Budget 2002

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                CURRENT PRICE LISTS

                A cynic knows the price of everything – and the value of nothing.
                                                                     Oscar Wilde

Now that you’ve broken down the script and made a Shooting Schedule you’re ready to begin
making a budget. (If you haven’t made a schedule – stop. Budgeting without an accurate idea of
how much time it will take to make the movie is an exercise in futility and a great waste of time.
Make a schedule.)

Now, despite what you might think, making a budget is not difficult. Trust us, you can do it. And
there are several very good reasons to do so:

        First of all, most advanced projects cite the lack of money as their principal problem in
        completing the film. An accurate budget will tell you how much money you need to have
        in hand before shooting begins.

        Secondly, scheduling and budgeting are as much a part of the filmmaking process as
        operating the camera and editing. Even if you don’t plan on being a Producer or Produc-
        tion Manager you should know how to read a budget and have an understanding of how it
        was derived.

        Finally, you’re required to budget, not as a way of preventing you from making your film,
        but as a way of helping to ensure that the film actually gets made – within the resources
        available to you.

The budget – like the script – will go through many revisions before you begin shooting. How-
ever, thanks to the computer and software like Movie Magic Budgeting, making those revisions
is relatively painless.
                                                                         Advanced Budgeting Guide

A budget is an estimate – a guess (albeit an educated one) – about what it’s going to cost to bring a
script to the screen. The more you know about the process of filmmaking, the easier – and more
accurate your budgeting will be.

However, since you are currently engaged in learning the processes of filmmaking you’re probably
going to need some help.

Check out the Documentation Books from previous productions in the Student Production Office.
These have final budgets in them - real numbers of what was actually spent.

Use these budgets as a guide. Remember, every movie – and every budget – is unique. You can no
more use the budget from a previous film than you could use their shooting schedule.

If you don’t know what you’ll need – or if you aren’t sure – ask the people, who do know. Better
yet, let the Cinematographer make up the equipment list for Camera (as well as the Grip and
Lighting lists). Do the same for Sound, Editing and all the other departments. It’s called delegating.
As the Producer or the Production Manager you can then go through and discuss the lists with them
as you add the prices.

The secret of good budgeting is detail, detail, detail. Think the process through and write down all
the elements that will be necessary to film the vision . Budget to the smallest unit. Do not simply
write “allow” – that is like saying “I don’t know”. By breaking the process down to its smallest
component, you will arrive at an accurate budget that no one can argue with. Do not attempt to
economize on your first pass. That will come later.

For some budget categories there are a lot of items that need to be accounted for. There is not
enough room on the budget form to include everything so we insert a “detail” page.

This is an example of a “detail” page.


  ACCOUNT 2700               WARDROBE

  ACCOUNT                    ITEM                         QTY/UNITS    RATE            OUT OF POCKET

  2750 purchase              Corrine’s “wet”clothes       flat         $75.00          $75.00
                             Robert - Change #1           flat         $50.00          $50.00
                             Celeste - Change #3          flat         $50.00          $50.00

  2760 rental                Celeste - Change #1          3wks         $25.00          $75.00
                             Celeste - Change #2          2 wks        MANTRAP         donated

                             Corrine - Change #1          1 wk         $20.00          $20.00
                             Corrine - Change #2          2 wks        MANTRAP         donated
                             Corrine - Change #3          1 wk         ACTOR           donated

                             Chauffer uniform             1 wk         $30.00          $30.00


The following line-by-line guide to the CNTV Budget should help you understand what you will
need to make your film. The form has been adapted to production at USC, but the principles and
concepts are industry-standard practice.

One of the good things about making a budget at CNTV is that you don’t have to pay anyone for
their time – or the fringe benefits – is this a great country or what?

You’ll find industry budgets to be much more detailed – and, perhaps, bewildering. If you’re
interested in learning more we suggest reading “The On Production Budget Book” by Robert J.
Koster and “Film Budgeting” by Ralph Singleton.

You are still going to need the current Price List for all the departments so that you will be able to
enter the costs for the various items. We’ve included the latest editions (as of this printing), but it
is entirely possible that there have been changes. It’s your responsibility to check with each

We’ve also included a blank CNTV budget form. You can use this to start roughing in your
project’s cost.

Many people contributed to this guide. Among them were: Brenda Goodman, Tim Nielsen, Mary
Jansen, Meri Weingarten, Eric Furie and Mar Elepano .

                 Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art
                 of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the
                 elimination of the nonessentials.
                                                                   Lin Yu Tang
                                                                        Advanced Budgeting Guide

1100           STORY RIGHTS

1101 Story and Other Rights
     If this film is based on a script written by a student then no payment is required. How
     ever, if you are doing an adaptation or using material written by someone other than a
     student, some payment may be required. These rights must be negotiated in advance of
     principle photography.

1110 Writer
     You’re not paying anyone, but you should list the Writer’s name here.

1120 Research
     You’re probably not going to pay anyone to research your film. However, you may feel the
     need to examine the subject more closely. This is the account in which you would include
     money for travel, xeroxing, still photos and the like.

1150 Script Material / Supply
     You will need to make copies of the script for faculty, cast and crew. If you have a 20
     page script multiply by the number of copies and then by the cost per page of Xeroxing.
     This can add up quickly, especially with revisions. Remember, every member of the cast,
     crew and faculty needs an up-to-date copy of the script.

     Computers, typewriters, etc. Any equipment you need to rent to write the script.

1170 Other Costs
     You’ll find that we’ve left a space called “other” in each account. Normally, almost every-
     thing you need will fit into one of the defined categories. This is here just in case it doesn’t.

1200          PRODUCER’S UNIT

1220 Producer
     Just as you did with the writer, list the Producer’s name.

1230 Other

1300           DIRECTOR’S UNIT

1301 Director
     The name of the Director.

     If your film includes dancing and you hire someone to choreograph the steps this is where
     they appear in the budget. They are part of the Director’s unit.

1330 Other
                                                                    Advanced Budgeting Guide
1400         CAST

1401 Cast
     The School of Cinema-Television has an agreement with the Screen Actor’s Guild. SAG
     members are allowed to work in student films for no pay. However, all provisions of the
     SAG contract regarding working conditions, rest periods, etc. must be observed. You
     should also be aware that your actors do not have to be members of SAG (or any other
     union or guild, for that matter).

     You must give your actors copies of the film– that’s our agreement with SAG – and you
     must deliver them in a timely fashion – or let the actor know what the problem is. Budget
     the tape cost in Account 4300.

     You should list the Character name of all the parts in the script and the actor (if you know)
     who will be playing the role.

1470 Stunt Coordinator
     Members of The Stuntmen’s Association, The Suntwomen’s Association and Stunts Unlim-
     ited (as well as other organizations) have been very willing to help student filmmakers at no
     charge for their services.

1480 Stunt Players
     Stunt players are members of the Screen Actor’s Guild. The same rules that apply to the
     cast (meals, rest periods and working conditions) apply to stunt performers. They generally
     work for free, but may charge if the “gag” is dangerous or painful.

     Stunt Equipment
     You may have to rent pads, trampolines etc. Your Stunt Coordinator can give you the
     budget. You should check the prices, however.

     Casting Facilities and Expense
     There are a number of casting agencies that will work with student productions. They do
     not charge for their services, but you are expected to give them screen credit and video
     copies of the completed film.

     If you have an open call and need rent a space to hold the auditions or if you need a video
     camera to tape them this is the account in which to enter those expenses.

      Also include under Casting Expense xeroxing of the sides, refreshments, breakdown
      services and parking expense.

      Travel and Living Expense
      If you bring an actor in from out of town and house them put those expenses here. Also, if
      you take them out on location (outside the Studio Zone) put their travel, food and lodging
      expense here.

2000          PRODUCTION STAFF

2001 Production Manager
      Enter the name of the person performing this work.

2010 1st Assistant Director
      Enter the name of the person performing this work.

      2nd Assistant Director
      If you’re lucky enough to have someone doing this job enter their name here.

2011 AD Kit Expenses
      Production Boards, strips, breakdown sheets, etc. There is a list in the Student Production
      office. Take a look at it.

2020 Script Supervisor
      You definitely need a Script Supervisor. They’re not that hard to get. Many list their
      availability on the boardin SPO. Another source is UCLA Extension which has a course in
      Script Supervision. Those students need on-set experience. They have some training and
      they usually work for free.
                                                                     Advanced Budgeting Guide
2021 Script Supervisor Expenses
     The Script Supervisor will take Polaroids of the set; they will need to xerox their notes and
     they will require pencils, pens, erasers, etc.

     Location Manager
     The Director, the Production Manager and/or the Assistant Director will probably be doing a
     lot of this work. They will need money for gas and photos, but we will put those expenses in
     Account 3300 - Location.

     Production Coordinator
     Works for the Production Manager and functions as a liason between everyone on the produc-
     tion. Is also responsible for setting up and running the production office.

     First Aid
     You’re probably not going to have anyone devoted to this job, but it wouldn’t hurt if someone
     on the crew were trained in first aid.

     If you’re going to be doing stunts and/or if there is even the remotest possibility of someone
     being injured, you should definitely get a First Aid person on the set.

