Seeking quotes for upcoming Stareable article!

(Bri Castellini) #1

Was chatting with a filmmaker today and I thought it would be interesting to do a quote article (been a while since we did one of those!) where people shared the thing they spent the most amount of money on, the amount if they’re comfortable sharing that, and the thing they were surprised they didn’t spend MORE money on.

Anyone who’s willing to share any/all of the above, comment below or send me an email at!

My break down would be:

Most money: Transportation, $231 for Sam and Pat Season 2, a show with one location and two characters. This always happens, and I always forget, that accidents and equipment halls cost $$, especially when you’re sending someone away to grab a forgotten prop or costume in a panic and have limited time to get them back to set.

Surprising cheap thing: Props, $69.60! For a show where our predominant fear was the cost of props, we did a hell of a job begging/borrowing/making our own.

(Ray Robinson) #2

Still working on Deliver Me, and the vast amount of things I’ll be spending money on haven’t come in yet. But here’s what I have so far:

Most money: a good editor. It might have been an amateur move on my part, but I promised the bulk of my budget to my editor (who is also a friend). Since it’s a lot of responsibility and I can’t do it myself (yet), I don’t mind the expense. Next is my lead actor and co-writer - since he’s writing all his monologues and in every scene, it’s only fair he gets some off the top. The rest of the cast are working for free, but none were on set more than 30 minutes as they are quick scenes.

I anticipate spending a sizable chunk on promotion and festivals. Until it’s complete though, it’s technically not spent yet. :slight_smile:

Surprisingly cheap: props, costumes and locations. All borrowed or freely given. The most I’ve spent is my delivery driver’s shirt with my own logo design on it for about $25.

(Barbara Mc Thomas) #3

Most money: Cast salaries. We shot 6 episodes over 7 days, and three of those were 12 hour days. I couldn’t ask people to do that for free. I spent $2250 paying our 6 principal actors and 8 day players. I think it was absolutely worth it though in terms of the commitment they had to the project and their willingness to endure discomfort/heat/long days etc.

Surprisingly cheap: One of our crowfunding perks was a comic book version of episode 1. The cost to print 30 them full color, glossy paper, etc was less than $100, shipped.

(Herman Wang) #4

Most of our budget was definitely crew and cast. I tried to hit a reasonable (non-union) amount, which translated into being able to count on people setting aside time for the show.

Our props were among the cheapest things, but that wasn’t surprising to me. A lot of our raw material came from Michael’s. Probably the cheapest item was Professor Caltain’s wand, which was one of a pair of chopsticks that cost around $1.59 (shhhh).

(Emma Drewry) #5

Most money BEFORE cast payments (deferred payment contracts): Our Zoom! We spent almost $300 on a Zoom H5, which I 100% don’t regret. It’s been amazing. After that, we spent $150 on locations which I also don’t regret for the most part, and $200ish on crafty, which we definitely needed to spend.

EDIT: I totally lied about the Zoom. It was definitely our second biggest, expense, but INSURANCE. We had insurance. It cost us $1400. I don’t regret it because our contracts required it, but it SUCKED. A lot. We never used it, but we had to have it.

Least: Lights! We found cheap LED lights on Amazon for about $20 for 4, ordered two sets, and they came with gels, tapped 'em to walls, propped them on tables-- served us well!

(Reese Hayes) #6

On my web series, Half Bath, we spent $1000 on food for a 9 day shoot. I was actually quite impressed that I fed people every day for that amount of money and since I wasn’t paying them, I fed them well.

The score was surprisingly cheap. I was quoted for $1000 for 15 minutes of original music, but the composer cut me some slack and only charged $600. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

One thing I learned on that project, is that I could definitely do it again cheaper, but it would have been a much less pleasant experience!

(steve) #7

perhaps this is a different topic but are web series makers expected to pay union actors the same day rates they’d be making on a low budget feature?? seems to me there should be a separate wage category for webisode actors considering the ultra low budgets.

(Bri Castellini) #8

If you’re working with union rates or on a union project, there’s a SAG new media category that does account for the lower overall budgets (or presumed lower overall budgets)

(Tim Firtion) #9

Depending on your budget, I’d choose to work with only non-union actors. This is because the pay rate/shooting hours for non-union actors is completely up to the producer and actor. There are no restrictions that need to be legally adhered to and you get more wiggle room as a result. Besides, there are just as many non-union actors that are just as good (if not better) than union actors. Also, depending on your directorial skills, you can even cast friends and family members in key roles. I’ve done this and managed to get award-nominating performances out of people who weren’t even actors to begin with. All that said, it ultimately comes down to your skills as a director, your budget, and the quality of your screenplay. A good actor can give a bad performance just like a mediocre actor can give a good performance. Hope this helps!

(steve) #10

Thanks for the responses. That’s helpful. SAG defines these projects as “Free ad supported platforms”. However I wonder what they would do in a situation where you opt in for ad revenue. You might end up making 20$ total and still be expected to pay a higher union fee. I agree it’s not worth using SAG actors in this case but i live in NYC and most of my friends who are actors are in one union or another.

(Marc Unger) #11

Depending on what it is you’re shooting, I would highly recommend the SAG New media contract. It allows you to offer SAG actors whatever contract you want so union rates don’t apply. Can even do deferred pay. As for using non vs. Union… on our series Thespian we used both. It’s fairly easy to get around having to use SAG actors as long as you fill out the proper Taft-Hartley forms and write a satisfactory reason for why you cast a non SAG actor in that role. You basically write it in a way that suggests you did look for a SAG actor but none fit the bill. I’m in SAG so maybe I’m biased and I definitely agree that you can find extremely talented non union actors. Also, because SAG now allows people with enough background work to join the union, things are a bit watered down. That said, having access to SAG talent is a big plus and allows you to widen the net in a big way. If you watch the trailer for our series or even the clips you can find at our web series, I think you’ll find that all the actors who really stood out were SAG. Just my two cents.