Creating a TV film budget involves documenting all predicted expenses involved in making the production. Having this budget prepared gives structure during the planning process. No budget is limitless, and it’s essential to decide how much can be allocated for the various aspects of the production process.

What is a film budget?

A film budget is an estimate of the specific costs associated with making a movie, be it for film, TV or a new medium. The costs are broken down into categories to get a sense of the distribution of expenses concerning the production’s budget. While there is no one single method to creating a film budget, there are common practices to create a logical account of estimated expenses.

The Film Budget Template below assists in avoiding excess expenditures and is suitable to use for:

  • Feature films
  • Independent
  • Animated films
  • Commercial films
  • Documentary films
  • Independent films
  • Low-budget films
  • Short films

The spreadsheet includes categories for direct costs, production, post-production and indirect costs. The following section explains the various elements of the spreadsheet and what exactly to include in each section. Having this budget laid out will help streamline your filmmaking process.

Details of the Film Budget Template

Direct costs and overheads

Development costs is the amount required to transform the film from its initial concept until it is in a form suitable for presenting to investors and capable of gaining production financing. These expenses include paying the screenplay writer, location scouting, producer’s travel expenses while organising pre-sales financing from investors. Camera tests, administration and overheads until the film is in pre-production are also included.

This section also includes the cost of hiring writers, producers, directors and talent.

Production Costs

Production Staff – this section will differ for every project but will include a production coordinator, researcher, production accountant as well as a health and safety consultant. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and the budget template can be adapted for each video’s staffing costs.

Location department –location scouting is a vital part of the filmmaking process. Here’s where to account for location fees and associated costs.

Camera department – include here the cost of hiring a DoP (Director of Photography), camera assistant and also hard drive storage.

Art department – set design and props are accounted for here.

Lighting department – in this section, include hired lights and members of the lighting department (Chief Electrician, Generator Operator, assistants and technicians).

Costume department – all of the costs for design, fitting and costume hire are placed here.

Make-up and hair department – include hiring fees for make-up artists and hairdressers.

Sound department – this contains all of the elements to sound within the production process. Some costs include hiring the Production Sound Mixer, Boom Operator and Utility Sound Technician.

Transport and travel – for producer and crew transport as well as couriers and taxis.

Location facilities – separate from location department, this is the section to allocate for catering and per diems for both cast and crew as well as sourcing PPE for location filming.

Post-production costs

Processing costs – this includes footage encoding, processing and syncing

Offline editing – what needs to be accounted for here is the offline editor and also the edit suite hired.

Online editing – this is quite a large section, including conform/grade/online, opening sequence, title design, as well as the playouts and deliverables.

Sound post-production – Sound Editor (including trackway), final mix and voiceover recordings

Archive – costs related to archive and backing up files and footage

Music – costs associated with obtaining music rights

Subtitles – the cost of dubbing or subtitling the move

Indirect costs

Insurance – production insurance (estimated in template @ 1.16%)

Production fee – includes both production fee and associated overheads

If your next production requires a stunning location in a country with generous tax relief and top-quality professionals in the industry, then learn why Ireland is a great filming location.

If you’re looking for assistance in accessing the Irish Film Tax Incentive (Section 481), we can help you finance and produce your next film or TV project in Ireland! Contact us at Irish Film Services for more info.

Here is the Film Budget Template; simply click to access.