Major Hollywood Studio, Independent, HBO, Film Producer, Executive Producer, Line Producer, DGA UPM & Film Finance Executive FilmBudget.com Founder Jack Binder

Major Hollywood Studio, Independent, HBO Producer, Executive Producer, Line Producer, DGA UPM & Film Finance Executive, FilmBudget.com Founder Jack Binder

I began my career producing comedy concerts in Detroit with my brother, then stand-up comedian and now successful Writer/Director of feature films and television, Mike Binder. Following a slew of successful comedy concerts around Michigan, we raised financing to film the concert at the Fisher Theater in Detroit and eventually sold it to HBO with the help of comedian George Carlin.

Moving to Los Angeles, I started from the bottom and worked my way up on several HBO shows including “Robin Williams Live at The Met”, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “Not Necessarily the News”.

I went to work on ‘Coupe de Ville’ as PA and then Assistant UPM which Mike wrote and was directed by Joe Roth (former Chairman of Twentieth Century Fox & Disney.)

Answering an ad in Variety I became the Assistant to Academy Award Oscar Winning Producer Michael Phillips (‘The Sting’, ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’) rising to Vice President of Creative Affairs for his production company while producing feature films for the film arm of HBO.

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Setting off into independent production I joined back with my brother Mike again Co-Producing ‘Crossing the Bridge’ (Josh Charles, Jason Gedrick, Stephen Baldwin) which was picked-up by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. There we scored an On-the-Lot deal, engaged to Produce and Mike to direct ‘Indian Summer’ starring Alan Arkin, Diane Lane, Kevin Pollak, Julie Warner, Elizabeth Perkins and Bill Paxton.

Damon Wayans contacted us to make ‘Blankman’ and we moved over to Columbia Pictures to make that film with a $30 million film budget and substantial vfx for the time. (The animated opening title sequence was something we were really happy with – a throwback to the ‘Batman’ tv series opening.) This began a long relationship with Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Following this stage in our career we launched back into the indie film world, raising film finance to fund the comedy film ‘The Sex Monster’ (Mariel Hemingway, Mike Binder), ‘Londinium’ (Colin Firth, Stephen Fry), ‘The Search for John Gissing’ (Alan Rickman, Alan Corduner, Juliet Stevenson). These were all shot in London and began a long term relationship with British film, England and London filmmaking.

Partial Cast of Films Produced by Jack Binder, FilmBudget.com Founder

Partial Cast of Films Produced by Jack Binder, FilmBudget.com Founder

I then Produced and Mike created, wrote and directed ‘The Mind of the Married Man’ (Mike Binder, Sonya Walger, Kate Walsh, Jake Webber, Taylor Nichols) for HBO which ran for two seasons (they balked and then wished to make a third season but we were off back into feature film.)

This lead to our raising film financing for ‘Man About Town’ (Ben Affleck, John Cleese, Rebecca Romijn) and ‘The Upside of Anger’ (Kevin Costner, Joan Allen, Kerri Russell, Even Rachel Wood, Erica Christensen) which New Line Cinema picked-up.

Returning to Sony / Columbia Pictures I Produced ‘Reign Over Me’ starring Adam Sandler in a dramatic role, Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler and Donald Sutherland. The film shot in New York and Los Angeles.

Following this I helped write the Michigan Film Tax Incentive with the Governor of Michigan and the Legislature. I created Michigan Film Production Company and brought films from around the world and the country to shoot in Michigan until the current Governor shut down the program which launched thousands of film careers and the revitalized the industry in Michigan, making the state one of the leaders in US filmmaking for a short period.

Moving on I Executive Produced ‘Tomorrow’ with Martin Scorsese which is in post-production. I continue producing films worldwide with several movies in finance and casting stages at this writing.

I am currently Producing ‘Dionne’ – the story of Dionne Warwick during her period as the voice of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

I founded FilmBudget.com in the late 90s to assist fellow filmmakers in obtaining film finance by creating a real, accurate film budget and Film Finance Plans to help make my colleagues investor ready. After seeing so many productions fail at the finance level, I determined that having a quality film budget was key to getting the green light so many films require to move into production.

I created the film budget and schedule for all of my movies and have always been on budget and on schedule, working with studio executives and creatives alike to obtain the highest quality at the lowest cost. I put all of this knowledge into every budget I create. Likewise I provide film production consulting services for select filmmakers interested in my experience and expertise in film production, film tax credits, budgeting and film finance plans.

