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Podcast – budgets

Screen Australia Project Manager Kelly Vincent walks us through the ins and outs of creating a strong application with an accurate budget.

Kelly Vincent and Caris Bizzaca

Kelly Vincent and Caris Bizzaca (Photo: Scott Gillies)

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, SpotifyStitcher or Pocket Casts

“It all starts with the script.”

This is the first piece of advice from Production Investment's Project Manager, Kelly Vincent, when putting together a budget for a scripted drama* project.

“What’s in the script should be reflected in the budget,” she says. “Are there animals, are there children, how many locations?”

Prior to joining Screen Australia, Kelly worked for near two decades in the industry on projects including Mad Max: Fury Road, Bran Nue Dae and documentary Ice Wars, across roles such as production co-ordinator, production manager and line producer.

At the agency, Kelly works with the Production Investment team to track the budgets, schedules and cost reports of projects that have received funding as they move from pre-production into the shoot and post-production.

For those new to budgets, she suggests starting with a blank AZ budget (which you can find on the Screen Australia website) and adding in every possible cost you can think of. Once you see the total figure and recover from the initial shock, you can begin cutting back costs from that.

“The AZ budgets are a suggestion and a tool. They’re not a bible,” Vincent says. “For emerging filmmakers they can suggest some categories that you may not have thought about. They can be left blank, additional lines can be added in. They’re a tool.”

In this latest podcast episode, Kelly also runs through the meanings of terms such as completion guarantor and contingency, and gives her tips on how to know how much items will cost.

Any project applying for production or completion funding from Screen Australia must include a budget alongside other key documentation such as a script, synopsis and marketing strategy (see the feature film submission checklist as an example). When assessing a project, one of the five criteria is the viability, which directly relates to the budget. As such, an accurate budget is a vital component of any strong application.

*Drama in this sense refers to scripted feature film, television and online of any genre


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