2030 Technical Advisor
     Generally used when you need specific expertise such as military, police or medical

2060 Production Assistants
     You’re going to need a lot of extra hands. This is where they go. Put in their names (if you
     know them).

     Teacher/Welfare Worker
     If you are using minors you will need to hire a Studio Teacher – there are no exceptions to
     this rule. Some productions have been able to get this service for free. I wouldn’t count on it.
     The going rate is $150 to $200 per day.

     If you are using an infant under 6 months of age, you will also need to hire a Registered
     Nurse. It’s the law.

     Computer Rentals
     It’s not impossible to make a movie without a computer, but it certainly is more difficult. If
     you don’t have one you can rent it. This computer is used for scheduling and budgeting – not
     for writing the script or editing the film. Include the software.

2070 Other Costs

2100         EXTRA TALENT

2101 Standins
     Generally, the standins should physically resemble the cast members in so far as height,
     weight and coloring. It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll find anyone willing to be a standin for
     free, but you should have someone (a Production Assistant, perhaps) perform the duties of the

2110 Extras
     Getting extras for a student film is difficult. Unlike actors (who need tape of themselves )
     there really isn’t much in it for an extra. Most of the time they’re unrecognizable in the
     background. Also, being an extra is incredibly boring. They tend to lose interest shortly after

     Speaking of lunch, make sure you budget to feed the extras and to provide them with water
     and refreshments. If you’re using a lot of extras you should set up a “holding” area and put on
     some additional PA’s to help wrangle the atmosphere.

     If you get really desperate you can always hire non-union extras. They get about $50 for an 8
     hour day.

2150 Sideline Musicians
     These are musicians who appear on camera playing their instruments (usually to playback).

2190 Interiews / Transportation
     If you “cast” your extras and bring them in to “audition” then you should at least reimburse
     them for their travel. In the industry they would get a quarter day’s check for an interview.

2196 Other
                                                                       Advanced Budgeting Guide

     Production Designer
     According to union, Guild and Academy regulations there is no job category called Produc-
     tion Designer. It is a credit given at the discretion of the Producer. Normally, the person
     receiving this credit is in charge of coordinating all of the elements affecting the look of the
     picture including, but not limited to, sets, props, costumes, locations and vehicles.

2201 Art Director
     Responsible for all art work – storyboards, set design and construction, set decoration and set

2230 Set Construction / Materials & Labor
     If you are going to build anything more than the simplest of sets you should have someone
     skilled in carpentry helping you. They’ll need flats, lumber, paint, etc. This is one phase of
     production in which people are very prone to accident and injury.

     Backing Rental / Purchase
     Backings are the scenic drops used outside of set windows.

2260 Greens
     Greens are plants (flowers, trees, bushes, etc.) that are used on any set whether onlocation or
     on stage. The individual responsible for them is called a “Greensman”.

     Striking & Trash Removal
     After filming the set will have to be taken down and all the detritus removed from the
     stage. This budget category is for the labor required to perform that task.

     You may rent flats or other set construction materials – or equipment.

2270 Purchases
     Lumber, paint, nails and all that stuff.

2290 Other

2300          SET OPERATIONS

     First Company Grip
     Also known as the Key Grip.

     Second Company Grip
     The Best Boy. Responsible for the administration of the Grip Department.

2301 Company Grips
     We used to call them “hammers”, but not to their face. Now they all use Makitas.

2316 Dolly Grip

2350 Craftservice Labor and Expense
     You will need to provide your cast and crew with refreshments during the day. Water, soft
     drinks, coffee, etc. Be realistic. This is a very cost-effective way of generating high morale
     and enthusiasm.

     First Aid and Expenses
     You will probably not be able to afford a First Aid Person on set with you so you should be
     familiar with the location of the nearest emergency room. And be sure to have a First Aid
     Kit on set. People get hurt. Especially during set construction.

2365 Police / Fire
     The Permit Office will let you know if Police or Fire personnel are required at your location.
     LAPD motor officers and Firemen get big bucks (and so do the LA County Firemen). If you
     need police for traffic control remember to include the rental of their motorcycles.

2367 Guards / Security
     It is possible you may need to hire a guard to watch equipment or sets. Some locations
     may require you to hire one of their personnel to perform this function.
                                                                  Advanced Budgeting Guide
2370 Purchases
     Diffusion, tape, C47’s, lumber and all that stuff.

2380 Grip Equipment Rentals
     C-stand, silks and the like. You are always going to need more than comes in the Advanced
     Grip Package. Rental houses will give you substantial discounts, but you should not count
     on getting this equipment for free.

2390 Dolly Rental
     Whether you’re getting the dolly from USC or renting from outside, this is the category for
     it. Include track, wheels, jib arms and so forth.

2398 Other Costs

2400         SET DRESSING

2401 Set Decorator
     This is probably going to be your art director.

2410 Swing Gang
     These are the people who actually transport and place the set dressing (all the furniture, rugs
     and stuff like that) and then take it all back when you’re done shooting. On a student film this
     will probably be the Production Designer and some PA’s.

2450 Purchases
     There are some things that are cheaper to buy than to rent – especially if there’s a good
     chance they will be destroyed in the filming.

2460 Rentals

2470 Loss and Damage
     You are going to damage the rentals. Count on it. Include money here.

2480 Other Costs
                                                                      Advanced Budgeting Guide
2500         SPECIAL EFFECTS

     Effects Coordinator
     If you are allowed to use pyrotechnics in your production you must have a Special Effects
     Coordinator with a Class A License ( a “powderman” ).

2520 Rigging and Striking
     Special effects often require some time to prepare – and to remove after the shot. This is
     especially true of pyrotechnics. It is primarily a labor charge and as such not applicable to a
     student film.

2530 Purchases
     Fog juice, propane and any other expendible materials used for mechanical effects.

2540 Rentals
     Fog machines, fans, flame bars, rain birds and so forth.

2550 Other Costs

2600         PROPERTY

2601 Propmaster
     There is a real skill and a creative talent in being a good Propmaster. They spend a lot of
     their time at the rental houses and shopping.
2610 Assistant Propmaster
     The Assistant Propmaster usually runs the set while the Propmaster is outgathering the props
     ( and returning them ).

     Weapon Master
     Sometimes referred to as an “armorer”. On shows where there are a lot offirearms an expert
     is hired to oversee, clean, maintain and handle the guns.

2620 Wranglers and Handlers
     Any animals used in the film will require a wrangler or a handler.

2630 Prop Manufacturing
     This is pretty unlikely on a student film.

2650 Prop Purchases
     It’s sometimes cheaper to simply purchase the props rather than rent them. Particularly if they
     are going to be destroyed in the filming.

2660 Prop Rentals
     It’s tedious, but you have to go through the script and make a list of the props. Just putting
     down “allow” and then pulling some number out of thin air won’t do.

     The rental charge on any individual prop is pretty low. And the rate is usually a weekly. It’s
     the total number of props that makes this category large.

2661 Weapons Rentals
     Before you can rent any guns for your film, you must meet with Michael Phipps and discuss
     the scene(s). There are forms that must be filled out and procedures that must be followed.
      The use of guns – even non-firing rubber replicas – presents a potentially dangerous filming

2670 Animals
     There are very specific rules governing the use of animals in motion pictures. See the
     Guidelines for details. Include Feeding and Stabling in this category.

2680 Picture Vehicles
     Those vehicles that will be photographed. Keep in mind, USC insurance does not
     cover vehicles of any kind. You will need to provide your owm insurance to rent a picture

2690 Loss and Damage
     Props always get lost and/or damaged – or inexplicably go missisng. They are expensive to

2695 Other Costs
                                                                       Advanced Budgeting Guide
2700         WARDROBE

     Costume Designer

     Designer Staff

2701 Set Costumer / Wardrobe Supervisor
     A person on the set has to see to it that the actor is wearing the correct costume for the scene
     being filmed and that there are no continuity mismatches. They also take care of minor
     repairs on set and see that the wardrobe is cleaned after wearing.

2730 Manufacturing

2750 Purchases
     It may be cost effective to buy some of the wardrobe. This is especially true if it needs to be
     “stressed” or if it will be destroyed in filming. See the sample detail page.

2760 Rentals
     It makes more sense to rent other costumes like military and police uniforms. Additionally,
     actors may use their own clothes in the scene. We pay them a rental fee or “wardrobe allow-
     ance” for this . See the sample detail page.

2770 Alterations
     You may need to make the clothes fit the actor.

2780 Cleaning and Laundry
     It is standard practice to allow for cleaning after each day’s filming.

2790 Loss and Damage

2795 Other Costs

2800         MAKEUP AND HAIR

     Makeup Artists
     A good journeyman makeup artist should be able to handle street makeup, glamour, cuts,
     bruises, aging and the like.

     Keep in mind, that many actors can do their own makeup – as long as it isn’t too compli-

     Body Makeup
     All makeup applied below the neck. Generally required when the actors are showing a lot
     of skin such as when wearing bathing suits. Body makeup must be applied by a makeup
     artist of the same gender as the actor.

     Sometimes the makeup artist can handle this job – as long as it isn’t too demanding. If you
     need glamour makeup on a number of women, you’d better get a hairstylist.

