While video production costs certainly don’t pop up in your head once you’ve finished a film – awards, box office sales, and positive criticism circulating the Net do make you wonder a little.
But remember, money is not everything – quality and content are the kings in films.
Although, there have been films that successfully harmonised large budgets and profits together – such as Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides – with a $379 million budget profiting to about $1 whopping billion.
It’s not always the case for all the films – some didn’t exactly receive that much love from the crowd.
Take King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, for instance, they raised a total sum of $175 million but only ended up to be a major flop – losing around $150 million.
Then again, bringing you back to our previous point – there were some films that still made big bucks even with a low budget – so, don’t ever underestimate its ability!
Now, let’s show what exactly makes up a film – with the bits and pieces that go into the video production costs!
Breakdown of costs
Salaries take up a huge portion of the film budget – and we’ll show you why!
Typically, a makeup artist earns around $48 per hour – or in other words, $75,000 in a year – as stated by The Hollywood Reporter. Or as seen in news.com.au data – a general wage of $60 an hour.
But naturally, with more budget – that yearly wage can go up to $124,000, or even more. On the other hand, the average wage for those moving in and out of the filmmaking scene only earns around $17.79 an hour, based on Payscale.com data.
Or also known as a screenwriter, they’re the ones behind the juicy or otherwise distasteful plot.
Now, don’t be too surprised about their earnings. By now, you should probably know how all the quality content comes from a single script – so, it’s no wonder that they’re getting a huge chunk out of the profits.
As of the 2017 Writers Guild agreement – scriptwriters should receive a minimum of $72,600 for an original script, while adaptations should give them $63,500. However, circumstances are different when well-known scriptwriters like Aaron Sorkin come in – he earns about $3 to $5 million for each script, as according to Hollywood Reporter.
We know – we’ve kept you waiting for this part – after all, who wouldn’t want to know how much money is going into the cast’s pockets?
With all the work that they do to capture the audience’s attention – A-list movie stars are usually the ones taking home the big cut – approximately $15 to $20 million for significant roles in big-budget movies. A famous actor like Seth Rogan profited $8.4 million out of the film, “The Interview” – which only costs $44 million.
Meanwhile, out of the $77.748 million budget for Annie – the entire cast earned around $17.25 million – which translates to 22 percent of the budget. Shocking? Not really, when you think about film enthusiasts who dash into a theatre just to see their favourite actor on the big screen.
Directors are the runner-ups when it comes to profits – but then again – it all comes down to their popularity, or how big the film is going to be.
Generally, directors in-charge of their first-ever big-budget films earn about $500,000, based on Hollywood Reporter. But if you’re lucky like Patty Jenkins who directed the smashing hit, Wonder Woman, your first earning of $1 million will snowball into $8 to $9 million – just like hers did once she agreed to direct the sequel.
Boom operator & Key grip
While they certainly don’t take home as many earnings as the bigger players – what they earn is still pretty decent.
The one whose role is to keep the microphone well-positioned without appearing within the camera frame takes about $37,000 for low-budget movies, $72,000 for the standard films, and accumulated up to $120,625 for movies with a bigger budget, as seen from Hollywood Reporter.
Key grips, on the other hand, have to make sure every single thing is on-the-scene – from dollies, tripods, cameras, and so forth. News.com.au estimates that they earn around $32.50 per hour, or $52,000 in a year for low-budget films. As for big-budget films – it starts around $113,920 and can amount up to $167,000 a year, based on Hollywood Reporter.
Skyrocketing production costs
You’ve heard about the individual salaries of the people behind the film – what about the remaining video production costs?
To help you get a better gauge – we’re going to present “The Crown” – the most expensive television series to be made. Some said that it cost a massive amount of $130 million just to shoot the first season, but series creator Peter Morgan suggests that it’s a more accurate representation of the first two seasons instead, based on the BBC.
Well, the truth is – recreating royal history doesn’t come at a cheap price at all. For just the replica of the Queen’s wedding dress – the costume department had to use $35,000.
Or if you take a look at the 2014 Annie reboot – location and transportation expenses summed up to about $4.5 million and $3.9 million, respectively. As for special effects – $850,000 went into that department.
While it is true that a large sum of money goes into these costs – it’ll never compare to the salaries earned by the cast. After all, most films – particularly fresh movies without a sequel or history – require the help of famous actors and actresses to get ticket sales booming.
The battle is on.
Old is gold – that’s why you see all the classics like Rocky (1976) with only a budget of $1.1 with the ability to bag home $225 million in box office sales – that’s a total of 20,400 percent profit earned, by the way.
Although that figure is indeed impressive – it cannot match up to the hair-raising yet gripping film – Paranormal Activity. Using just $15,000 to put together the film – they managed to earn a total of $193 million.
Now, it’s not the profits that matter here but the returns from the initial budget – the earnings saw a 1,289,000 percentage. That’s history made, indeed.
Movie making scene in Singapore
Ah Boys to Men managed to break the record for the highest-grossing Singapore film back in 2012 – bagging home $6.03 million. Next thing you’re probably thinking about it is how lucky Jack Neo and his production team must be.
Sadly, that is not the case. The cold, harsh reality is that the cinema takes about 40 percent of the movie ticket profits, 7 percent by Goods and Services Tax (GST), followed by 15 percent by the distributor, as said by Eugene Lee, the Director of Business Development & Operations at MM2 Entertainment. Even marketing and advertising took up a substantial portion of the video production costs.
Still, it left them with enough to put together Ah Boys To Men 2.
Simply put, a film in Singapore will require a budget of $700,000 to $800.000, and you’ll need to make three times the sum to guarantee profit returns. In other words, $2.4 million will have to be generated to break even with an $800,000 budget, as said by Lee once more.
All in all – our point is that making a film takes loads of effort, and a large budget is not the sure-proof way of earning back your profit. Your plot, acting, and filming quality has to be top-notch so ticket sales shoot up.
What about video commercials?
These numbers are never really fixed; there are a bunch of contributing factors that make up the final sum – such as crew size, equipment, props, video type, and so forth.
If you want HD quality – you’re going to need a high-quality camera – that means you have to inevitably cough up a bigger budget. Likewise, more renowned actors or actresses are going to demand a higher salary.
The rough gauge we can give is probably a range between $2500 to $10,000. But remember – it really depends on the production house.
What we can only tell you is that the best way for you to arrive at a specific figure is to consult the preferred video production company yourself – they’ll give an accurate quote once you hand over a detailed video production brief.
There’s a reason for everything – just like the steep video production costs you’ve always heard about.
Regardless of whether you have a pocket full of cash or you’re tight on money – either way can get you the outcome you desire as long as you follow through a concise video production process.
At the end of the day, the complete formula is a blend of sufficient video production costs, a gripping plot, alongside other important factors to entice the audience for you to boost views and sales!