I continue to Produce and consult via my international production company Greentrees Films.

Additionally I am a film finance and production consultant for several companies and individuals, including the former Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers Structured Finance, Omeira Studio Partners (for which I am the Producer Strategic Partner) and Rockwood Financial for which I am a Strategic Film & Entertainment Partner.

Contact me via FilmBudget.com to obtain a quote on services for real film budgeting on your movie or tv series, special or film.

Good luck in filmmaking!

All the best,

Jack

Jack Binder

Producer

Founder of FilmBudget.com

Founder of FilmBudget.com

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Top 4 Critical Elements For Film Finance

The Top 4 Critical Elements For Film Finance

Times are changing as always in the world of film finance. Today it is just as difficult as ever, if not more so, to obtain financing for your film.

Filmmakers must be aware of the challenges and be armed with current information in order to attract funding for their movie production goals. So here are the top four critical elements required based upon realtime, real world analysis by FilmBudget.com Founder Producer Jack Binder (Reign Over Me, The Upside of Anger, The Mind of the Married Man)

An Amazing Screenplay

An amazing screenplay is fundamental to getting finance for your film. Likewise it is necessary to attracting the remaining three critical elements.

Notice I did not say “good”, or “great”. This might have sufficed in the past however in today’s market and competition for limited film finance resources your screenplay must be amazing!

Once you have established a good or great screenplay is in hand, you must run it by your most observant colleagues, friends and family to obtain honest criticism to enable you to improve the script to its utmost potential. Writing is rewriting and before you do anything else – make it Amazing!

An Outstanding Team

Investors not only look to an amazing screenplay in which to invest but they are also looking for an outstanding team. Surround yourself with established and successful filmmakers whom augment your credentials.

This includes an experienced director and producer. An experienced director is recognized as showing a track record in delivering on the writer’s vision. They are deemed competent to bring your story to the screen based upon past success.

Likewise an experienced producer is extremely important in building confidence in your film. Investors look to the producer as the manager of the production and someone who has the knowledge and understanding of the filmmaking and movie industry process.

Together these two collaborators bring a sense of comfort and reliability to your production. Again investors invest as much in a team as they do the idea, story and screenplay.

Strong Cast Attachments

Now more than ever independent film production is driven by cast. With the above elements in place the likelihood of securing top talent is formidably increased.

Finance, international (foreign) sales and distribution are fundamentally driven by the cast committed to your movie. Of course, these must be real and verifiable involvements and not wishful thinking.

The stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

Some of the talented stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

An Accurate and Realistic Film Budget

The fourth and perhaps most important aspect of securing film financing for your motion picture is a realistic and accurate film budget. Knowing and demonstrating your knowledge and comprehension of the costs of bringing the production to market is a basic factor in a financiers decision to fund.

Your film budget, created by an industry professional line producer or unit production manager, will speak volumes to your investors as to your appreciation of the complexities of finding the right balance in the expense of creating the product. Your budget represents a roadmap to the production for yourself and the investor.

As the industry consolidates upon viable productions, your movie budget determines your awareness of the current market value of your production. Finding the right balance of high production value for the lowest cost is the direct purview of the knowledgeable and experienced line producer engaged in budgeting your film.

In Conclusion

Combining the above four critical elements of obtaining film finance will put your movie and your production goals at the head of the line in attracting investment. Money has become much smarter over the recent years and is increasingly risk adverse.

By arming yourself with these fundamental elements you are putting you and your team in a much better position to achieve success than only having one or a few of these in order.

Contact FilmBudget.com to discuss your production, budget, development, production and finance requirements. Our services include budgeting, scheduling, consulting, film finance business plans, film tax credits analysis, creative producer and line producing services.

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The 5 Steps To Creating a Professional Film Budget for Your Movie | FilmBudget.com Worldwide

5 Steps to Creating a Professional Film Budget for Your Movie

Creating a film budget for a feature film or a television show is a time honored tradition and craft of the Line Producer or Unit Production Manager. Using extensive experience in making films over many years the process draws on skills learned during these years of production and filmmaking.

To create a film or tv budget Line Producers and Production Managers apply their knowledge and process to create a real film budget and schedule which is used by financiers, investor, banks, film tax credit authorities, foreign sales companies and distributors to evaluate and execute the vision of the screenwriter and the director in coordination with the goals of the producer.