2820 Purchases
     Expendible supplies like powder, base and lipstick

2830 Rentals

2840 Special Appliances
     Latex molds, dentures, prosthetics and the like.

2860 Other Costs

     Hairdressing Supplies
     Hairspray, gel and such.

     Wig Purchase and Rental

     Kit Rental
     The makeup artist and hairstylist have their own kits and rent them on a daily basis. The
     going rate for students is about fifty dollars a day.
                                                                    Advanced Budgeting Guide

2900         CAMERA

     Director of Photography
     As you’ve done with all the other key personnel, list the name of the cinematographer.

2901 Camera Operator
     On a student film, this is probably going to be the Director of Photography.

2910 First Assistant Cameraperson
     Be careful in selecting this person. A lot of the loss and damage on camera equipment is the
     result of mishandling by this individual.

     Second Assistant Cameraperson

     Extra Camera Operators
     If you’re going to run more than one camera on the shot, you’ll need extra operators.

     Extra Camera Assistants
     The extra operators will need assistants.

2920 VTR Engineer

2940 Still Photographer
     You should enlist the services of someone to take stills. They will be valuable for promoting
     the film should it get entered in festivals.

2946 Still Supplies
     Film, developing, prints and so on.

2950 Purchases

2960 Rentals – Motion Picture Equipment
     Include all lenses and accessories.
     The USC Advanced Camera Package (film) includes:
             Arriflex SR II Right Hand Knob
             Arriflex SR II Eyepiece Extension Tube
             Aaton Prime Lens Set
             Aaton 25mm
             Éclair NPR Prime Lens Set
             Director’s viewfinder

2970 Rentals – Video Equipment
     Include all lenses and accessories – including batteries.
     The USC Advanced Camera Package ( documentary ) includes:
             1 Video camera ( Sony Betacam, Sony DVX 1000 or Panasonic S-VHS )
             1 Standard Tripod (O’Connor 1030)
             1 SPS AC Adaptor
             4 PP14 batteries for Panasonic S-VHS
             1 Lifesaver fast charger
             1 Panasonic BT-S900Y monitor
             8 AG-BP212 batteries for monitor
             1 slate (acrylic or chalk)
             1 Baby Legs (O’Connor 1030)
             1 Hi Hat (O’Connor 1030)
             1 spreader
             4 filters

2995 Other Costs
     It seems there are always some cables that get lost or a filter that gets scratched. I’d suggest
     putting some money here to cover “Loss and Damage”expenses. If you’re shooting in the
     desert beware of sand damage. That can get expensive.

     If you’re shooting in 35mm I’d suggest budgeting about $1,000 for loss and damage. Our
     experience has been that almost every crew using a camera from Clairmont has incurred
     substantial charges for damages and losses. Usually scratched filters (and they seem to
     average about $300 to $400 each).
                                                                         Advanced Budgeting Guide
3000         SET LIGHTING

3001 Chief Set Lighting Technician
     The artist formerly known as the “Gaffer”.

3010 Assistant Chief Set Lighting Technician
     Formerly known as the “Best Boy”.

3020 Set Lighting Technicians
     Often erroneously referred to as “electricians”.

3050 Globes
     The layperson might inadvertantly refer to these as “bulbs”. The Equipment Center
     charges $10 for “burn” time on the HMI globes.

3080 Rental Equipment
     All the lamps, stands and accessories required to illuminate the sets.

3090 Rental - Generator
     If you’re renting a “towed” generator, remember that USC’s insurance does not cover the
     unit while it is in transit (that is, while it is being towed – it’s a vehicle) . However, when the
     generator is stationary and functioning as a power plant – USC’s insurance does cover it.
     Almost all generator rental companies will provide a “drop/pickup” service – for a

     Generator gas and oil
     They don’t run on air. The more power they produce the more fuel they burn. The big
     units generally burn diesel. Do not include these expenses in your Transportation gas and oil
     Account 3280.

3095 Expendible Supplies
     Put gels, tape and other miscellaneous set lighting purchases in this category.

3098 Other Costs


3101 Mixer
     Put the name of the person, who is going to do the location recording here. Unfortunately, it
     is a sad fact of life at USC that there are few people who like and are willing to do production

3110 Boom Operator
     There is a real skill to placing the microphone. Unfortunately, once again, it’s difficult to find
     students willing to do this.

3120 Cable Person
     Having someone in this position is a rarity even in the industry. If you need cable pulled a PA
     can generally handle the job.

3130 Playback Operator
     The Mixer.

3140 Rentals
     The recorder, microphones and cables. On a 581 project, the Sound Department should be
     able to supply all the necessary equipment. However, wireless microphones are in short
     supply. If you need them check out “Location Sound Corporation” at
     www.locationsound.com. They have a price break for USC students. Figure about $70.00 a
     weekend for a wireless. They also have walkie-talkies at $15-20 each for a weekend.

     You may also want to rent a DAT recorder to get sound effects after shooting. include that
     equipment here.

3160 Purchases
     Include 1/4” mag tape in this category. Allow one 5 inch reel (at $4.00) for every 400 foot
     load of 16mm film (or one 1000 foot load of 35mm). Budget a little high. The average show
     will use 15 to 20 tapes.

     Include batteries for the Nagra.
                                                                     Advanced Budgeting Guide
3190 Transfer dailies
     Include mag stock and labor. This will vary depending on the project. Usually 8 to 12 hours
     will be enough time for the average show to transfer. Each sound roll is 15 minutes in length.
     Allow 10 minutes a roll for loading and unloading each tape roll. It comes out to about 8

     The Sound Department will transfer your sound for you. They will charge you $35.00 an hour
     for this service. It is a “real” cost – not a “funny money” charge. It can be paid out of the
     Frozen Fund.

     Each 1600 foot roll of 16mm magnetic film will hold 30 minutes of material – or 2 1/4”
     tapes. If you’ve used the average number of 1/4” rolls, you’ll need between 12,800 and
     16,000 feet of mag. The average 581 seems to be using about 7500 to 12,000 feet of mag.
     You can purchase this from the Sound Department at $0.02 per foot.

     If you’re shooting in 35mm you’ll need more stock because of the higher transport speed.
     The average 35mm project is using about 20,000 to 30,000 feet of mag film. This must be
     purchased outside. The going rate is between $.025 and $.03 per foot.

3195 Other Costs
     Sound blankets. Often overlooked, but important. About $1 a piece for a weekend. Budget for
     10 of them. They are helpful in deadening noise and also make a comfortable nest for the
     crew to sleep on.


     Transportation Coordinator
     When you are using a lot of vehicles – both production and picture – on your show, you
     should have someone whose job it is to coordinate them. However, since USC insurance
     does not cover vehicles, a situation like this will probably not occur on a student film.

3201 Transportation Captain
     Runs the transportation department on the set. Dispatches vehicles and keeps track of the
     rolling stock. Not likely that a student project will have someone doing this job.

3205 Co-Captain
     Assists the Captain – primarily with the logistics ( like a Best Boy ) and may operate one
     of the vehicles.

3210 Drivers
     They start work before the rest of the crew and finish long after everyone else has gone
     home. Special skills and licenses may be required to operate some vehicles. Make sure
     whoever is driving is insured and qualified.

3220 Rentals
     In addition to trucks to haul equipment and vans to move people, you would also put
     insert cars and vehicle mounted camera platforms (like the Chapman Titan) in this cat-

     There are many truck rental companies in town. Some, like Galpin Ford, offer special
     deals to students. (The rental manager there is a USC alum). When you rent the truck
     purchase the optional insurance.

     If you’re renting a bare truck from someone like Budget, make sure to get shelving from a
     place like Set Stuff. It’s cheap and it makes it easy for you to access the gear. And it saves
     a lot of wear and tear on the tools.

3280 Gas, Oil and Maintenance
     This is for all the production vehicles. Remember that trucks get very bad mileage.

     Do not put the gas for the generator in this account.
                                                                       Advanced Budgeting Guide
3290 Parking / Tolls
     This is not parking for the crew or the cast. It is for production vehicles – the trucks used to
     move the equipment for the film.

     You’ll need a secure location to park the equipment overnight. There are some studios in
     town that will allow you to park on their lot – for around $10.00 to $20.00 per night.
     Raleigh Studios is one. Check it out.

3296 Other Costs

3300         LOCATION

3301 Location Scouting
     Put all costs that accrue to finding locations here. That includes travel, lodging and
     meals if necessary. Gasoline and 35mm still photos go into this account.

3304 Site Rentals
     As Los Angeles property owners become increasingly film-savvy, more and more of them
     are charging students for site rental.

3310 Site Fees and Permits
     The City of Los Angeles does not charge students for film permits. Other cities in the metro-
     politan area are not as generous. Check with SPO.

3320 Lodging
     If it is necessary to house your cast and crew on a distant location enter that expense in this

3340 Meals
     The cost of feeding your cast and crew whether on local or distant location. This is
     where you put “on set” meals (do not include Craft Service snacks and beverages). The SAG
     agreement requires that the actors be given a meal every six hours. The same should apply to
     your crew.

     Napolean said an army travels on its stomach. So does a film crew. You don’t need to supply
     gourmet meals, but wholesome, nourishing food in adequate quantity goes a long way in
     creating a positive atmoshphere in which creativity can flourish.
                                                                      Advanced Budgeting Guide
3380 Other Costs

     Location Power
     You will need something to power the lamps. You may bring a generator (in which case it
     is included in Account 3000 Set Lighting ) or you may simply plug into outlets at the
     location. Someone has to pay DWP for that electricity. Most savvy location owners will
     charge you additionally for the power.

