The average salary of an average indie film is $1,400 a week. However, due to the small indie production, most films can only survive if they are supported at a high level to get the film produced. With very modest funding, a film can only survive about 50% of the time. Even if you are successful, the odds of making your film financially viable are quite slim. In order to get this film made, you must have a solid team of collaborators, all of which are volunteers.
How does film production make money?
Many people assume film production is solely made up of the screenwriter, producer, sound engineer and director. This is not always the case! Production is a collaboration of almost every single person involved.
Producers are people who bring in money to ensure the project gets made and gets out into the world.
“I’ve produced an average of about 500 movies a year over the last 30 years. I’ve been involved in every phase of the process from setting up the shoot, to casting, to shooting the film, to marketing…”—Josh Marshall, Independent Filmmaker
The producer also helps in the editing of the film, and oversees the project’s financial management.
The director is the one who gets the money that will actually be making the movie and is ultimately responsible for the overall creative direction of the film.
“It is the director of the film who is ultimately responsible for a budget and it is the director’s job to know how far they want the film to go and how he wants the film to end. …The director is the one who has the final say on everything.”—Josh Marshall, Independent Filmmaker
The director’s job is to set the tone for the story and provide some direction on the direction the film should take.
There are no real technical requirements to the sound engineer for an indie film—they are largely chosen because they are a great storyteller and have the skills to create amazing sounds that will be heard on the big screen.
“No one really knows what it costs to get a good sound on the screen. …A good sound designer, and not only someone that knows how to create sounds in a practical way, but someone who can also handle the idea that things will be heard on the big screen. There is a certain degree of skill to get that right so the audience is going to be happy.”—Josh
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