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Episode 122 – How to Budget a $12,000 Feature

Noam Kroll has a podcast called “Show Don’t Tell” that’s all about micro budget filmmaking. In episode 14 he goes into detail about how to budget a $12,000 film. It’s essentially a 12-day shoot @ $1,000 a day. This week, we play Noam’s podcast and then talk to him about the ins and outs of shooting an affordable feature film.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.



  • Pay your crew $150/day on average (some get $200 some get $125) Half of budget goes towards crew
  • 5- person crew Director, Producer/1st AD, Sound Record, DP, Production Designer / Makeup Artist
  • Director and Producer work for free and back end points
  • Cast @ $125/day SAG Industry standard for ULB Film
  • Two cast members per day is the key
  • $8,400 for cast and crew
  • $2k for Food $20 per meal x 7 = $140/day = $1,680 for 12 days + Contingency
  • $600 for locations as contingency 


  • What sort of movies do you think you can shoot for $12,000? Can you shoot sci-fi or horror?
  • Do you have any examples of movies shot for $12,000? Is this a theoretical breakdown or have you put it into practice on a feature film?
  • Schedule: On a 12 day shoot what does one shoot day look like?
    • how many pages do you shoot per day?
    • How many setups can a filmmaker expect to get?
  • Shoot Logistics:
    • Lighting: how do you light, is it just your DP figuring it out on their own, does the other crew jump in to help out?
    • Lunch: who’s in charge of lunch? Does that fall under the AD/Producers responsibility? Is it delivery or home made?
    • Managing Talent: Do you ever have scenes with more than two actors, with extras, how do you manage all those people with such a small team?
    • Compromises: What’s the biggest compromise a filmmaker makes working on a shoot of this size? Lighting, time, focus, etc?
    • Challenges: What is your biggest challenge in a production of this size?
    • Minimum Wage: If you are paying people as little as $125 a day, how does that work for minimum wage? Are you just paying people under the table?


Noam Kroll is an LA based film director with a very hands on approach to cinematography and color grading. He has a commercial production house called “Creative Rebellion”, and runs a filmmaking blog.

Check out Noam’s podcast “Show Don’t Tell”:


Noam’s Vimeo Page:

Twitter: noamkroll

Facebook: noamkroll

Upcoming projects: Shadows on the Road 

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