YOUR 1st FEATURE FILM BUDGET IS… (No-B, Micro-B or Low-B?)


Hello first-time Producers, Screenwriters & Directors.


(“To launch your film career, if your parents are not mega-wealthy or -famous, making a low-budget feature is a very valid method and depending on the budget 1/2 to 1/10th the cost of going to NYU or USC for 4-years.”)

Here’s the point: When starting a movie career everyone, even 4-year ($200,000-$300,000) USC & NYU graduates, waste approx 2-3 years stumbling blind through the Hollywood Maze with a script and a ridiculous budget of $3-5 Million, that they actually believe to be a Low-Budget project…

…of which, from the first pitch meeting, if they get one, to every pitch meeting (Cable Network, Foreign Sale Company, Studio Exec, etc.) the naive, first-timer truly believes that he got wonderful praise (“I really like the idea you’re presenting”) and received a commitment for 50% of the budget when the executive does not know how to say “No” or “Pass” and says something like “We’re really interested and could be in for 50%”.

50% of the budget… 50% of the budget… 50% of the budget?

50% of what?




To save years of time in Hollywood permit me to dispense advice, on how to address the perrennial “50% of the Budget” statement.

If anyone in Hollywood says “We’re in for 50% of the Budget” in any form.

You instantly respond with, “Wonderful, I’ll have the cast & crew cut their salaries in half and we’ll shoot tomorrow.”


(“If you ever hear anyone say, “We’re in for 50% of the budget”, quickly turn around and walk away from that person…for you’re wasting your time.”)

Then watch that executive stammer and go “Uh, well, we’re in for 50% of that budget.”

You say, “Wonderful, I’ll have my cast & crew cut their salaries in half and we’ll shoot tomorrow.”

Then watch that executive stammer a-g-a-i-n and go “Uh, well, we’re in for 50% of that budget.”

You say, “Wonderful, I’ll have….” I think you’re getting the point.

Everyone in the industry is focused on the final 50% that will be used for marketing & distribution only if you get the first 50% of the budget to actually make the movie… and they like what you made.


Save time.

Save 2-3 years stumbling around Hollywood with this “50% of your budget firmly committed crap” to your alleged Low-Budget $2-3 or $3-5 Million feature and drop the budget to a dollar amount that is “indy” low-budget rather than “studio” low-budget where, even though you don’t know it, have become a Bull-Sh*tt*r.

Here’s how.



Let’s get real.


(“The live 2-Day Film School on 16 DVDs with 30 Filmmaking lessons”)

Get real: Even though movie studios call Low-Budget amounts like $10-15 Million or $15-20 Million and you read phrases like “the average studio low-budget feature is $22,000,000”; do not think you can toss around numbers like $1-2 or $2-3 Million, with a 20-25 word Log Line Pitch, that you’ve been perfecting at pitch-a-thons, and expect a studio to give you that type of money.

Get real: $2-3 Million or even $1-2 Million is still a-lot-of-money.

Thus, once you (A) get real and (B) realize that low-budget, for first-time filmmakers, is not $10-15 nor $15-20 Million nor is it even $2-3 or $1-2 million you can commence your career.


(“Can’t wait for DVDs or the next FILM SCHOOL (Dec 9-10, 2017 or April 21-22, 2018…) then start instantly with the STREAMING FILM SCHOOL.”)



Low-Budget according to the major movie studios is $10,000,000-$22,000,000.

Low-Budget to the 3 Guilds (SAG, DGA & WGA) is $2,000,000-$5,000,000.

Low-Budget to Foreign Sale companeys is $1,000,000-$2,000,000

Now, again, get real.



Can you even write a check for $5,000 and cash it in 5 minutes…

If not then Low-Budget or Micro-Budget or even No-Budget for you…

(1st) Low-Budget, for you, for a feature film, is $100,000-$200,000.


(2nd) Micro-Budget, for you, for a feature film, is $50,000-$100,000.


(C) No-Budget, for you, for a feature film, is $10,000-$50,000.


My next 3 No-Bull Posts I’ll detail how to make a Low-Budget feature film for $100,000…

Then (next post) I will show how to step-by-step make a Micro-Budget feature film for $50,000…

Finally (last post) I will show exactly how to make a No-Budget feature film for $10,000.


Then you’ll be able to answer “No-B, Micro-B or Low-B… which one are you.”


Happy Filmmaking,

Dov Simens / Dean / Hollywood Film Institute




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3 comments on “YOUR 1st FEATURE FILM BUDGET IS… (No-B, Micro-B or Low-B?)”

  1. Tyrone Martin says:

    Thanks Dov, this was really insightful. I now know where I stand, and in which direction I should proceed.

  2. Eric Tallent says:

    Could you post on the feasibility of theatrical distribution for low- , micro- , and no-budget films?

  3. This was very informative and insightful! Good read!

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