Film & Video Budgets by Deke Simon (with Michael Wiese) is an excellent book for anyone who is looking to budget an independent film. I bought and read it last year (the 4th edition of the book), and it was not only informative and easy to use, but I was able to use its guidelines and templates to complete a feature film budget for a script that I have been raising funds for. Read on for more details about the book.

The book is broken up in sections, as follows:

  • Setting up a Production Company (Incorporation, Business License, etc)
  • Pre-Productions (Legal, Contracts, Clearance, Summary Budget, etc)
  • Development/Marketing
  • High Definition
  • Line Items
  • Sample Budgets
  • Helpful Hints (Money Saving Ideas, Resources, Directories, etc)

All of the sections contain good information and are very detailed, but what was the most helpful to me was the actual sample budgets and the templates that came with the book.

The sample budgets in the book include:

  • $5 Million Feature Film
  • Documentary – Tape Budget
  • Digital Feature Film Budget
  • Digital “No Budget” Feature Film
  • Tape-to-Film Blow-Up
  • Industrial Budget
  • Music Video
  • Student Film

Simon breaks down each of the sample budgets line by line, so you can know exactly why you are paying a certain price for everything from crew members, to rentals, and locations. The book also supplies you with all of the budgets in excel format, so you can work off an existing budget and make it fit for your project. Overall, I highly recommend the book to anyone who is budgeting their first feature film.