$3,000,000-$5,000,000 FEATURE FILM! (Part 2: The Money, The Budget)


Last week’s post (Part 1)  explained the massive new revenue source for Hollywood called “Product Placement”.

Although PP revs have been around since the 40s with films like “It’s A Wonderful Life” (National Geographics) and “African Queen” (Gordon’s Gin) and became mass popular with the Aston Martin/auto in the James Bond Films, it has only in the past 7 years become so massive that it PP is now literally 25%-40% of the budget of a Major Movie Studio’s feature film.


ANSWER. Because now that TV has a DVR and people (future viewers) are recording the shows they want to watch; and watch them when they want to watch they have also obtained the ability to literally ZAP (aka: fast forward) the commercials.


So now a 30-second ad on “Dancing With The Stars” or “Law & Order” that would cost $200,000-$300,000 was on its way to becoming useless… However, Madison Avenue (aka: Advertising World) realized that when someone goes to a cinema, buys a ticket, grumbles about the price of popcorn and sits in a seat… they are literally stuck their, with no remotes & smart phones on off-mute, with their eyeballs 100% focused on the screen.

Thus, the $200,000-$300,000 30-second TV ad purchase is now going to having a 2-3 second Logo ID, where the actor actually uses the product for what it is supposed to be used for, and the $200,000-$300,000, either all of it or part of it, is now going to not a TV Network or TV Producer but to a Movie Studio or Movie Producer.

Today you will notice that any major studio release literally has 25-95 logos strategically placed throughout the movie.

POINT OF INFORMATION: The names and contact information on who to hire and what to learn to actually utilize Product Placement Revenues, and raise 25%-40% of your $3-5 Million budget, was last week’s blog (view at NO-BULL BLOG, www.WebFilmSchool.com) with today’s post being Part 2 is how to spend the $3-$5 Million dollars to make a Movie that you think looks like $10-$12 Million or “just-under” $12-15 Million.

THE $3,000,000-$5,000,000 FEATURE FILM (The Concept)

Basically, you are going to be a….

(A) SHOOT: 5-7 Weeks or 25-35 Shooting Days

(B) LOCATIONS: 3 Weeks (Exteriors) Practical Locations rented at $1,000-$10,000/day in a City/State/Nation with a Government Funding (Tax Credit, Rebate, refund, etc.) program

(C) STAGE: 2-4 Weeks (Interiors) at a Sound Stage, rented at $5,000-$10,000/week, with built sets, with moveable walls, high ceilings and a lot of lights

Deal Site - Slate

(D) ABOVE-THE-LINE: You will be a Guild/Union Signator of the 3 Guilds (Writers, Actors & Directors)

(E) SCRIPT/WRITER: You will budget $200,000-$300,000 for a Script either by a Writer-For-Hire or Optioned/Purchased from a writer paying 50% more than SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild Minimum). Plus, a $10,000-$25,000 legal fee for the entertainment attorney to ensure the contracts are executed properly.

(F) DIRECTOR: You will hire a DGA (Directors Guild of America member) who has a successful track record of delivering movies and tv shows On-Schedule & On-Budget because you will have to obtain a Completion Bond (3-5% of Budget) to secure a bank loan and the Insurance Company (aka: Bonding Company) will only guarantee a project with a Director who has proven he/she directs On-Budget and On-Schedule. This type of Director will cost $250,000-$300,000.

(G) CAST-STARS: You will be able to now hire 2-3 Names. When I state names these are not A-List movie actors that are bankable (Damon, Clooney, Jolie, McCarthy, etc) because of their name but have a feeling of “Movie” as soon as you say their name like “Bill Pullman, Chaz Palmantieri, Colin Farrell, Jodi Foster, Meg Ryan, etc…. (FOOTNOTE: It is always subjective and difficult to establish the perceived value of a name to a viewer/audience and everyone has an opinion on who is a “name” that is bankable and who is a “name” that makes your project feel movie and who is a “name” that makes your project feel like just another free tv show… but this is part of the Producing-Feature-Film-Game… Welcome to Hollywood).

But you can budget $1,000,000 for a Movie Name (Actor #3, Promoted as the Star) for 2-3-weeks, $250,000 for a TV Name for 5-7 weeks and $150,000 for 2 Comics or Rock Stars ($100,000 & $50,000) for 1-3 weeks

(H) CAST-DAY PLAYERS: You will sign with “SAG” and budget approximately $600/day for each actor. Plus, you have residuals, legal work, workers compensation, payroll taxes, etc.