     Film Shipping
     If you’re shooting on distant location, you have to send your negative to the lab and have
     dailies sent back to location. It can add up to a significant expense.

     Baggage and Equipment Shipping
     If you are traveling to a distant location you will have a lot of equipment to move.
     This can become a major cost item.

     Mileage and Parking
     This is for the cast and crew. The standard rate for mileage is 34 cents a mile. It is
     calculated on a round trip from the “studio” to the location.

     As the Producer, you are required to provide parking for the cast and crew. There should
     be some sort of security so that at the end of the day people don’t come back to find their
     cars vandalized or stolen.

     Location Restoration
     Whatever damage you or your crew do to the filming site must be repaired. Don’t forget
     trash removal.

     It would be a mistake to leave this category blank. There is always something you’ll need
     to buy.

     Office Rentals
     An extended stay on a distant location will require an office to use as a base of operation.

     Office Equipment Rental
     The office will need desks, telephones, computers, copy machines and all that stuff. We
     almost always rent – never buy.

     Phone and Postage
     The phone bill for a location will always be higher than you expected.


      Motion Picture Raw Stock
      Indicate the emulsion number, the cost per foot, the total footage budgeted and the total
      cost. Just in case you’ve forgotten, 16mm goes thorugh the camera at 36 feet per minute
      (at 24 frames per second). 35mm goes through at 90 feet per minute.

      A 10:1 shooting ratio would be considered a minimum. If your script has stunts, effects,
      children or animals budget even more film.

3410 Video
      All the tapes required for shooting.

      Do not include tapes for dailies, telecine, etc. in this category. If you’re doing a docu-
      mentary on video, this is where you budget the stock.

3420 Develop negative
      You should budget for developing all of your exposed film.

3430 Workprint
      Plan on printing everything you shot – unless you’re shooting in 35mm – in which case
      it’s possible to print only “circled” takes.

3480 Stills - negative and print
      You will need stills for promotional purposes.

3490 Other Costs

      Video Cassettes
      For telecine. One cassette for each camera roll. If you are providing people with video-
      cassettes of the dailies make sure you enter the blank tapes here.

      Polaroid film
      Set dressers, Script Supervisor, Props, Makeup and Hair all need to Polaroid the cast and
      the set. Make sure you have enough film for them.
                                                                      Advanced Budgeting Guide

3601 Stage Rental
     If you’re using USC facilities this is all “funny money”, but do the work anyway.

     If you’re renting stage space outside – good luck. There is so much production going on in
     town that stage space is at a premium. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find anyone willing to
     give it away.

     If you do find a “reasonable” rental rete be wary of additional charges for things like power,
     security, parking, telephone etc.

3660 Other Costs

4000         POST EDITORIAL

4001 Editors
     Put the name of the person doing the work here.

4005 Assistant Editors
     Yeah, right. You should be so lucky.

4020 Sound Editor
     Or Sound Designer.

4044 Telecine
     Film to tape transfer. We have a Phillips “Shadow” digital telecine. This machine uses an “air
     handling” system to transport the film therefore allowing the transfer from negative.

4045 Edge coding
     You must have inked edge numbers printed on the picture track (only). This is for use in the
     telecine process. The numbers have to be printed every 40 frames for telecine. The only place
     you can have this done for 16mm is ITC. The rate is $.017 per foot.

4050 Projection room
     You’ll need a facility to look at dailies and to project cuts for your instructor. You book the
     room through Operations. If you need 35mm projection there are 4 rooms capable of screen-
     ing that format :the Ron Howard Screening Room at The Zemeckis Center, Norris, 108 and
                                                                     Advanced Budgeting Guide
4056 Projectionists
     You will need a projectionist if you are screening 35mm. The charget is $35 an hour. You
     can write a check to the School or have the money transferred from your frozen account.
     Contact Dana Knowles at 740-1946 to make arrangements for a projectionist.

4060 Editing equipment rentals
     If you’re using Avid or D-Vision, use the 4090 budget category below. Use this line for
     flatbeds, rewinds, synchronizer, splicers and all the other film cutting equipment you

4070 Leader
     Even if you’re cutting digitally you’ll need some leader since you are required to
     workprint. You’ll also need Academy leader.

4072 Sound spacer
     You won’t need spacer unless you’re cutting your tracks on mag.

4073 Expendible supplies
     Grease pencils, splicing tape, etc.

4080 Cutting room rental
     If you’re cutting on film put the cost of the flatbed and room here.

4082 Video On-Line
     If you are doing a film project there is no reason to do an on-line.

4087 Video Cassette copies
     You’ll be making some “digital outputs” of the Avid cut to screen for various individu-
     als. These will be on VHS tape.

4089 Shipping / Messenger

4090 Other Costs

     Digital Off-Line Editing (AVID)
     Be realistic in your assessment of how long you are going to be editng the film. Use your
     Post Production Schedule as a guide for the amount of time you’ll need.

     Hard Drive
     You can purchase or rent. The longer your project is in post the more expensive rental
     becomes. Buying your own hard drive might be the most cost effective way. You
     shouldn’t get anything smaller than a 9 Gig. They’re selling new for between $500 and

4100         POST SOUND

4106 Sound transfer
     Most projects only need their dailies sound transferred and that’s covered under “production
     sound”. However, just to be safe, you might want to budget for a couple of hours of transfer
     (for checking sync with the conformed workprint). If you have the people in the Sound
     Department do this the charge is $17.50 per half hour and the minimum is a half hour. Do it
     yourself and save a bundle.

4111 Sound Media
     16mm mag is $.02 per foot; 35 is $.025 to $.03 per foot. You can sometimes get “used” mag
     from the Sound Department at no cost. Ask them about it. You’ll need a 1200 foot roll of mag
     (16mm) to check sync after you’ve conformed your workprint.

     You’ll need about 5 DA88 cartridges to move sound from ProTools and for Foley and

     You will also need 4 DAT tapes to backup your ProTools hard drive and to record music and
     sound effects on.

4126 Mix
     A 581 is allowed 8 hours to mix a 12 minute film. A 586 is allowed 16 hours to mix a 20
     minute film.

     Many projects, especially the 35mm films, mix outside. Anumber of post houses “donate” a
     mix. However, the student is still required to pay the “backroom” costs for the support
     people. This can run as much as $500 to $700 a day. Do not plan on getting it for free.

     Usually these donated mixes can be done from DA-88 or ProTools, but some mixers will only
     work from 35mm 6-track. This will require addtional money for mag stock and transfer time,
     which may make that “free” mix unaffordable.
                                                               Advanced Budgeting Guide
     Keep in mind that you can mix your 35mm in Dub C if you transfer it to tape. The room is
     capable of a stereo mix, as well.

4129 Music Scoring
     This is for the Spielberg Stage. One 12 hour day should be adequate for most advanced
     projects. Figure on 8 hours to set up and record and another 4 hours to mix down.

     You will also need an Engineer to run the facility. If you can’t get a qualified student to do it
     for you, you’ll need to bring in an outside Engineer and they charge between $15 and $30
     an hour.

4145 ADR
     Advanced projects are allowed to reserve 8 hours

4155 Foley
     Advanced projects are allowed to reserve 8 hours. You should budget for all of it.

4176 Music Library
     There are some very good music libraries in the Sound Department. You should sample
     them. They can provide a very cost effective source of music for your film. Budget for 6

4178 Effects Library
     Like the Music Library, budget for 6 hours.

4180 Optical Sound Track transfer fee
     This is the charge to transfer from magnetic media to optical. You need to include the cost
     of the optical film stock, the transfer charge, and the developing cost.

4190 Digital Audio Editing (ProTools)
     A typical 581 should allow at least 100 hours for ProTools editing. It’s possible that this
     could go to 200 hours.

     You will need a hard drive for ProTools. A 4 Gig drive is probably adequate for most
     projects. You can use the same one you used for Avid. A new 9 Gig is currently selling for
     about $750. At that price it makes no sense to rent. A used 9 Gig is currently selling for
     about $550 to $650 and a used 4 Gig goes for about $250 to $300.

4196 Other Costs
     Allow for expendibles like Sharpies, paper tape, photocopies (of cue sheets) and food for
     the mix (lunches and snacks).

4200         POST MUSIC

4201 Composer
     There are many talented individuals in Los Angeles, who are eager to compose music for
     student films. Our neighbor here on campus, the School of Music, has many students, who
     will compose for student films. This is a very cost-effective resource that you should not

     This work is generally done for free. Usual practice is to give the composer a small gratuity
     of about $100.

4266 Rights and Clearances
     Music used in USC student films must be cleared.

     Some students have obtained these rights for free, however, they can also be very expen-
     sive for published and pre-recorded music. Some students have paid thousands of dollars
     for just a few songs. Seriously explore the use of original or library music for your film.

4270 Musicians
     Generally, musicians do not work for free. Even students should expect to pay $50 to $100
     per musician per session. Expect to pay more for exotic instruments (like a harp or ma-
     rimba). If you’re using an electric guitar or piano your composer might have a buddy
     who’ll do it for free, but don’t count on it.

