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Film Costing : 

Film Costing

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What is a Pre-production Package?A Pre-production package or Book is a reference, a blue print, and your best friend. Basically, the Book is the holder of all printed material needed to coordinate the project. For example, if someone else is financing your production, like an executive producer, you'll want to keep all your written correspondences in the Book. These could include all memos and letters. The essentials of the Pre-production Package: Concept Treatment Budget Rate Cards Script Storyboards

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ConceptThe concept is usually a one-page synopsis of the project. This is where the original idea is first put on paper. Before you can collect the other parts of the Pre-production Package, you must first have a concise and well-written concept. If the concept is brief and to the point, you can refer back to it during times of uncertainty. The concept is your written compass. Use it when you feel the project is loosing its original focus.

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BudgetIt's a good idea to try and figure out how much this is all going to cost. That's where the budget comes into play. If you have a fixed amount of money you can use the budget as a tool to find the places where you can cut costs. If you're getting financing from an outside source you can use the budget as a different kind of tool. The executive producer (the one with all the money) will want to see how and why the production costs so much. If you can provide an itemized budget this should ease the executive producer's mind. Budgets are usually set up in an above and below the line style. Above the line costs typically go to paying the conceptual positions like writers, producers, and directors. The below the line costs go to things like actors, crew, and postproduction. If you have never put a budget together you may be surprised how fast things add up. Click here for a basic budget template that you can download and use. It is a good starting point; you can augment it as needed. For more on budgets

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StoryboardsIllustrations of the principal visual elements of a production. They save you time and money in the long run. They keep the whole crew on the same page. No Pre-production Package would be complete without them. For more on storyboards

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BudgetsThere are several budgeting software programs out there these days, and we feature some of our favorites. But if you need to do some quick math and figure out your crew budgets, the guide below is perfect. You should create this in excel for costing and analysis as that will calculate the prices in Microsoft Excel. We also found a neat piece of shareware, Filmmaker Pro. Its pretty in depth and take some time to figure it out but we were pretty impressed by its detail. Below is our printer friendly budget checklist.

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Pre Production | Production In Bollywood Production offers services to film makers at all stage of film making, including Pre-Production, Production, Post Production, marketing and distribution. Production Film production is divided into three main phases: pre-production production (shooting) and post-production. Film production is an entity, which is budgeted, planned and scheduled project.

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Pre-Production                                                                                  All of the budgeted activities concerning the film production before the actual shooting (production) begins. The cooperation between the producer, script writer and director is emphasized in pre-production. The modern film production emphasizes the importance of pre-production: A well made pre-production means that the costs can be kept at minimum during the later work stagesa.

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Financial Plan                                                                                  Film production is a project into which the production companies seldom have money of their own. Only exceptionally a film producer may produce a film using his own financing. That is why it is important for the producer to make an exact and realistic financial plan before starting the production. The financial plan gives the film a realistic budget, and it is also decided what their own percentage of the financing is.

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Script Writer                                                                                  A professional in the film industry, the writer of the screenplay. Mostly the scriptwriter works in close collaboration with the director or the producer (or both). The scriptwriter creates the story of the film, the characters, dialogues, etc, but he does not design the visual realization of the film.

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Screenplay, Script                                                                                  The screenplay of a film is not literature. A screenplay is a plan to shooting the film. The more detailed the plan, the more effectively the production itself, or the shooting, can be realized. The screenplay is written in stages. Screenplay can be based on a story, novel or short story, vision, another film, historic event etc. Writing the screenplay is usually done through the following phases: 1. Synopsis (draft) 2. Treatment, or a list of scenes 3. Actual screenplay 4. 'N' amount of versions of the screenplay After that can also follow... 5. Storyboard 6. Shooting script (director's script) 7. Editor's script

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A screenplay is usually of about 90--120 pages long. One page corresponds to one minute of the film running time. Thus a 120-page screenplay corresponds to a 120 minute, or two-hour film. It is quite common to write three acts to a film, corresponding to the Aristotelian requirement of drama structure, meaning that drama has to have a beginning, middle and the end. The pages for the acts in relation to the entire screenplay are approximately: 1. act, pages 1--30 2. act, pages 31--90 3. act, pages 90--120 Thus the first act is about 1/4, the second act about 2/4 and the third act about 1/4 of the entire running time of the film.

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Director                                                                                  The director has the final responsibility for the creative aspects of the film. The producer hires the Director of the film. Sometimes the producer also functions as director.

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Synopsis, Draft                                                                                  A synopsis is a summary of the contents of the film. It is a kind of sketch: a paper that reveals the contents and form of the film or program. The reader can also get an idea of the film's approach and style. Usually the synopsis is followed by a treatment. First of all, the purpose of the synopsis is to sum up the series of events, the story. The synopsis of a drama is a summary of the function of the film. Further, the synopsis can tell about the characters and the crucial conflict. The synopsis does not present visual or otherwise detailed solutions. They would only restrict the following writing process. A synopsis is important to the financier, the producer, the actual work group and the scriptwriter himself. A synopsis is a good phase in screenwriting, since the entity is not yet covered up with details. The crucial idea, the fundamental conflict and the structure can be clearly identified.

