The Film Budget

The budget for a film or television production falls under the responsibility of the Unit Production Manager (UPM)

The budget contains three main sections: 

  • The Top Sheet
  • Above the Line Items
  • Below the Line Items

The Top Sheet is a one-page summary of the full budget by sections.

Above-the-Line” items include:

  • Story Rights
  • The Producer’s Unit
  • The Director’s Unit
  • The Principal Cast
  • Travel & Living Expenses for “Above-the-Line” Cast/Crew

Below-the-Line” items include everything else, including but not limited to:

  • Production Staff
  • Extras & Minor Players
  • Set Design & Construction
  • Special Effects
  • Props
  • Makeup & Hair
  • Wardrobe
  • Grip Dept. & Gear
  • Electrical Dept. & Gear
  • Transportation
  • Location Expenses
  • Animals
  • Vehicles
  • Post-Production
    • Editing
    • Sound Design
    • Marketing
  • Insurance
  • General Expenses

Preview: Film Budget Download

In this preview clip from the Film Production Workshop, Tom goes over a real feature film budget with his students, discussing “Above the Line,” “Below the Line,” and those considerations a Unit Production Manager needs to make when creating a Feature Film Budget.

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For additional film production resources, such as film budgeting, scheduling, storyboarding and screenwriting software, click here.