6 Expenses First-Time Film Directors Don’t Consider

expenses first time film directors

Beginner film directors naturally want to work towards being at the top where all the famous directors are. But to be at the top with all the pros you have to consider more than simply directing actors to say their lines correctly. Being a director and being part of a production team is almost like running a small business. Managing the finances is a huge part of any production process. 

Some first-time film directors don’t make it in the industry because they become bankrupt before they even make their big debut. To safeguard against this, smart decisions such as partnering with accounting recruitment agencies are well worth your time, as well as doing proper planning before you commit to any expenses. 

Don’t worry. Take a look at our list of expenses relating to film production that are essential to get yourself started. Listen to those in the know: these are areas directors need to budget for to make that Oscar winner you dream of. 

1. A Proper Office Space To Work In 

Directors need a place to write and where actors & crew gather for meetings & discussions about the film. A challenge here is that a movie production team have many role players. Renting office spaces can be extremely costly and finding an affordable venue that is large enough for big production teams, can be tricky. 

The office should also be situated in a practical location. Preferably it must be near some of the venues where you’ll shoot footage, so you can save on travel costs. Consider all these factors before you sign a rental contract

2. The Development Budget 

It takes a lot of capital to develop a film set but even before you start shooting the film there are expenses, such as the cost of script rights. You have to pay for the rights to your story so there’s no risk of a lawsuit later on. 

Other development costs include the following: 

- Travel expenses 
- Accommodation for your team 
- Attending film festivals for showcasing and networking 

3. The Film Location 

Some directors film in multiple locations to cater for all the scenes. Each time you move to a different location you will spend more money. This turns into one of the costliest expenses because of travel fees and accommodation. 

Tip: if you’re a first-time film director, consider making your movie in one location. Be creative with the resources you have, until you can save the money—or get an investor—to start setting up in various locations for your bigger budget films. 

4. On Set And Equipment Insurance 

Props, cameras and the entire set of your movie will be extremely pricey. Unfortunately, accidents can happen such as fires or a camera can fall over and break. You will need the correct insurance to cover any damages on set. 

5. Quality Music To Complement Scenes 

The audio in a movie is a critical factor. It must always be clear so that your audience can hear what’s being played, whether it’s music, background noise or spoken dialogue.

If the music and soundtracks aren’t exceptional from the start, it can result in extra expenses. Sometimes films with poor quality audio will have to go through extra edits which will cost you more money. So, rather budget for the best equipment and musicians in the business from the start. 

6. Investing In The Correct Casting Agent

First-time film directors sometimes select the wrong casting agent for their films. In the movie business, actors and their reputations affect the outcome of the film. Working with the wrong cast may result in your film flopping at the box office and that’s a risk you can’t take. You won’t make the profit you need to carry on with future projects. So, hire an expert agent who can help with: 

- Finding the talent that suits your script 
- Handling interviews and auditions to save you time 
- Saving you money by discussing contracts with actors that benefit all parties 

Newbie directors may try to do everything themselves, but hiring this agent is worth the expense. 

7. Outsourcing Business Tasks To Pros 

Above we already mentioned the value of investing in one pro, but there are many services you may need to outsource. It’s similar to business owners who need teams of experts around them because they’re not skilled at every single aspect of running a company. In the same way, directors must know which tasks to outsource. 

Save yourself stress, time and effort, so you can focus on what you’re good at, by outsourcing some of these tasks: 

- Marketing 
- Building a website for the film 
- Accounting, so you always have real time data to make informed decisions with 

You can even consider a caterer from day one, or you’ll end up spending money on everyone’s take away food. The pros have seen how quickly this can eat into your budget. 

Final Thoughts On Expenses For New Film Directors

Did you find our list of expenses surprising? If you’re a first-time film director perhaps interview other directors that have been active in this filming industry for years to hear their tips. Yes, you’re excited about doing that movie, but rather take your time with planning and budgeting; then you’ll get it right the first time!

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