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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5 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!

  4. Lillie says:

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  5. Henry Larry says:

    It is eye opening to see the stark contrast between industry perceptions of low budget films and the reality faced by aspiring filmmakers. Dov Simen provides valuable advice for navigating the complexities of film financing.
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