4280 Instrument rental
     Highly unlikely that as a student you will have to rent a musician’s instrument for them.
     Invariably, they will bring their own.

4285 Cartage
     Transporting heavy instruments to and from the scoring stage.

4293 Copying / Xerox
     If you need to make copies of the score for the musicians.
                                                                     Advanced Budgeting Guide
     Video dupes
     You should make a video copy of your film so the Composer can look at it and begin
     working on the music. Figure on a couple of VHS tapes at $3 each

4298 Other Costs
     A meal is usually expected if the session goes over a couple of hours.

     If you’re recording a lot of musicians, it may be necessary to fire up the 24-track. Tapes for
     this machine are expensive. Figure $150 for new and $75 for used. The Engineer may be
     willing to rent you a tape for $20, but you won’t get to keep it.

     For recording small amounts a DA-88 and a DAT to lay it back to are adequate and they
     have already been budgeted for.


First, a quick overview of visual effects (VFX) in student films. Visual effects work is
inherently complicated and expensive, in both money and time. Serious consideration
should be given to finding an alternative to a visual effects shot in a short film. Per
haps it can be done in camera or through a trick of editing. Be aware that you are
most likely adding months of additional headaches by using VFX.

Should you choose to do your visual effects shot, you will almost certainly not be able to
afford to do the work outside the school (unless a VFX company is willing to do the shot(s)
for free). Visual effects shots can range in cost from several thousands of dollars to hun
dreds of thousands of dollars. USC CNTV now has many of the systems and software
packages used to do feature-quality visual effects, including Maya, Softimage, After
Effects and the Quantel EditBox.

IMPORTANT!: Finally, keep in mind that choosing to do visual effects work on your
film will alter how you are budgeting your project and not just in adding a visual
effects budget.. For example, the decision to do visual effects requires that you choose
between 35 mm film or video - i.e. you cannot shoot 16 mm film and hope to do visual
effects on it.
                                                               Advanced Budgeting Guide
ALSO IMPORTANT!: Do not assume you can “wing it”! Spend the time planning
and pre-visualizing your shots with someone who knows what they are doing in
visual effects - ideally, the person doing the shots for you.

Visual Effects Supervisor
The visual effects supervisor works with your throughout the duration of the project,
ensuring that VFX shots are properly planned, appropriately executed on set and then
assembled in post.

In the case of a USC film, your VFX supervisor may well be your VFX artist unless you
know or can lure in a professional VFX supervisor. Just like with stunt people who want
to move up to coordinating, you may be able to find an experienced VFX artist who
wants to move into supervising. However, be careful that they fully understand the
aspects of visualeffects that you will require - for example, not all 3D artists are familiar
with compositing, and, although they see them all the time, not all compositors know how
to shoot a blue screen.

Optical Effects Contract
The deal between a film production and the visual or optical effects house doing the
work. You don’t need to worry about this. Usually, this is the every changing document
that details what the effects were supposed to cost and what they are actually going to
cost. Never the same thing!

Computer Rental
This can refer to what the VFX house will charge per hour or per week for the rental of
their machines or, if you are doing the work in house, the cost to rent the machines
yourself. This can run from several hundred dollars per week to thousands of dollars per

You will not have to worry about this unless you go outside the school and are using a
relatively inexpensive facility. You cannot afford the charges for the high-end houses,
such as Digital Domain or Rhythm & Hues (two big time VFX companies).

Software Purchase
Ditto “Computer Rental”. You probably don’t need to worry about it. USC has most of
the major, VFX software packages that you can use for free, ranging from After Effects
(about $500+) to Maya (about $16,000+).

Keep in mind that some of these software packages, such as After Effects, are relatively
inexpensive. If you have an adequate personal computer and sufficient experience,
perhaps you can consider doing the effects yourself. (Not for the faint of will.)

A crucial step - worth investing some time and money to plan the shot. With the aide of
you visual effects supervisor, you should break down each and every VFX shot into all of
it’s “elements” - the individual shots. Simple 3D software packages (Infini-D, Strata,
Virtus Walkthrough - $150-300) can be very useful in planning. Also, storyboarding
software has become quite good and allows you to break down the scene into elements.

Visual Effects Editor
You wish. Most likely your editor wearing a different hat. However, it raises an issue to
consider: how will you edit with shots that don’t exist yet? Here, your pre-visualization will
come in very handy.

Motion Control Crew
Very expensive again. Typically a crew of 2-4, each getting paid $200-300.day. If you
are using motion control, you’ll probably be getting it donated. However, do not expect
to operate the average motion control system yourself. They are quite complicated -
especially if you need to repeat the same camera move accurately.

Motion Control Equipment
It is unlikely that you will be operating the equipment yourself. Moreover, because of the
cost and size of the machines, you will probably need to do the motion control work in the
studio housing the rig. Expect to pay normal studio rates ($400-800/day) for the studio. You
may get it donated along with the rig.

Visual EFX / CGI
“CGI” refers to “computer generated imagery” - any part of the image created solely in the
computer (space ships, cities, Jar Jar Binks ... you get the idea). This work is very slow and
difficult. CGI FX artists get paid $800-$1500/wk in the industry. Expect to have to pay your
3D artists at least a token amount, a few hundred dollars per week.

Matte Painting
That amazing, wide shot of the bus coming down the country road in “North by Northwest”?
The massive warehouse at the end of “Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark”? The Death Star in
“Star Wars”? All matte paintings. Huge landscapes that either cannot exist or are to expen
sive to create are often painted on massive panes of glass with small areas left transparent to
add live-action footage to.

These days, almost all matte painting is done digitally on programs ranging from Adobe
Photoshop to After Effects to Matador (a very high-end program). Digital matte paintings are
good ways to add to shots, widening the scope or extending the scene. But good matte
painters (actual or digital) are hard to find. Expect to pay for talent or at least for necessary

Digital EFX Composites
Compositing is the layering of images to create scenes that could not otherwise exist. This
can include blue or green screen shots, matte paintings, miniatures and much more. Typi
cally, compositing is the last stage in visual effects work before the shot is put out to film.

Compositing is often the most expensive part of VFX work. Compositors working in the
industry typically get paid between $1000-3000/week. Compositing systems are also very
expensive - up to $1000’s per day, such as the Quantel Domino or the Inferno system.
                                                                 Advanced Budgeting Guide
Wire / Rod removal
Often, if you need someone or something to fly, float or fall, it needs to be done on wires or
rods. This can often be done in a way that hides the wires and/or rods - obviously, an ideal
way to avoid doing any post FX work. However, should you need to remove wires, most
compositing systems are equipped to deal with wire/rod removal.

Wire/rod removal is a slow, tedious task that can take some time, depending on the length and
complication of the shot(s) involved. However, given a little bit of practice, nearly anyone
can do this. Learn how to do it if you need it and save yourself the money and/or trouble of
finding someone to do it for you. Don’t forget that you will still need to deal with scanning
and recording out (see below).

Visual EFX miniatures
Just what they sound like - miniatures of props, sets, etc. These are often shot separate from
principle photography and sometimes composited with original camera material. Miniatures
can get very expensive very quickly and often don’t look believable without immense
detail (read “money”) put into them.

However, this is not to say it cannot be done. There have been a few student films that have
used miniatures, some quite well. But expect to pay your model builder at least a few hun
dred dollars as well as pay for all the supplies needed (cost will vary based upon what is
being built).

Blue / Green Screen stage
You have all seen them - this is how the weather people on TV seem to stand in front of the
maps they are pointing at. (You didn’t think those maps were actually there, did you?) You
do not need a special stage just for doing blue or green screen work. In fact, you don’t
necessarily need a stage at all. Blue and green screen work is often done outside, which saves
a lot on lighting.

The screens themselves can be either painted flats or actual cloth material (most VFX people
prefer the cloth - it tends to light more evenly). Screens can be rented from most grip rental
 houses in the standard frame sizes - a 20' x20' screen should be about $50/day, not including
the frame. As a rule of thumb, always go one size larger than you expect to need - you can’t
believe how often this is a huge problem. And stick to “front lit” screens - you can’t
afford the “back lit” screens

Also, if you are working on a stage, do not underestimate how many lighting instruments it
will take to light a blue or green screen evenly. These days, this is most often done with
Kino-flo fixtures - a lot of them. Up to a 20’x20' screen, expect to have one 4' 4-bank fixture
(with appropriate tubes) for every 5' of the edge of the screen. Therefore, a 20’x20' screen
would need about 16 fixtures. Screen larger than that require more complicated setups.

Digital Video Assist with hardware/software
Just like traditional video assist, except here, it’s important to be able to record your video.
You will most likely use that as a playback system for timing, making sure that elements of a
shot filmed at different times will still work together. Don’t leave home without it!

If you really want to be sophisticated, you might also have a video switcher on set to allow
you to preview the shots. You don’t need anything more than a production switcher - about
$100/day from most of the video rental houses.

Video Temps Composites
This can refer to two different composites. One might be the compositing done on set to
preview the shot (see “digital video assist” above) or it can refer to the basic composite that
your editor might use to add the VFX to the cut before the shots are complete.

