirt and waistcoat, the fly swatters Knee pads, headphones, and even this foam hand.
Set Design: £80.93
The location we had for the set was very flexible, we boarded up the windows and created skirts for the lights with cardboard we already had, but we did spend money on paint. To dress the rest of the set we only used what we already had, and ordered some event posters for the room.
The music in the film is all original and was created by our friend Jordan who runs Pamplemousse Recording Studio. He did this as a favour as he just wanted to help create the film.
When we started this project we put aside £350 to make Backstage. The total cost of the film was £470. Slightly over our original budget but just by a little.
In the list we did not include the camera equipment we used to make the film. The reason for this is because the camera equipment did not cost us anything for this production as we already own the kit we used, and have for sometime now.
Anything we personally do not own like the wireless follow focus and disco light that we used to make the film were all borrowed and provided in kind.
Backstage could have been shot on more expensive equipment, but it could have also been shot on camera equipment which was cheaper.
For the purpose for this list we have included a rough cost of the equipment if you were starting for nothing. £4,850. The total cost now comes to £5,320.
If you already own the camera equipment and it is good enough for you to make films, just go out there and make films. We spent £470 making Backstage and in the grand scheme of things this it not a lot of money and you don’t even need to spend that much.
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