If I own the camera and everyone works for free, why does my movie need a budget?

From: C******** S**** (******@*****.***)
To: Gerald (neuroticnomad@gmail.com)
Date: June 11, 2010 2:10:31 PM PDT
Subject: Free Movie

Dude! I own all the equipment and all my buddies will be helping me for free. I can shoot this for the cost of blank tapes! Why should I write a budget?

C*******


From: Gerald (neuroticnomad@gmail.com)
To: C******** S**** (******@*****.***)
Date: June 12, 2010 10:41:22 AM PDT
Subject: Re: Free Movie

No movie is really free, even if no one is getting paid.

Let’s talk Human cost. Even when everyone works for free there’s still printouts, signs, working toilets, snacks and meals. You have to get them there safe, and keep them alive and happy while you have them.

Then if you’re really rich there’s gas/parking/bus fare re-imburesrment and making sure there’s cell phone/internet reception, but let’s not get nuts.

Print-outs and signs we’ll come back to when we discuss expendables

…right now you just need to think about working toilets.

a. That we are allowed to use.
b. a lot.
c. a whole whole lot.

We provide TP and have emergency feminine hygiene products. We leave the toilet area cleaner than we found it when we leave and THANK whomever allowed us to bring what looks like a pack of roadies through their home or business.

Snacks and meals.

$7 to $12 per head per meal over and above coffee/water budget. Meals come at 6 and 12 hours. If a second meal is provided, it’s to be a hot meal. Pizza, burgers, restaurant catering sponsorships.

The last “free” movie with unpaid cast/crew I worked on cost over $2000 in the end.

This does not include pre- and post- production expenses, nor marketing and distribution.

You have to pay for that stuff, too.

…And if you’re looking for someone to give/loan you money, they want to know (specifically) how you plan to spend it.

…And movies that don’t pre-budget always waste cash.

Just write it.
– Gerald

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