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Treatment                                                                                  Intermediate between synopsis (or draft) and screenplay, a rather large summary. Treatment includes the structure and plot of the film, even though it is not yet broken down into scenes. The treatment should show the beginning, the middle and the end of the film, as well as the main turning points.

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Structure                                                                                  A film has to have a beginning, middle and the end. This basic structure can be identified by many conceptual tools. It is very common to divide a film into three acts. This division comes from the theater and in its foundation one can see the structure of three-act or five-act play.

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Plot                                                                                  The plot tells the story of the film. The same story can be told through many different plots. The plot is action, a series of events, taking us from the beginning of the film through the middle to the end. The scriptwriter must keep the plot in his mind all along. Each sentence should forward the plot. It is recommended to grasp the plot as soon as possible, already at the start-up sequence. You can scatter descriptions of the setting and go deeper into the characters along the way.The plot should not be too easily guessed. The viewer is pleased when the film presents a surprise. One limiting factor is worth remembering: the inner logic of the story, created by genre, setting and characters. The events cannot turn into something not fitting to the inner logic of the film.

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Raising Fianance for Film AFTER the Oscars comes the Cannes Film Festival. The former more glamorous and prestigious than the latter. Last year, with "Lagaan" as a possible Oscar winner, India was keenly interested. A small, low budget film with mainly a cast of two called `No Man's Land' beat us. It deserved the Oscar, as it was both simple and brilliant. And there was not a song or dance in it. Cannes is an important film market. As usual this year our Minister of Information and his usual entourage show up at Cannes. He does have a slight reason. Aishwarya Rai is on the judging panel and no doubt he is hanging on to her saree tail for reflected glamour. India does have one entry this year, a low budget film made by an NRI director. When you consider that India makes more films than the rest of the world combined, it is disturbing we cannot get into Cannes, the Oscars or win other major awards. Certainly, Indian filmmakers have won awards. Last year Mira Nair won the Silver Bear at Venice for "Monsoon Wedding". Gurinder Chadha made a hit film, "Bend it like Beckham". Her new film will be shot in India, not in the UK. But you will notice these filmmakers are working outside the Indian film industry to raise their financing. Their films are mainly low budget in foreign terms and could be classified as medium in Indian terms. They are also making films on Indian subjects with Indian characters that are termed crossovers. This means people other than Indians pay good money to see these movies. Meanwhile, Bollywood (to cover the whole industry) films are only seen by the NRIs who are desperate for some home flavour. They want to see the India of yesteryear, song and dance and the old clichéd stories. Bollywood is fighting back and trying to penetrate the very lucrative world entertainment industry. However, instead of using wit and imagination, they are throwing mega crores at the screen. If "Devdas" cost thirty or forty crores and, though it won awards, did not crossover. Recently, another mega budget film called "The Hero" was released. This one cost 50 crores and had foreign locations, Hollywood special effects, and stunt direction. It came and went so fast. I read recently there is an even bigger mega crores film costing 65 crores about to be launched. I am sure, it will vanish too. Bollywood now has industry status and the IDBI and other banks have been authorised to invest in films. I discovered the catch — they will lend only to big budget filmmakers. When I went to them with my new film project, they do not even show interest, dismissing it as low budget. Even though I already have interest abroad on the film. And my last film "The Square Circle" was not only Time Magazine's top ten but won distribution and TV sales around the world. It made its money back. When I point this out to the bankers, they want stars and song and dance. Stars no longer are a guarantee, I argue. They cost too much. One banker confessed that as they could not judge scripts or stories, they only depended on the tried and tired formula films and producers. So an independent filmmaker, wanting to make a film that could crossover and earn money abroad, has to raise his finance from unconventional sources, like friends and fans. Or else ask foreign companies to bankroll part of the budget. They do too, as they see the potential from the script and the budget. A good story, they know, always will sell. I know a 50-crore film is going to have to make 100 crores to break even, while a one crore film needs only to make back two to show a profit. Hollywood can, now and then only, afford the mega budget films. Even then, they do not depend on stars but proven stories like Matrix and now X-Men. They are known as "franchises", like the Bond films that are the most lucrative franchise. A number of their major money-spinners, however, their version of low and medium budget films with hardly any star power or special effects. Most producers here have not even heard of the filmmaking software called "Movie Magic". It is a detailed budget programme that is essential in the west for a producer to raise his financing. I budgeted my film on it, and admittedly, it can be excruciating, as one has to even account for bottled water. And the budget then has to be cash flowed. When I mention these details to a producer, he looks baffled and wonders why it is necessary at all. Give him money and he will make a film but where the money goes his business. So, if you should want to invest in a film that will make back its money, let me know. I am always looking for new avenues

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