How a Micro-Budget Documentary is Produced
The glamorous world of film-making gets somewhat less glamorous.
When people think of the film-making process, most think of the way dramatic feature films are made, with a big crew and a celebrity cast and a splashy cinema release. But films, especially documentary films, are often far more humble in scope and use a leaner film-making process. This article outlines common elements in the production process for documentary films made on a small budget. (We’re not talking David Attenborough here.)
Blaming Thor Heyerdahl
THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST.
In honour of Peter Millynn’s story ‘I blame Thor Heyerdahl’ we have five double passes to give away to the Norwegian film ‘Kon Tiki’, currently showing in cinemas around Australia.
To be in the running for a double pass, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘I blame Thor’ in the subject heading and your postal address in the email body. We’ll post passes out to the first five.
Thanks to the fine folk at Transmission Films for the movie passes.
22 April 2013
A documentary about World War II hero Leslie ‘Bull’ Allen has been released online.
This short film tells the little-known story of Leslie ‘Bull’ Allen, brought up in hardship in Ballarat, who become a war hero. Allen was a stretcher-bearer in the Middle East and New Guinea in the Second World War who displayed great bravery in rescuing the wounded. “It’s an amazing story, akin to Simpson and his Donkey”, says Lucinda Horrocks, the film’s producer. “It’s a surprise we don’t know more about it.”
We outline four factors which can influence documentary film production costs.
A question we often get asked is ‘I want to make a simple 5 minute film about X. How much would that cost?’
Our answer? ‘It depends’.
For organisational and online video production, a common costing rule of thumb is often said to be ‘$1000 for every finished minute of video’. However, we find this costing rule to be wrong more often than it is right, possibly because the rule seems to have been around for aeons.
For documentary film-making at the lowest-budget level, ‘$1000 per finished minute’ is the cheapest starting point for costing. We recommend using $2000 – $3000 per finished minute in mind as a beginning point ball park. And you should expect that even a ‘simple film’ may cost more. Why? There are many elements which come into play when costing a film. In this article we detail four factors which can influence cost, and provide some tips on how to reduce costs if your budget is really pushed.
Image attribution: Svilen.milev