Budgeting is a confusing beast for every human, in life. But we all have to do it everyday and therein lies the secret…practice. Since I was 15 and producing my first play, my first step is always to pick an actual INTEGER, a number, an amount of money that I’m comfortable completely losing. It’s scary, but you’re basically making a deal with yourself that you’re never going to get that money back, but you’re going to get something else for your investment - experience, art, etc.
Then start collecting the hard data and costs on what you need for production. Don’t look at how much if puts you in the red, just get the information.
Then you have to decide what you can do yourself “for free” or what collaborators can bring to the project, versus where you absolutely have to spend the money.
On SONA, I can’t compose music, make VFX or do sound design. So we absolutely needed to learn people’s rates and then hire them to do this work. But I could build a set, film Ashley, lear how to do basic lighting…etc. So we made compromises and made the best who we could with the budget we set.