Making a Budget for a Documentary Film

When you are about to begin any venture, whether it’s starting a new business or a new documentary film, you need to have a budget for it. Otherwise, your project will come to a dead-end soon. Here are some tips that can help you make a budget for a documentary film.

Overall cost

Overall cost - Making a Budget for a Documentary Film

First, get an estimation of the overall cost of the film. If you know anyone who has made a documentary film recently, then you can get a good idea from that person. According to many documentary producers, it is estimated that a high-quality YouTube video will cost about $1,000 for every minute of footage.

So, if you are making a documentary film about 60-minutes long, then you might incur a cost of about $60,000. For making higher quality films that you plan to show in the theatres and festivals, the production cost will be higher, approximately $2,000 to $10,000 per minute.

Shooting costs

Shooting cost is the first item on the budget. This includes the cost of cast and crew and it can take up to $1,700 a day to $1,700 an hour depending on the size and experience of the crew members. If more cameras and lighting is needed, then the cost will be even more.

The shooting duration will also affect the cost. Then there is the location cost. For outdoor shooting, you need to take permits. There are travel expenses as well.

Post-production costs

Post production costs - Making a Budget for a Documentary Film

Editing the film is expensive. If it takes longer to edit the film, the cost will increase. The cost also depends on the level of editing and the experience of the editor. Post-production cost also includes the cost of graphics and sound effects. You need to obtain a license also for the film.

Distribution and marketing costs

After the post-production stage, you need to focus on the distribution and marketing stage. You need to allocate a large portion of your budget to distribution and marketing.

If you want to show the film at festivals and theatres, you need to pay the distributor. The marketing activities include trailers, posters, and other things. You need to use the social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, and others.

All these sections must be mentioned separately on your budget so that you know how much you have to allocate for which phase of the filmmaking. Make the budget realistic so that your project doesn’t get stuck in the middle.