How Do I Make My Movie? Do I Need a Movie Budget For Film Financing?



How Do I Make My Movie?  I think one of the most common questions any filmmaker would ask is “how do I make my movie”?  As a seasoned film producer I can only imagine the immense frustration of a novice movie producer contemplating this question.


Even with years of experience the question remains the most fundamental.   You would not be alone in wondering what is the pragmatic answer to this complex problem.   Millions and more to come will ponder this question.   As a film producer with twenty-five years of experience I have a unique perspective on this question.

Do I Need a Movie Budget? The key in my opinion is to focus on the obvious.  Money.  We need financing to make our films and finance is the profession which generates the funding.


So yes, you need a movie budget.   When we talk about a movie budget or a film budget we are referring to the document detailing the costs.  Often people discuss the budget of a movie in general terms.   When filmmakers talk budgets they are referring to the paper budget in most cases I would think.  The answer is a certain yes of course.



Without a movie budget at your disposal the filmmaker is at a loss.  Accurate, custom made budgets are what a financier looks at.    Of course they should be real film budget documentation from a professional line producer.


So How Do I Make My Film?  Here is the secret sauce:  in order to get your film financed you need money.  In order to obtain money you need a plan.

To have a plan you need a budget and a schedule.


With these elements you can get financing for your film.   Most filmmakers do not quite have that clarity.  That is the issue and why I created to help everyone on this issue.


It may seem basic once someone has advised you however the most difficult task is the one contemplated in an apparent absence of understanding of the basic mechanics required to achieve results.


My name is Jack Binder and I am a producer of feature films including ‘Reign Over Me’ with Adam Sandler and ‘The Upside of Anger’ with Kevin Costner.


I founded Film Budget Inc.  and the website to solve this divide in a fun way that lets me meet a great deal of movie directors, producers, writers, actors, studio executives and creative people of all types worldwide.


My budgets are accurate and proven, by myself for the major studios, independent film companies and international film finance providers.   I have been using film tax credits since the early nineties and helped write the Michigan film tax incentive (where I am from although I am based in Los Angeles and operate worldwide.)


Please feel free to contact me at regarding your film production, film budgeting, incentives, film finance plans or if you need a production consultant or advisor for your film or television production.


My Producer Credits can be found here

Thank you,


Jack Binder


Film Budget | European Film Festival in China 2011


Europe is marketing its movies to China and apparently, the Chinese are loving it!


Such is the success of the annual European Union Film Festival in China that the event, which is now its fourth year, could be expecting greater numbers than ever before!  Last year, the event expanded to showcase films in three Chinese cities and according to EU Ambassador Markus Ederer, the number of moviegoers increased from 5,000 attendees in 2008 up to 13,000 in 2010.


What: European Union Film Festival


When: November 1st – 30th 2011


Where: Beijing and two other cities in China (TBA)


The film festival, organized by the Delegation of the European Union to China and supported by the Embassy of Poland,  invited all 27 EU Member States to showcase one recent, popular and successful film.


The organizers of the festival hope that the event will increase the appreciation of European films and culture among the Chinese, hence paving the way for the possibility of importing European movies into China in the future.


The films screened at this year’s festival include a diverse mix of local flavors and a wide-range of genres from comedies and dramas to documentaries. Moviegoers can view their films of choice in commercial theatres as well as in cultural institutions.


Among this year’s selections are some of the following European picks:


France – “The Piano Turner”


Denmark – “Aching Hearts”


Italy – “20 Cigarettes”


Portugal –  “Beauty and the Paparazzo”


Each film is screened in its original language with English and Chinese subtitles.


Meanwhile, the European Film Academy has unveiled its nominations for the 2011 European Film Awards. You can see a full list of the nominees on their official website –


Winners will be announced in a December 3rd ceremony in Berlin.




Film Budget | The international leader in worldwide film budgeting and scheduling production services for film finance, production incentives and film tax credits.




Film Budget .com | American Film Market (AFM) 2011 Film Finance and International Sales Roundup

American Film Market (AFM) 2011 Round-Up


The 2011 American Film Market is winding down at the moment and as promised, this year’s event is proving to be quite a success!   Though film financing remains a difficult proposition, projects with the right combination of well known talent, directors and strong marketing prospects funding is on the rise in combination with lenders, equity, gap,  film tax credits, co-productions, government funding and incentives.   The market is indeed hungry for quality films to distribute with solid packages, a film budget with a reasonable recoupment potential and name talent is the constant mantra.


Here are a list of some the deals that were made at this year’s AFM:  (updates forthcoming as we write)


* IM-Global takes rights to ‘The Sister’ for Europe, Latin America


* Universal Pictures International Entertainment has picked up rights to Content Film’s ‘Hard Boiled Sweets’ for the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Benelux and Scandinavia


* Drafthouse Films has picked up crime drama ‘Bullhead’ and raucous comedy ‘Clown’, for distribution in North America


* Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has picked up domestic distribution rights to ‘Bel Ami’, from Protagonist Pictures. The company also picked up comedy ‘Bailout’ starring Jack Black, for multiple territories including North America, South America and Scandinavia.




