S&B Review

by Matthew Martino

The most overlooked skills in filmmaking are often the most essential. When a burgeoning filmmaker starts to plan his next great movie he get starry eyed as his mind is filled with Hollywood dreams. Yet too many film makers ignore the very real skills of budgeting and scheduling in favor of artistic vision. Without such visionaries, great films would not be made. It is also true that without solid groundwork being laid out, that great vision will never see the big screen. 

Perhaps these skills are overlooked because they are difficult, tedious and time consuming. They seem daunting when a person has little or no experience handling a budget or making a schedule. That is where reelgrok’s Budgeting and Scheduling seminar steps in to help the filmmaker get a handle on his preproduction.

by Matthew Martino

The most overlooked skills in filmmaking are often the most essential. When a burgeoning filmmaker starts to plan his next great movie he get starry eyed as his mind is filled with Hollywood dreams. Yet too many film makers ignore the very real skills of budgeting and scheduling in favor of artistic vision. Without such visionaries, great films would not be made. It is also true that without solid groundwork being laid out, that great vision will never see the big screen. 

Perhaps these skills are overlooked because they are difficult, tedious and time consuming. They seem daunting when a person has little or no experience handling a budget or making a schedule. That is where reelgrok’s Budgeting and Scheduling seminar steps in to help the filmmaker get a handle on his preproduction.

Norman Berns starts with a completed script. He then takes you al the way through the process of looking at each scene and breaking it down piece by piece so that you can create an effective movie schedule. He is careful to point out the pitfalls and mistakes that are common to those with less experience. He uses a real script in order to show you how the words on the page will need to be planned out and executed come shoot time. He even gives tips on allotting rehearsals as well as dealing with directors, actors and producers.

Norman gives very practical advice on how to create a budget. He discusses the need to balance what you ideally want with what you ideally have. He gives tips about dealing with unions, investors and producers. Ultimately, he talks through the process of putting a budget on the page and getting a bottom line. You get the feeling he has seen it all before and wants you to benefit from his experience. 

Another valuable aspect of this seminar is a review of numerous budgeting and scheduling software. If you have ever wondered about such programs as Showbiz Budgeting or Gorrila Scheduling and Budgeting, he extols the virtues and shortcomings of many of the more popular programs out there. He even points you to a few free programs that are out there and warns you that sometimes you get what you pay for.

Along with the seminar, I received numerous useful documents that are sure to help any film maker who hasn’t gone through the long process of gathering a library of resources. These included documents that would help you with dealing with unions such as SAG, IATSI and the Teamsters. What is also useful, are the work books and script examples he provides to make your study in this course easy and easy to reference when you need the information.

Overall, reelgrok’s Breakdown and Scheduling Seminar is a great value to any filmmaker wanting to push his next film forward in a profession and efficient manner. Perhaps these essentials skill will not be overlooked as the dreams of Hollywood race in a filmmakers head if only because they have been demystified and made easy because of this great seminar.