Most non-linear editing systems, including Avid, have basic layering and compositing
functions built into them. This provides you with a quick, albeit crude, way of adding some
temp composites to your cut. However, if your film involves matte paintings or CGI FX and
you would like to work temps into the cut, you will have to talk to you VFX artists about
putting together rough versions of the shots for you. In some case, if you have done a thor
ough enough job in pre-visualization, you might even be able to insert material from pre-vis.

Film Scanning
Film scanning: digitizing your film into your computer. Typically ranges from $1.50 to
$6.00 per frame in the outside world. If you are shooting video, this is irrelevant.

Film Record Out
Film record out is just the reverse, going back out to film from the computer. Same range:
$1.50-6.00 outside USC. Again, irrelevant if you are shooting video.

Loss and Damage
Same old thing. You break it, you bought it.

Other Costs
Some other costs to consider when planning visual effects:
• blue/green screen lighting and screens
• camera accessories (do you need special lenses? do you need a high speed camera?)
• survey materials (inclinometers? measuring devices? systems that allow you to get exact
data for putting the elements together - your VFX supervisor will help you here)
• negative cutting (unless you shoot your visual effects on different rolls, you’ll need to
separate your FX shots from your non-FX shots - you don’t want to run your non-FX nega
tive through a scanner where it could get scratched)
• additional lab costs (you’re effectively processing and printing your effects shots several
• additional computer storage (you’ll need several additional gigs of storage; keep in mind
that a standard resolution 35mm film frame is about 10 MB - so 4 sec = 1 gigabyte)
• backup tapes (computers go down - don’t lose your work when they do; they usually run
between $10 and $70/ tape)
                                                                     Advanced Budgeting Guide

4300         POST LAB EXPENSE

4301 Stock Shots
     Budget not only for the stock shot, but also for someone to find it (the librarian), the raw
     stock to make a copy, the lab costs to develop and print the copy.

4315 Video Master
     This is the video tape that will be used to make the VHS copies that you send out. It is a
     telecine from your “lo-con” to Beta SP tape.

     The going rate is about $200 an hour and you should allow for about 1.5 hours to cover set up
     and transfer time. Don’t forget to budget the Beta tape.

4320 Reprints
     If you are cutting film, the workprint may become damaged or unusable. In that case “re-
     prints” are made of the unusable material. It is just more “workprint” from pulled negative.

4326 Interpositive
     This is for use when you superimpose title over color film.

4327 Low Contrast Print
     You need to make a Low Con print of your film to strike a Video Master. You could make a
     Video Master from an Answer Print, but it usually is too constrasty.

4328 Hi Contrast Print
     This is for superimposing titles over black and white film.

4330 Optical Sound Track
     We’ve already budgeted for this in the Post Production Sound account - 4180.

4333 Optical Printing
     Any dissolves, fades, wipes, etc. They’re not cheap. Check with the film lab for prices.

4350 Negative Cutting
     It takes an experienced negative cutter about 20 to 25 hours to cut a 480 or a 546. The going
     rate is $32.00 an hour. That’s about $600 to $800 to conform the negative. Films in 35mm
     will cost more. Check with cutters and get a rate.

4359 Negative Cutting Suppplies

4361 Answer Print
     The composite print with the sound track married to the picture.

4363 Release Print
     Release prints refer to those prints struck from an Internegative (which is struck from an
     Interpositive) . Generally this is done only when you are making hundreds of prints – or
     more. It is not necessary for a student film.

4370 Reels, Cans, Cases
     You’ll want to put that Answer Print in something. Allow about $20 for this.

     Blank tapes to make copies of the film for distribution to cast, crew, etc.

4395 Other Costs
     Don’t forget to add Sales Tax to purchases of stock, tape and for processing and printing. It
     can add up at the going rate of 8.25%.
                                                                      Advanced Budgeting Guide

4400         POST TITLES

4401 Main & End Titles
     You can generate your titles traditionally (photographically) or on a computer. If you are
     going to need someone to do the artwork you should allow a minimum of $100 for them.

     If you are not familiar with all of the options available in making titles see the Animation
     Production Supervisor (Mar Elepano - 740-3985) for a quick tutorial.

     For most titles (that is white text over black using line negatives) you typeset the copy on a
     computer using any word processing program.

     Line Negatives
     The copy you created on a word processor is photographically transferred to film negative

4493 Other Title Costs

5100         INSURANCE

5101 USC Worker’s Compensation
     There is no additional fee for this coverage. All non-enrolled personnel working on your
     film are considered to be “volunteers” and, as such, are covered by the University’s
     Worker’s Compensation Policy.

5110 USC Liability & Property
     The standard premium for advanced projects is $500 (which is attached to the fee bill(s) of
     the registering students). This affords $150,000 of property insurance and $1,000,000 of
     liability coverage.

     If you are using more expensive equipment we can raise the property insurance to as much as
     $500,000 (for a $1,000 premium). This is a rare circumstance.

     Errors and Omissions
     USC has a blanket policy that covers all student films (as long as the prerequisite clearances
     and permissions have been obtained). This coverage protects the fimmaker ( and the Univer-
     sity) from libel and slander suits.

5175 Title Clearance
     Not required on a student film.

5195 Other Costs
     The student filmmaker may be required to purchase additional insurance coverage for those
     things not covered by USC’s policy such as vehicles. This can be quite expensive. If you do
     need this coverage you should check Harbor Insurance as well as Vansa and Truman Van
     Dyke. A 3-day policy has been going for between $500 and $1,000.
                                                                       Advanced Budgeting Guide

5200         GENERAL EXPENSE

5201 Telephone / Fax
     This is definitely an expense item. Make sure you include money here. Put your pagers and
     cell phones in this category.

5205 Xerox / Mimeo
     This is forr general office copying expense (not duplicating the script).

5220 Postage and Shipping

5225 Office Rental
     This is a production office not on location. You will probably be using SPO as your

5230 Office Equipment
     Furniture and equipment for item number 5225.

5235 Office Supplies
     Pens, paper, toner and all that other stuff.

5260 Messengers
     It’s not likely that a student production would need a messenger service, but if they did this is
     where the cost would go.

5290 Other Costs

     Computers and Software
     You might want to include this in account number 5230, but it actually deserves its own line
     This is computerware for administrative purposes only. Not editorial, budgeting, effects or
     sound. This account is for word processing and general office use.

     Business Cards
     These can be very helpful when dealing with the general public. Get the USC logo on them
     along with the show title, your name and phone number.

Well, that’s it. You’ve made a budget.

Now you have a realistic idea of how much money it will take to
make the movie.

Of course, you’ll always have to deal with people like this:


This is a University, after all, and there are a few
more things you need to know.
                                                                         Advanced Budgeting Guide

We have to separate our expenses into these different categories because, unlike most produc-
tion in the industry, in which only one “kind” of money is used, at USC, because of the
University’s accounting system, a distinction is made between the various sources of funding
for student films.

For example, no cash actually exchanges hands for things like the use of the School’s cam-
eras, lights, sound stages or editing facilities. However, for other items, like raw stock,
processing and expendables real money has to be paid to the labs and vendors.

To complicate matters even more, on some productions like 480 and 546, the School provides
some of the cash for film and processing. On other student projects funding from outside
entities such as corporations, families and friends are permitted.

All of this makes for some pretty complicated bookeeping in the Business Office. They need
the information on the topsheet to do their job – and filling it out isn’t as difficult as it may

On the following pages we will attempt to describe the different types of money in more



480 & 546
This means crew and director slush. All things that someone wants to call a "donation" must be
cleared through your producing instructor.

Its all your money! We want you to budget it and keep track of it so that you don’t incure enormous
indebtedness - and because our SAG agreement limits our productions to $35,000.00 in cash


This is money to pay for stuff that is done through the school or through one of the companies with
which the school has set up Purchase Orders. These are things that cost the School "real" money.For
example, film, processing, gels, some outside equipment rentals.

Its 'Frozen' cause the school wants to make sure it gets paid for anything that costs cold hard cash!


        $7,200 (Narrative) or $4,200 (Documentary)

581 & 587
Before you get “greenlit” you must demonstrate that you have cash on hand to cover:

        raw stock                processing
        printing                 mag stock
        telecine                 edge coding
        hard drive               negative cutting
        answer print

If you get “matching gifts” from corporations or if money is donated to the University in your
name, it goes into a University account.