(I) CREW: You will likely sign with “IATSE” (International Alliance of Stage Employees) because you are getting an interim financing bank loan, based off of obtaining a Completion Bond, and the Bonding Company demands that you are a 100% Union (IATSE) shoot for all crew. It, you have your financing without needing an interim bank loan then you don’t have to sign with “IATSE” and all their rules and still hire qualified crew (shhh! most who are also in IATSE) and do a non-union shoot.

Deal Site - Camera

(J) VENDORS-EQUIPMENT: You are now a 3-4 Truck Shoot (One Truck for Lighting, One Truck for Grip, One Truck for Cameras), with a Generator, and 2-3 Trucks for Hair/Makeup & Wardrobe and 2 Trailers for Stars #1 & #2

(K) STUNTS: You can now budget $100,000-$200,000 for Stunts, Car Chases, Crowd Scenes, Fights, etc.

(L) VISUAL EFFECTS: You can also budget $100,000-$200,000 for VFX, CGI, Animation & Green Screen.

(M) MUSIC: You can Budget $100,000 ($50,000 for Original Score & License 5 Popular Songs)

(N) POST-PRODUCTION: You can now spend more time, due to much more footage, and obtain a quality edit over 3-4 months rather than just 2-3 months.

THE $3,000,000-$5,000,000 FEATURE FILM (The Budget)


(ONE) PRODUCER: $200,000-$300,000

(TWO) SCRIPT: $200,000-$300,000

(THREE) CAST: $1,600,000-$1,800,000

(FOUR) DIRECTOR: $250,000-$300,000

(1-4) ABOVE-THE-LINE TOTAL: $2,250,000-$2,700,000


(FIVE) LOCATIONS/STAGES: $150,000-$200,000

(SIX) CREW: $300,000-$400,000

(SEVEN) EQUIPMENT: $250,000-$400,000

(EIGHT) PROPS: $50,000

(NINE) WARDROBE: $50,000-$100,000


(ELEVEN) COMPLETION BOND: $50,000-$150,000

(TWELVE) FOOD/CRAFT SERVICE: $100,000-$150,000

(THIRTEEN) HOTEL/TRAVEL/AUTO: $50,000-$100,000

(FOURTEEN) PROFESSIONAL FEES (Legal/Payroll/Accounting): $100,000-$200,000

(5-14) BELOW-THE-LINE TOTAL: $1,200,000-$1,850,000

IN-THE-CAN (aka: Shot-For)


(1-14) $3,450,000-$4,550,000 ($2,250,000-$2,700,000 & $1,200,000-$1,850,000)


(FIFTEEN) PICTURE EDIT: $100,000-$150,000

(SIXTEEN) SOUND EDIT: $50,000-$100,000

(SEVENTEEN) ADR/FOLEY/MIX: $100,000-$150,000

(EIGHTEEN) MUSIC: $50,000-$100,000


(15-19) $400,000-$600,000


(1-4) ABOVE-THE-LINE: $2,250,000-$2,700,000

(5-14) BELOW-THE-LINE: $1,200,000-$1,850,000

(15-19) POST-PRODUCTION: $400,000-$600,000

(1-19) TOTAL BUDGET: $3,850,000-$5,150,000 (plus or minus)


You now know how to make a $10-12 Million or a $12-15 Million Feature Film for only $3,850,000-$5,150,000 plus, if needed, the cost of the bank loan.

FS-$89 (2)  DSC_8143

Hello, I’m Dov Simens.

I’ve been teaching the business of filmmaking for 25 years and look forward to giving you information you need to utilize with your talent (talent can’t be taught) to Produce, Write or Direct a feature film… that profits.

My 3 Film School programs (Live, DVD or On-Demand) are all available at www.WebFilmSchool.com

Happy Filmmaking,


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4 comments on “$3,000,000-$5,000,000 FEATURE FILM! (Part 2: The Money, The Budget)”

  1. Tania Burt says:

    very interesting

  2. I my is Calvin Woo – Woo weaver I am deaf my leaf ear right ear 22 p play football and track i want make movies my life story I was good sport people call me go woo go woo I am a running back break speed I need help get in movies make life story I love make movies ?

  3. James Scott says:

    This is awesome! Can I use this for a pitch deck?

  4. Henry Larry says:

    Valuable breakdown of the budgeting process for feature films. Understanding the allocation of resources from above the line to below the line expenses offers a clear picture of the financial considerations in filmmaking.
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