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Hi Everyone -

 

I'm putting together a package for a very low budget feature. The production budget is $60k and I want to send production a reasonable camera and G&E package breakdown. Does anyone have a percentage that they think is a reasonable amount to allocate to equipment rental? I don't want to send something that the line-producer will scoff at.

 

Thanks!

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I think you should talk with the director about what your approach will be to the film and then talk the producer about attaining that. I wouldn't worry about the specfic numbers atleast upfront so much, that is not your job.

 

on budget that low it can be really variable, depends on how ambitious the project is and if people are getting paid at all.

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Generally the line producer had already done a budget breakdown, even if the amounts have to be tweaked once the director decides what he needs.

 

You'll probably submit what you think of as a reasonable equipment list based on the locations, the schedule, and what the director wants, and then the producer will come back to you and tell you how much over you are. It happens on every show, big and small, so don't worry about it. Once the producer tells you that your package is, let's say, 3X what he had budgeted for, you can work on reducing the list to accommodate, but at some point, you'll probably have to tell the director and the producer that "x" location or scene isn't doable within the schedule without the necessary equipment or manpower, so that some sort of compromise can be reached.

 

With a budget so low, you'll have to get some answers about some basic assumptions, like will there be a generator or does everything have to work on limited household power, etc. And how many people do that have budgeted for grip and electric -- there's no point in having a lot of equipment if you don't have the manpower to set it up or wrap it.

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if it's a no-one-gets-paid deal (passion project/reel material) then it would probably be anything between 30% and 50% for all the equipment depending on the production. I think something like 20 - 25k could be reasonable for starters without knowing more about the production. for example you maybe need certain expensive lights or lenses only for a day or two and can use cheaper alternatives for the rest of the production, etc.

 

As Albion and David said you have to negotiate this with the production staff and director anyway but the 30% ballpark for equipment usually works at least for smaller no-pay indie productions from 2k to 20k :)

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You didn't mention the schedule. Or how much of that budget is actually available to you. I had a budget of $60K for a feature offered to me recently but the schedule was 18 days with more than a dozen locations, cast of 15 or more and $20k of the budget was going to actors. After crunching the numbers I left. It just didn't work. There was nothing left for the crew or production staff.

 

For a shoot that's 3 weeks long, you have to pick your battles and be careful what you sign onto. However if your $60K feature is being done in 10 days in a single location sorta thing with a minimal cast. Then yeah, you can probably get a good package and crew together for it. 10 days of "walkaways" means a very easy shoot compared to a shoot with several company moves every day. I would ask for a schedule and look into those details.

Edited by Michael LaVoie

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