In addition to using Purchase Orders, 581 and 587 can be “reimbursed” from the Frozen Fund by
submitting proper receipts.
                                                                     Advanced Budgeting Guide
The allocation of Frozen Costs for a 546 Narrative are as follows:

                PRODUCTION FILM (cannot be augmented)
                raw stock            4400' x 0.3229 =                    1396.67
                develop neg          4400 x 0.117 =                      514.80
                1-lite workprint     4400 x 0.208 =                      915.20
                waste and leaders    4400 x 1.03% x .208 =               45.32
                S-VHS Videotape for auditions 8 x 7.66                   61.28
                telecine dailies     6hrs x 40                           240.00
                VHS tape             12 x 2.25                           27.00
                artwork                                                  100.00
                Hi-con raw stock        100 x .113                       11.30
                Process Hi-con          100 x .19                        19.00
                Burn-in titles                                           270.00

                Answer print          456 x 0.949 =                      432.74
                Negative cutting      allow 20hrs @ 30.00 =              600.00
                Lo-Con print          456 x 0.334 =                      152.30
                Telecine              1.5 hrs incl stock =               300.00
                3/4” Beta tape                                           17.00
                coding                2 Acmade tapes                     9.00
                Dirty dupe            456 x .191                         87.10
                leaders          (CNTV, white, black, fill)              70.50
                reels and cans                                           18.92

                PRODUCTION SOUND
                magnetic film    4800' x 0.02 =                          96.00
                1/4" tape        13 roll x 4.00 =                        52.00

                magnetic film 4800' x 0.02 =                             96.00
                fill leader                                              9.50
                DAT/DA-88/VHS tapes                                      89.57
                Optical trk (xfer, stock, process) 456 x .40 =           182.40
                Sync opt trk to A/B                                      31.83
                expendibles (Sharpies, tape,etc.)                        63.15

                sales tax                                                315.08
                Reimburseables                                           1000.00
                Total                                                    7265.48

As we’ve already mentioned, no actual cash changes hands for the use of the School’s equipment
and facilities. These charges aare referred to by a lot of different names: internal costs, soft
money, or, one of our favorites, Cinebucks. Even though these costs aren’t real, there are two very
good reasons to track “funny money”.

First, this is a school and our primary goal is to teach you the art and technique of making mov-
ies. Learning how to budget completely and accurately is an important facet of filmmaking and a
legitimate academic goal.

Secondly, should any USC student film ever actually make money, our SAG agreement allows
the School to recoup its expenses before having to pay the actors. Consequently, we want to have
an accurate assessment of the costs of making the film.

(Another part of our agreement with SAG requires the student to provide the actor with a tape of
the film so make sure you budget for that.)
                                                                       Advanced Budgeting Guide


There is a PRODUCTION REIMBURSEMENT PROCEDURES" handout that is available in the
SPO. It is written by the business office and details quite thoroughly the procedure for getting
your reimbursements. different classes have limits on the amount of money that may be reim-
bursed to each film. They are :


        You get per project either
        $1,000 (Narrative)
        $850 (Documentary)

        581 and 587
        See the explanation under “Frozen Funds”.

            Filmmaking is painting with money.

Slush funds are cash funds typically used for things like meals on set, rental of special equipment
and Art Department expenses.

Slush fund policies are determined by agreement within the crew. The Faculty sets the limits.
Standard procedure has been that every member of the crew puts in an equal amount.

The amount per crew member generally ranges from $100 to $300 depending on the requirements
of the project. (A crew of ten people, each paying $300 would come to $3000). If all the money is
not spent on the production, the crew is reimbursed.

When determining slush amounts, it is generally assumed that the Narrative slushes will be higher
than the Documentary because they must have actors and additional set staff and crew. However,
often documentaries have travel and room expenses that narratives do not. Slush amounts are
entirely dependent on the project and should be suggested by the Producer and Director, but must
always be agreed to by the entire crew.

What’s a “contingency”?

It is money set aside for the unforseen, the unexpected and the unplanned. It’s a little something
for that “rainy” day.

Because no onecan anticipate everything that will happen; because there arealways accidents and
because there are always expenses you never thought of, you should always add a contingency.

The 480 projects must have a 10% contingency; 546 level production requires a 15% contingency.

581 and 587 projects might get by with a 10% contingency, but any less than that is asking for
trouble. Don’t kid yourself, nothing ever goes the way you planned.

Keep in mind that only about two thirds of the 581/587 projects that begin DO NOT FINISH. We
sent out a questionnaire to find out why. The number one answer was: “ran out of money”.

Thorough, accurate and responsible budgeting with healthy and realistic contingencies will help
prevent you from falling prey to the same misfortune.
                                   Advanced Budgeting Guide

                     PRICE LISTS

Production Equipment Center                   53

Sound Department                              56

Post Production                               58

Operations                                    59

Zemeckis Center                               60

Film and Lab                                  62

                                    Joel Inden, Manager
                               The weekly rate is the day rate x 1.

ITEM                             DAILY         WEEKLY         MONTHLY                   SEMESTER
Cameras are rented as packages with lenses, magazines, matte box. Batteries are not included.

Arriflex SR II                   $250.00
Arriflex S                       $50.00
Aaton                             $235.00
Eclair NPR                       $195.00
Canon Scoopic                    $40.00
Bell & Howell                    $40.00
Bolex                             $40.00
Krasnagorsk - 3                  $20.00

138                              $7.00
2x2                              $4.00
4x4                              $7.00
4x5.65                           $7.00
4 1/2" round                     $5.00
Series 9                         $4.00

On-board battery                 $10.00
belt battery                     $10.00
8v/12v AC adapter                $10.00

Ultra-T Set (NPR) 3 lenses       $135.00
Ultra-T Set (Aaton) 3 lens       $135.00

Barney for NPR/SR/Aaton          $10.00
Director’s Viewfinder
Changing bag
Arri S shoulder brace            $5.00

                                                         Advanced Budgeting Guide

Advanced Lighting Package     $150.00
546 Doc Light Kit             $40.00
546 Doc Light Accessory Kit   $2.50
Lowell DP Light Kit           $45.00
Nook (1000W)                  $8.00
Nook (650W)                   $7.00
Mini Mole (200W)              $8.00
Mini Mole barn doors          $3.00
Mole Pac stand                $5.00     (2 in package)
Tweenie Light Kit             $53.75
Tweenie Stand Kit             $40.00
Mickey Light Kit              $31.25
Mickey Stand Kit              $40.00
Mickey Accessory Kit          $37.00
Par 64                        $5.00
Baby 1K                       $28.25
Mighty Light Kit              $20.75
Mighty Stand Kit              $11.25
Mighty Accessory Kit          $57.50
Dedo Light Kit                $75.00
Molescent                     $28.00
Junior stand                  $5.00
Pro Light                     $27.00
Pro Light battery             $5.00
1200W HMI                     $160.00
575W HMI                      $70.00
Fay Light Kit                 $104.50
Bates to Edison adapter       $5.00
20 amp dimmer                 $15.00

extension cable 25'           $2.00
extension cable 50'           $3.00

Light Mounts
chain vice clamp              $1.00
furniture bar clamp           $1.00
gator grip                    $1.00
Mafer clamp                   $1.00
flex arm                      $1.00
baseplate                     $1.00
Scissor clip                  $1.00
c-clamp 6"                    $1.00
c-clamp 8"                    $1.00
c-clamp 10"                   $1.00

Grip Stands
Century stand                 $2.00

fire extinguisher             $1.00

Grip Accessories
furniture pad              $1.00
hemp rope                  $1.00
sash cord                  $1.00
milk crate                 $1.00

Shot / Sand bags
5 lb shot bag              $1.00
15 lb sand bag             $1.00
35 lb sand bag             $1.00

Apple Boxes
Apple Boxes - full         $1.00
Apple Boxes - half         $1.00
Apple Boxes - quarter      $1.00
Apple Boxes - eighth       $1.00

Frame Kits
4x4 frame                  $1.00

6x6 Set                    $2.00
6x6 silk                   $1.00
6x6 single net             $1.00
6x6 double net             $1.00
6x6 Griflector             $1.00
6x6 Solid                  $1.00

12x12 set                  $4.00
12x12 silk                 $2.00
12x12 single net           $3.00
12x12 double net           $5.00

12x12 solid                $2.00
12x12 Griflector           $5.00

Track Dolly
Track Dolly with wheels    $21.00
Wheels and wedges          $14.00

Western Dolly
Western Dolly with wheel   $20.00

Dolly with Turret          $50.00
Turret dolly body          $20.00
Riser - 9"                 $5.00
Riser - 12"                $5.00
100mm ball adapter         $3.00

Fisher dolly
Fisher 9 dolly             $750.00
100mm ball adapter         $3.00

Dolly Track
8' straight section        $5.00
curved secton              $5.00     this price list was revised on 10/1/99
                                                            Advanced Budgeting Guide

              SOUND DEPARTMENT
                                    PRICE LIST
                                Richard Hyland, Manager
                                       740 - 7700

ITEM                                 DAILY         WEEKLY   MONTHLY     SEMESTER
Nagra IV or 4.2                      $35.00
Nagra Stereo with timecode           $55.00
Sync Sony Walkman Kit                $25.00
Portable DAT (no timecode)           $40.00

Film Kit (slate mic, clip, EV30      $30.00
Mono Video Kit (slate mic, c         $35.00
Stereo Video Kit (Beyer Mic,         $35.00

Sennheiser 415/416                   $10.00
Sennheiser Kit (includes mic         $20.00
AT 4073 Kit ( includes mic, z        $20.00

EV RE16                              $10.00
EV667a                               $10.00
Wireless microphone                  $35.00
ECM lavalier                         $5.00
Sony FV3T                            $4.00
EV 635a                              $8.00
Shure 14L                            $6.00
Shure SM62                           $6.00
Shure SM63                           $6.00
Shure 849                            $8.00

Timecode Slate
Bloop Slate
Nagra ATN (AC Power Supply)
Boom pole

magnetic film per foot              $0.02
DAT tape (90m)                      $8.00
DAT tape (120m)                     $18.00
DAT tape (125m)                     $28.00
DA 88 (formatted, 30 minute)        $10.00
1/4" tape - 5 inch roll             $5.00
1/4" tape - 7 inch roll             $7.00
Chrome cassette 60                  $2.00
Metal cassette 60                   $4.00

