Wayne Norman

Line Producer

818-558-3705

     



















Why fix it in Post when you can do it Right in Production

 

Budgeting 

Custom Budget
Software

Budgeting is one of the most important aspects of all productions, determining the creative and logistical sophistication while establishing the goals and tone of the production.  It is the starting point in determining the direction and logistical needs of the production.  It resolves how much sacrifice will be required of the crew and production personnel.

Many Line Producers prepare budgets using cookie cutter formulas, resulting in the desired dollar amount for presentation to investors and clients.  I do not do that.  I carefully research and determine the actual budget, making the appropriate determination as to what is affordable and what is not.  My budget will be valid for production and won't have to be "re-concocted" for the actual shoot.  Yes, I can make most projects fit within the budget criteria, however, I demonstrate how it will be done, and what it will actually cost to accomplish the project.  For low budget productions, I detail what sacrifices have to be made to fit the stated financial plan.  

True Budgeting is understanding the objective and financial limitation of the project.  Notice I said limitation.  A Budget is a limitation.  Without limits a production will run amuck and literally  have the potential of unlimited cost.  My Budgets carefully consider all costs and weigh them against the creative and logistical consideration with a strong emphasis on contingencies.  All productions need contingencies for there are always unexpected events.  

I am thoroughly familiar with and capable of using the industry standard Movie Magic Budgeting Software, however, I find it cumbersome and incredibly lacking.  I have developed two programs that simplify and more accurately prepare budgets.  One is used to calculate actual costs, which takes into consideration all expense items such as locations, equipment, props, etc., and most importantly accurately calculates labor costs, based on the production guidelines.  

All of these figures are then automatically transferred into the second program, an accounting program, that tracks day to day costs and compares them to the budget.  It allows purchase orders to be prepared, checks to be issued, expenses to be paid, payroll to be disbursed, and accurately tracks the actual cost of production versus budget (acutals).  This simplifies production, because now there is only one entry into the accounting software for budget expense items, instead of a manual entry into a checkbook or into an accounting program, and then a second into the budgeting software.  This greatly improves accuracy and speeds budget analysis during production so costs are contained and there are no surprises at the end of the project.  I can tell the show runner to the minute what the costs are and how they compare to the budget.  

This budgeting sophistication allows me to prepare reports instantaneously instead of having to wait hours, even days for the data to be inputted into the budgeting software.  No chance of data entry errors or missed entries, because there is only one entry, and through credit card and bank account statements I have a system of verification.

Once the budget has been prepared I have the ability to prepare a financial and business plan for presentation to investors.  Although there is no assurance of income for a production, my presentation will inform the potential investor of the financial return possibilities, tempered with the risk of investment in a motion picture.  These documents are extremely complex and take a great deal of research to develop, but are often the tipping point in the decision by the investor.

Once a motion picture is given a green light I work with all departments to determine staffing and vendor requirements so they fit within the budget guidelines.  I seek out people who are appropriate for the production genre and budget and secure vendors that are affordable and comprehend the needs of the production.

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