Here are the steps undertaken in creating a professional film budget & schedule:

1. Screenplay Reading – Creative Pass

The screenplay or teleplay is read for creative value and consideration first in order to take on the story, characters, dialogue and plot of the script.

The stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

The stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

2. Screenplay Reading – Production Pass

A second reading is undertaken to evaluate the script from a production viewpoint. Attention is paid to the overall elements, setting and style of the work.

3. Screenplay Breakdown

The next step is a complete breakdown of the total production and creative elements in the screenplay which are required to bring the production to life. Key considerations include bringing experience to bear to determine what the budget level for the picture will fall into: big budget major studio, indie film budget, low-budget or micro budget.

Cast – What level of cast does the story and production call for? How many? Will the highest level of stars be required or a variety of talent levels.

Setting/Locations – Using the Setting as a guide, location considerations are analyzed. Are there multiple countries? Multiple cities? Are there a large amount of locations or is the screenplay contained in its requirement?

Set Dressing – Is it Period? Will it require extensive Set Dressing components or will existing decorations be utilized and sufficient to achieve the vision?

Costumes/Wardrobe: Again, Period? Large Cast and various time periods which will affect the scope and amount of wardrobe required?

Special Effects: Are there needs for extensive Practical Effects (SFX)? Stunts? Pyro-technics? Mechanical rigging?

Transportation – Are there specific Transportation requirements? Travel? Picture Vehicles? Animals? to consider?

Post Production – Is the film, movie or television series heavy in VFX and CGI? Where will post production take place?

The list goes on to include all the departments and which are required to fulfill to requirements of the production. These are a few of the many, many considerations and preliminary decisions which must be analyzed during the screenplay breakdown process.

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4. Create the Shooting Schedule

Based upon the Breakdown and the analysis of the screenplay elements a Shooting Schedule is then created. A veteran and seasoned Line Producer or Production Manager will have great experience in creating and delivering productions based upon their Shooting Schedules which they have created over the course of time and which they have consulted and executed with the First Assistant Director and Director of their films.

  • Each day is scheduled according to the scene work balance of the overall schedule.
  • Best practices and knowledge gained over years of experience guide the creation of a realistic and efficient plan for the work to be done.
  • Scene descriptions are included in the Stripboard Shooting Schedule to guide the crew.
  • Character Identifications are included to advise what Cast members are working each day

Using the above information a Cast Schedule can be created indicating the amount and which days the Cast work. Likewise Locations Schedule and all unique equipment (cranes, rigs, steadicam, etc.) days are included in the Master Shooting Schedule.

5. Creating the Film Budget

Once these processes are undertaken we are ready to commence with the actual film budgeting for the movie. With the above information in hand realistic budgets can then be created.

Knowing the scope and scale of the production will guide this step. Is it a big budget requirement, low budget or micro-budget or somewhere in between? Is this a Major Studio movie or an independent film production? These are critical factors in the creation of the budget.

Based upon the Setting and Locations envisioned for the picture then the best production center is chosen to shoot the film. The budget will consider these factors in selecting the ideal location to base the production.

Creative consideration is the top priority: can we shoot what the screenplay calls for in this particular region, country and city?

Production viability is then determined. Is there a sufficient film production crew base at this location? Will crew members need to be transported to this location? Is there adequate production support for equipment, materials and services? Hotels?, etc.

Next, finance consideration is analyzed. Assuming the best location is chosen for the creative and production value, what local film tax credit or production incentive is offered by this geographical area?

Countries worldwide offer film tax credits and incentives to film in their region. U.S. States likewise offer lucrative film tax incentives to draw production dollars and generate economic impact in their locales. Your film financier will most definitely consider and insist upon this as a key factor in choosing a location to shoot the movie or tv program.

Based upon these factors, with the right location chosen to shoot, the costs are then calculated.

What are the local crew rates?

What are the local materials and services needed and how much do they cost?

What are the costs of getting the cast and crew to the location?

All of these decisions are evaluated and the studio or indie film budget process gets down to the nitty-gritty of evaluating the costs of each element involved in the production. Cast fees, location expenses, production crew, logistics, travel, permits, etc. are included.

All productions are unique and each must be analyzed individually. The overriding goal is the create the greatest production value for the most efficient price.

Once these matters are analyzed and included based upon extensive experience the final step is to ensure inclusion of all expenses, including: Completion Bond, Insurance, Contingency, Finance Costs, Union and Guild Health & Pension costs, Cast Perks, etc. to create a realistic budget for the movie production.