Transfer Labor                       $35.00
Transfer room                        $25.00
Dub A (mix)                         $150.00
Dub B (mix)                          $75.00
Dub C (mix)                          $85.00
Spielberg Control Room              $100.00
Spielberg Control Rm + Studio       $200.00
Spielberg Control Rm w/ Sync         $50.00
Studio B music facility              $75.00
ADR Studio C                         $65.00
Foley Studio D                       $65.00
Sound Library A                      $25.00
Sound Library B                      $25.00
290 Rooms ( A B C )                  $30.00
Digital sound editing workstation   $55.00
Digital sound editing studio         $75.00

                                              revised January 1999
                                                          Advanced Budgeting Guide

                   POST PRODUCTION
                      PRICE LIST
        Meri Weingarten, Post Production Supervisor

ITEM                  HOURLY    DAILY          WEEKLY            SEMESTER

35 Editing room       $10.00    $50.00         $150.00           $900.00
16 flatbed            $8.00     $40.00         $120.00           $720.00
Splicers **           $5.00     $25.00         $75.00            $450.00
Moviola               $3.00     $15.00         $45.00            $270.00
Moviscop viewer       $3.00     $15.00         $45.00            $270.00
Synchronizer          $3.00     $15.00         $45.00            $270.00
Squawk Box            $3.00     $15.00         $45.00            $270.00
Coding machine        $5.00
16mm screening room   $10.00

**Rivas tape splicers require one each for sound and picture - budget for two

ITEM                  HOURLY    DAILY          WEEKLY

S-VHS tape edit       $5.00     $25.00         $75.00            $450.00
Transfer Station      $5.00

AVID Off-Line         $60.00    $300.00        $900.00           $5400.00
AVID On-Line          $100.00   $500.00        $1500.00          $9000.00
Adobe Premiere        $40.00    $200.00        $600.00           $3600.00
Final Cut Pro         $40.00    $200.00        $600.00           $3600.00

Revised September 2001

            Steve Hedstrom, Manager
STAGE          UNIT     PREP      SHOOT     WRAP

CARSON        per day   $175.00   $500.00   $175.00
LLOYD         per day   $175.00   $500.00   $175.00

                                                 rev 9/01
                                                           Advanced Budgeting Guide

                            PRICE LIST
                       Doug Wellman, Manager

ITEM                         MINUTE        HOUR             DAILY

Video transfer               $1.00        $50.00
Window Dub                   $1.00        $50.00
Video Dub through switcher   $2.00        $100.00
Timecode Striping            $0.50        $25.00
Blacking                     $0.50        $25.00
DA88 Audio Layback           $2.00        $100.00

Production Rental (without equipment)                       $500.00
Set up                                                      $250.00
Class Rental (without equipment)          $75.00
Class Rantal (with equipment)             $150.00

Betacam BVW D600 (camera, tripod, monitor, power supply)    $250.00
Betacam DXC 637 (camera, tripod, monitor, power supply)     $250.00
DSR 500 DVCam                                               $250.00
S-VHS F700 (camera, tripod, monitor, power suppl            $200.00

HI 8 Handycam                                               $75.00
Digital Video (1000, 900 Mini DV, PD100, PD 150))           $100.00

290/507 Lighting Kit                                        $35.00
Polito Board                                                $6.00
Polito Bracket                                              $3.00
Wheelchair                                                  $5.00

ITEM                               MINUTE   HOUR      DAILY
Sound package (mixer, boom, mic)                      $35.00

CAV on-line                                 $100.00
        with character generator            $125.00
Digital on-line                             $150.00
        with character generator            $175.00
AVID Off-Line                               $85.00
AVID On-Line                                $100.00
ProTools                                    $85.00
EDITBox                                     $200.00

Macintosh 9500/G4 Graphics Room             $75.00
Comet C/G Titling                           $75.00

This price list was revised 9/01
                                                            Advanced Budgeting Guide

                              PRICE LIST
                         FILM AND LABORATORY

ITEM                                  UNIT             COST per U   COST per FOOT
35mm color negative
35mm B&W negative

16mm B&W negative                     100' roll        $17.15             $0.1715
16mm B&W negative                     400' roll        $64.82             $0.1620

16mm EK Vision negative               100' roll        $32.92             $0.3292
16mm EK Vision negative               400’ roll        $127.90            $0.3197
16mm EK Vision Negative 7289          100’ roll        $34.51             $0.3451
16mm EK Vision Negative 7289          400’ roll        $134.26            $0.3356

16m HI CON stock EK 7363          400’ roll            $46.78             $0.12
16mm EK color LO CON (for telecine)                                       $0.334

Super 8 B&W reversal (Plus X or Tri X) per cartridge   $9.13
Super 8 Ekatachrome 125                per cartridge   $10.70

8mm tape 30                           per cassette     $3.10
HI 8 30                               per cassette     $4.86
DV Mini 30 minute                     per cassette     $12.05
SVHS 30                               per cassette     $7.92
VHS 10 w/white sleeve                 per cassette     $1.00
VHS 30                                per cassette     $2.14
Betacam SP 10                         per cassette     $15.03
Betacam SP 30                         per cassette     $17.45
3/4" SP 30                            per cassette     $14.26
3/4" SP 60                            per cassette     $20.34
3/4” BRS 10                           per cassette     $8.77
3/4” BRS 30                           per cassette     $11.00
3/4” BRS 60                           per cassette     $14.93

Audio Cassette Hi Bias 60             per cassette     $2.00
Audio Cassette Metal 60               per cassette     $5.00
1/4" audio tape deposit                                $0.0100
1/4" audio tape 5 inch roll 908       per reel         $5.00
1/4" audio tape 7 inch roll 996       per reel         $9.00
1/4" audio tape 10 inch roll 996      per reel         $23.00
16mm magnetic film                    per foot         $0.0200

16mm white leader                     per foot         $0.0800
16mm black leader                     per foot         $0.0800
16mm fill leader                      per foot         $0.00822

16mm edge coding - out of house    per foot                   $0.0185
16mm edge coding - in house        per roll tape              $5.41
35mm edge coding - out of house

Positive Editing Kit 310/508       per kit                    $29.65
Ngative Editing Kit 310/508        per kit                    $28.30
16mm B&W Academy leader            per set                    $2.45
16mm color CNTV leader             per set                    $11.25

Super 8 B&W reversal process                       per roll                $10.64
Super 8 B&W reversal process - push 1 stop         per roll                $15.00
Super 8 B&W reversal process - pull 1 stop         per roll                $15.00
Super 8 color reversal process                     per roll                $12.12

16mm B&W negative process                          per foot                $0.117
16mm color negative process                        per foot                $0.117
16mm color reversal process                        per foot                $0.1624

35mm color negative process                        per foot                check wtih lab
35mm B&W negative process                          per foot                check wtih lab

16mm HI CON negative process                       per foot                $0.088
16mm HI CON reversal process                       per foot                $0.19

16mm B&W 1 lite -     add 3%                                               $0.1900
16mm color 1 lite -   add 3%                                               $0.1900

35mm color 1 lite
35mm b&W 1 lite

16mm B&W Fine Grain                                                         $1.088
16mm Dupe Negative                                                          $1.198
16mm color burn-in title - $45 minimum                                      $147.00

16mm B&W Answer print from A/B rolls                                        $0.932
35mm B&W Answer print

16mm B&W Release print from A/B rolls                                       $0.334
35mm Color Answer pirnt

310/508 3/4" Telemaster (5-8 minute film) per reel            $51.90
2nd 3/4" at same time (5-8 minute film)   per reel            $19.00
Rank telecine to Betacam SP NTSC 1.5 hour                     $335.40 (out of house)
                                                                 Advanced Budgeting Guide

 3/4" with 1" NTSC (25 minute maximum)       per dub         $38.20
 1/2" NTSC card sleeve (25 minute maximum)   per dub         $4.07
 Telecine dailies 16 or 35 in house          per hour       $60.00 ($15.00 minimum billing)

 VHS (up to 15 minutes)                      per copy       $4.00 each
 VHS (up to 30 minutes)                      per copy       $7.50 each

 Conform negative (student pays cutter)   per hour          $35.00
 Confrom negative (on USC purchase order) per hour          $32.00

 transfer 16mm optical sound track in house per 400' roll   $15.00
 transfer 16mm mag to 35/32 outside         per foot        $0.38
 16mm snd trk stock/process                 per foot        $0.209

 Sync 16mm optical sound track - out of house per reel      $31.827

 1/4" paper tape       roll                                 $2.60
 3/8" paper tape       roll                                 $3.35
 3/4" paper tape       roll                                 $6.75

 splicing tape - 16mm picture non-perforate roll            $4.05
 splicing tape - 16mm sound non-perforated roll             $4.25
 splicing tape 16mm Rivas picture    roll                   $8.10
 splicing tape 16mm Rivas sound      roll                    $8.57

 400' reel and can                                          $13.48
 16mm cans 800' metal         each                          $25.54

 Be sure to add SALES         TAX to all your purchases out of          house - 8.25%

Revised 05/01


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