* FiGa Films has picked up ‘The Last Christeros’ (Los ultimos cristeros) by Matias Meyer, which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival (link to blog on Toronto Film Festival), and ‘Machete Language’, directed by Kyzza Terrazas, which had its world premiere in Venice.


* FilmDistrict has acquired ‘Drive’ the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed film adaptation of James Sallis’ suspense-themed novel


* Sierra Pictures announced the acquisition of ‘Rampart’, a crime thriller starring Woody Harrelson. The company also picked up comedy ‘Darling Companion’, which stars Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton.


* Tiberius Film has picked up a trio of horror sequels – ‘Piranha 3D’, ‘Children of the Corn: Genesis’ and ‘Hellraiser: Revelations’ for the German market.


* Exclusive Media Group picks up international rights for ensemble drama ‘Disconnect’


* Lightning Entertaiment picked up 7 films including ‘Brake’, ‘Columbus Circle’ and ‘Wrath’, making their world premiere debut at the AFM. The other films are ‘Boy Wonder’, ‘Bloodwork’, ‘The Trouble with Bliss’ and ‘Scents sand Sensibility’


* Wild Bunch acquired the international rights to Academy-Award winner Geoffrey Fletcher’s directorial debut ‘Violet & Daisy’


* Los Angeles-based film production, financing and foreign-sales company Unified Pictures has entered into a three-movie deal with Vancouver-headquartered production-finance group Bron Studios




Announcements of major financings include:


* Exclusive will finance Matt Damon’s ‘Yesterday’ with Focus Features handling U.S.


* Endgame Entertainment announced the creation of Endgame Releasing, to provide as much as $500 million in funding for marketing and distribution of four to six wide release movies per year through major studios. One of the first movies to tap into the fund will be the movie ‘Looper’  starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.


* W2 Media has come on to co-finance and distribute ”The Theatre Bizarre 2,” a sequel to Severin Films and Mataluna Prods.’ ”The Theater Bizarre” horror anthology.


* Green Isle Entertainment has entered into an initial $60 million dollar multiple picture financing agreement for film budgets with Allegiance Capital Corp.


* IM Global to finance $20 million action-drama ‘Hummingbird’.


These are just a few of the ‘official’ announcements. With the AFM still underway, many more similar announcements are anticipated in the coming days. With deals being made fast and furious – don’t miss your chance to catch a piece of the  action! For more information on this year’s AFM, check out the blog on is the international leader in worldwide film budget and schedule line producer film budgeting production services.  Film finance and camera ready movie budget and schedule packages.


Michigan Film Tax Incentives Economic and Fiscal Impact Report

Ernst & Young just released their analysis of the film tax incentives program in Michigan.    It is titled “Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the Michigan Film Tax Credit” February 2011.

The report was commissioned by the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Traverse City, Michigan organizations.

The Fiscal Impact Report clearly states what the proponents have been stating:  the film tax incentives work, creating a thriving and job creating industry.   The Michigan film industry has grown enormously since its creation in 2008.    The study finds an economic output ratio of $6 of activity for every $1 of film tax credit.  This has translated into an $812 Million successful return for the State of Michigan on a net outlay of $127 Million.    The incentives have created over 6,000 jobs and attracted major feature film and television production to a state badly in need of investment.

Read the entire Ernst & Young “Fiscal Impacts of the Michigan Film Tax Credits” report.

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Film Budgets | Section 181 Federal Film Tax Incentive Renewed

President Obama signed into law on Friday, December 17, 2010 a tax package which contains the extension of Section 181 in the form of Section 744.   Qualifying productions included film and television production, audiovisual, dvd programs which were produced in 2009, 2010 and which have film budgets of $15 Million or less and those which will be produced in 2011.

Section 181

Section 181 provides for a 100% tax write-off for a film equity investor in entertainment productions as opposed to the standard three year staggered write-off.   Know as the ‘Runaway Production” tax bill, Section 181 helps film budgets with its benefit of allowing investors to take advantage of the 100% write-off.

Film Tax Incentives

The write-off of film tax incentive can be combined the many state film tax incentive programs around the country:  Michigan, New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia, etc.    Combining such film tax credits with Section 181 can contribute a substantial return to your investors which you may offer them which can be very enticing to a film financier.    The government wisely realized that helping financiers focus their film investments locally can improve the film industry in the USA and was designed to help fight the flight overseas, particularly to Canada which was growing as producers sought lower production costs and the previously lower Canadian dollar exchange rate.

Film Budgets

In todays economy and tight credit market film budgets are much more under scrutiny if able to be found at all!  Film finance is at its tightest point in decades, if not a generation.   While is the global leader in worldwide film budgets and schedules we also figure the most advantageous place to shoot a movie or television production taking into account the local labor scenario, the best film tax incentives and of course the highest production value which the particular setting may offer.