While this is a summary of the work and knowledge that goes into the film budget process it is certainly not complete but should give an approximate overview of the process.

Financiers, Producers, investors, government institutions, production companies and sales companies rely on the accuracy of the work of the Line Producer or Production Manager to effectively and precisely understand and present the true cost of bringing the film to the screen. Small errors can compound to create enormous gaps in the overall financing of the film which can seriously impact the completion and delivery to distributors and therefore returns to investors.

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Contact FilmBudget.com to obtain an instant quote on your film for a professional film budget and schedule, film tax credits and production incentives analysis and Film Finance Plans for your production.

Film Budget Inc. has created hundreds of budget and schedule packages for individuals, the Major Hollywood Studios, Mini Majors and independent production companies, financiers, investors and banks in addition to all of those of our own projects.

Jack Binder is Major Studio and Indie Film Producer with over 25 years of experience and the Founder of FilmBudget.com

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Jack has served as an On-the-Lot Producer at The Walt Disney Company and Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment) and as the responsible Producer on productions for those Studios as well as New Line Cinema, Lionsgate Films, HBO, Sunlight Productions and many more major and independent film and tv production companies.

Binder’s international film production company is Greentrees Films

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FilmBudget.com Founder & Producer Jack Binder Producer Credits

Producer Credits for Producer Jack Binder Founder of FilmBudget.com & Greentrees Films

Producer Credits for Producer Jack Binder Founder of FilmBudget.com & Greentrees Films

Actress Keri Russell, one of the stars of the new comedic drama film "The Upside of Anger," poses as she arrives for the film''s premiere in Los Angeles, March 3, 2005. The film stars Joan Allen who plays a suburban housewife with four young adult daughters who is left to raise them on her own, but soon falls in love with a neighbor played by Kevin Costner. The film opens in Los Angeles and New York March 11. REUTERS/Fred Prouser PREMIERE

Actress Keri Russell, one of the stars of the new comedic drama film “The Upside of Anger,” poses as she arrives for the film”s premiere in Los Angeles. The film stars Joan Allen who plays a suburban housewife with four young adult daughters who is left to raise them on her own, but soon falls in love with a neighbor played by Kevin Costner. The film opens in Los Angeles and New York March 11. REUTERS/Fred Prouser PREMIERE

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Top 10 Movie Grosses vs. Film Budget for Independent & Major Studio Releases 2014

FilmBudget.com compiled a report of the top ten indie film and major Hollywood studio movie grosses vs. the film budget for each listed movie released in 2014. While the film budget is not a direct correlation to the success of a movie it does provide an indicator of what the marketplace is responding to as compared to the relevant budget number.

Gross revenue figures are for domestic U.S. theatrical box office data which are current as of the date of this writing.  By using up-to-date figures the date of release is removed as a variable in the reporting of domestic theatrical revenue totals.

To create a breakdown of cost vs. revenue we looked at the widely reported expense of making the film production. P&A Marketing and release expenses are not included in the budget information provided.

Independent Film Release 2014 – Film Budget vs. U.S. Box Office Gross To Date

Indie Film Title                              Film Budget                   U.S Box Office Gross

The Grand Budapest Hotel              $31 million                            $59 million

St. Vincent                                       $13 million                            $43 million

Chef                                                 not available                         $31 million

Boyhood                                          $  4 million                            $24 million

Birdman                                           $22 million                            $24 million

The Theory of Everything                 $15 million                            $23 million

The Imitation Game                         $15 million                            $20 million

Wild                                                $38 million                            $38 million

A Most Wanted Man                       $15 million                            $17 million

Begin Again                                    $ 8 million                             $16 million

 

Major Hollywood Studio Release 2014 Movie Budget vs. Box Office Gross To Date

Movie Title                                                       Movie Budget     U.S. Box Office Gross

Guardians of the Galaxy                                       $170M                 $330M

The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay – Part 1           $125M                 $337M

Captain America: The Winter Soldier                   $170M                 $260M

The Lego Movie                                                  $  60M                 $258M

Transformers: Age of Extinction                          $210M                 $245M

Maleficent                                                           $180M                 $241M

X-Men: Days of Future Past                                $200M                 $234M

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies                  $250M                 $255M

Big Hero 6                                                          $165M                 $222M

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes                          $170M                 $209M

 

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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 filmbudget.com 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 http://filmbudget.com 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 http://filmbudget.com/contact.shtml 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

Producer/Founder

FilmBudget.com

 

 

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