If we can catch a filmmaker before they’ve even finished writing or reading the script for their film, we urge them to think about budget like a nagging parent. But we’re specific about what for, and it’s usually the areas that get forgotten. They are…



They’re the staple for one of our services, but it’s also an area that’s the last thing on your mind when you’re prepping to make a film. The film gets done, you’re rushing through post-production whilst juggling everything else… And then it becomes an area of begrudging reluctance when you have to pay for both the above. Like handing over your share of monies for a meal you didn’t really enjoy. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Focus on what you want, focus on what you need, then create. Always have a clear vision of what you want to do with the film after. Pull in favours where you can to get cheaper (or free!) exhibition copies – but think about it in advance. You know that mate who owes you a favour that works in a post house? Even if they don’t owe you a favour, owe them a favour in return. You know that £50 you’re owed from someone? That last job you’re doing for someone? Think about putting the funds towards submission fees and exhibition copies.


“Everyone should have a high-quality Quicktime of their film, as well as DVD files. This is crucial and is a basic filmmaking rule that everyone should adhere to. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised.” – Festival Formula Nugget To Remember


With exhibition copies it varies from which area of the circuit you’re aiming for and is also individual to each festival. For example for the vast majority of animation and experimental festivals they’ll accept files over an FTP or a file-transfer website such aswetransfer.com. Lots of festivals now will screen a media file, but some places will only screen HDCAMs or Digibetas. If you’re to look at BAFTA/Academy affiliated festivals they’ll vary from only screening DCP, needing a NTSC rather than PAL, screening from a DVD, 35mm only, or a digital file. Like we said, it really does vary and it’s something you should be aware of.


We’re not saying get the full range of everything on offer because that’s expensive – but think ahead so you’re not having to stump up large amounts of cash last minute. That is never a good feeling. Neither is feeling like you’re spending money carelessly on submitting your film to places. Have at least an idea about where you’d like to submit, or maybe a deadline you’re aiming towards (we know a lot of filmmakers who aim for Edinburgh International Film Festival and Cannes). Just think about it. It’s easier to work with a budget that you can stick to or progress with, than no budget and no plan at all.

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