Guide to Film Budgeting Software
Time to read: 5-6 minutes
What is Film Budgeting Software?
Budgeting software controls and automates the budgeting process, ensuring accuracy and preventing overspend. Film budgeting software often comes with industry specific templates and settings. There are two types of film budgeting software; fully integrated where the budget feeds into and flows out of the production process, or schedule linked where the budget is born from an automated schedule that the system creates out of a script.
Let’s start with the big boys. If you’re a production house with five or more employees you should consider investing in Procim. Procim automates a lot of the paper pushing processes involved in film production, such as creating budget estimate revisions during the commissioning phase. Everything begins with and feeds into the budget. Actual costs are seen instantly, so producers and production assistants can see exactly how much is left to spend as and when it’s available. Automated cost reporting gives production teams immediate reconciliation powers. Current spend is put line by line against budgeted items so budget overspends are stopped in their tracks. With industry and business specific templates the budgeting process is both speedy and accurate. Procim controls costs, prevents budgeting errors and improves workflow all from a multi-user, multi-currency platform.
Benefits: Instant visibility of actual costs against budgeted items.
Down side: Minimum 5 users.
If you’re reading this and you are a seasoned freelancer working in production, I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to say. Movie Magic is industry standard, and it has been for a long time. Movie Magic could do with a whole new revamp, however, what would be the point when it still does a great job at what it says on the box. The budgeting system isn’t very comprehensive, but there’s a reason everyone swears by their scheduling. If Movie Magic has burnt and frustrated you to the point of no return, give Gorilla a try. From what we can tell, they’re more proactive in system updates and improvements. Gorilla also provide a trial period which Movie Magic don’t and they’re cheaper.
Benefits: Integrated scheduling. Budgets get a head start.
Down side: Limited budgeting capabilities. Budget overruns often happen.
You need food, you need water and you need to pay your rent, you do not necessarily need film budgeting software. All budgets are tight, but none more so than homemade indie projects. It’s more than that though. At some point in your career, or rather, at many points in your career, you’re probably going to be asked to present a budget in a spreadsheet. There is absolutely no point in spending your money on something that is going to stop you from learning a valuable and necessary skill. Depending on the type of film, your budget may have to come from your schedule. As that’s the standard practice in film, you should start learning how to tear a script apart, create a schedule from it and then convert that into a budget. Learn to do all this in a spreadsheet, or with pens, rulers and highlighters, then consider moving on to software.
Benefits: Getting to grips with the industries way of budgeting for free.
Down side: No security measures in place to prevent budgeting mistakes.