Top Tips from Sargent-Disc - Budgeting and Scheduling

Top Tips from Sargent-Disc - Budgeting and Scheduling

Our friends at Sargent-Disc have put together some top tips – useful for when you are putting together a filming schedule and budget. The tips are based on their years of collaborative experience, working with some of the biggest names within the industry.


When putting together your schedule:

  • Always check the set and location availability with the production designer or location manager before you start to put your schedule together.
  • For feature films, schedule to actors. For TV, schedule to sets/locations.
  • Try to schedule night shoots to finish on a Friday to give your crew a weekend off.
  • Try to finish your schedule on location to enable sets to be struck and avoiding unnecessary stage rental costs.
  • Never start a schedule with a love scene – your actors won’t thank you for it!!
  • Link elements together on Movie Magic Scheduling. If a certain cast member always appears on screen with a dog, link them together, so that whenever the cast member is inserted into the schedule, so is the dog.


When you are putting together a budget:

  • Read the script before you start the budget, even if you have a broken down schedule. A ‘village in flames’, for example, can be created using different VFX or SFX techniques.
  • Contingency should be part of your cash flow, not part of the budget. If you put it in the budget it will get spent.
  • Make sure you have enough in the budget for the wrap party, or no-one will thank you.
  • Remember to use the ‘globals’ in Movie Magic Budgeting. If you have a schedule telling you how many weeks prep, shoot and post, then put them straight into the globals. It will save you a lot of time when the schedule changes.
  • Don’t forget to import from Movie Magic Scheduling into Budgeting. The list of characters, numbers of action vehicles etc can all be imported straight in.
  • Use an accountant who knows about tax rules, fringes, national insurance costs etc. It’s an expensive mistake if you get it wrong.
  • For low budget and very low budget films, different agreements may be used for performers. Get your film qualified as such by a production accountant member of the Production Guild.
  • The budget is the financial interpretation of the schedule, but unlike the schedule it is usually cast in stone.

Head on over to their website to find out about introductory and advanced training in Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling with industry professionals. There’s load of other interesting stuff there, too.