3 OSCAR WINNERS: 18-40 DAY SHOOTS (Learn the 7-13 Day Shoot Secrets)


NO-BULL: The key to knowing a film’s budget is not in listening to panelists at festivals or reading trade articles in newspapers like Variety or Hollywood Reporter…

The secret lies in first knowing “How long was the shoot”. And once you know how long the shoot was you secondly can back into the amount of money (aka: budget) that was actually spent to make-the-film rather than listening to or reading the inflated number they’re using to market-the-film.

Alway remember… “Hollywood Lies” and the budget that you read about for any specific film is 99.9% of the time grossly inflated.


Because they, the producers or distributors, lie… Actually they don’t lie “they market”.

For the true budget-of-any-film, which you want to know, is nobodies business except the IRS, an Accountant and the Investors.


(“Everyone in Hollywood knows that a film’s true budget, it’s “negative cost”, is no one’s business except the investors and the IRS.”)

Can you name me any manufacturing industry in the world, there are probably 30,000, where the manufacturer (aka: producer or Distributor) actually tells the consumer (aka: viewer) what it costs to make their product just prior to trying to sell them their product?

Can you?

SIDE NOTE: Actually I can think of two other industries that do… the Casino industry, when they tell you the cost/room, and the Armament industry when they tell you the cost/tank/plane/ship/rocket.

Go ahead name me any industry, other than the movie industry, where they actually promote the cost of manufacturing the product.

Only the movie industry tells the potential consumer/viewer the budget cost of making their movie.

Duh. Let’s stop and think for a moment.

Do you really believe that when Warners, Paramount, Weinstein, HBO or Disney tells you (aka: markets) what the “Budget is” they are actually telling the true cost of manufacturing (aka: negative cost) their product?

Do you really believe them…do you?

So why do they do that?

Simple, they use the budget as a marketing ploy, massively inflate the number, make it appear to be more expensive in hopes of you giving them $12 Bucks at a theater to view… It’s marketing.

Always remember Hollywood is a “Film-Marketing Industry” much more than a “Film-Making Industry”.

But in order to go to heaven, when they inflate the budget, they always put the phrase “Just Under”, “Just Under”, “Just Under” right before the inflated dollar amount.

Example being if you, a Producer, just spent $300,000 to physically make your film, probably a 3-week shoot, and at a festival, where you are on a panel, someone in the audience asks “What was you Budget”? Your response should be “It’s none of your bloody business” but you will definetly not say the number, $300,000, and likely inflate it with the words “just under” advancing it and proudly state something like “Just Under a Mill” or “Just Under $1-2 Mill” or “Just Under…whatever number you think you can get away with”

I think you get the point.

Welcome to Hollywood.

The key to knowing truly what is a film’s actual budget is by knowing “How Long Is the Film Shoot”, knowing the nuts-and-boilts costs of production and backing into it.

Let me explain.



Three very good independent films in the past decade that won Oscars have been “THE WRESTLER” (2008), “WHIPLASH” (2014) and “MOONLIGHT” (2016).


“3 recent Oscar Winners were low-budget Indy Films with shooting schedules of 18-40 days” at my “2-Day Film School (WebFilmSchool.com) I teach how to do a 7-18 Day Indy Shoot step-by-step.”)

“THE WRESTLER”, allegadly a $5-6 Million movie was a 40-Day Shoot.

“WHIPLASH”, allegadly a $3-4 Million movie was an 18-Day Shoot.

“MOONLIGHT”, allegadly a $1.5 Million movie (I am close to believing this) was a 25-Day Shoot.

Thus, if you know the actual nuts-and-bolts costs of filmmaking, these 3 movies are an 8-week, a 3-week and a 5-week shoot… now back into it.



Some simple nuts-and-bolts are.

“MOONLIGHT”, with a 100 page script, was a 25-day shoot, with a shooting schedule of 4 Pages/day.

“THE WRESTLER”, with a 105 page script, was a 40 day shoot, with a shooting schedule 2.5 Pages/day.

“WHIPLASH” with a 95 page script, was an 18 day shoot, with a shooting schedule of 5.5 Pages/day.

New 2Day PWD

(“Learn the honest facts of filmmaking in my acclaimed “2-Day Film School”)

Your first feature film, taught step-by-step at the 2-Day Film School (Live, DVD or Streaming @ www.WebFilmSchool.com) is either going to be a…

(A) NO-BUDGET: 1-Week Shoot, $10K-$50K budget, 90 page script, with a shooting schedule of 13 Pages/day.

(B) MICRO-BUDGET: 2-Week Shoot, $50K-$100K budget, 90 page script, with a shooting schedule of 7 Pages/day.

(C) LOW-BUDGET: 3-Week Shoot, like “Whiplash”, but with $200K-$300K budget, which might be called a “Just Under Million Feature, which is a 3-week shoot, with a 90-page script, with a shooting schedule of 5 Pages/Day.

POI: “WHIPLASH”, because a Guild & Union Shoot with a name actor, but not yet a Movie Name, “J K Simmons”, had a higher cost than what is taught at my “2-Day Film School” is the same principal of being a 90-page, 1-location (the school, with it’s office, hallway, practice room & auditorium along with 3 other 2-page locations), when you deduct the Guild & Union costs, the budget is likely “Just Under $1 Million”.


Happy Filmmaking,

Dov Simens / Dean / Hollywood Film Institute


20-HOUR (Live, DVD or On-Demand) FILM SCHOOL 

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Enroll. Graduate. Write. Produce. Direct.

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One comment on “3 OSCAR WINNERS: 18-40 DAY SHOOTS (Learn the 7-13 Day Shoot Secrets)”

  1. bullet force says:

    Everyone in Hollywood knows that a film’s true budget, it’s “negative cost”

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