How Much Does it Cost to Shoot a Short Film_

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How Much Does it Cost to Shoot a Short Film?

Shooting a short film can cost just as much as a Hollywood production if you’re not budget conscious or if you fail to plan accordingly. If you’re considering short film production, you’re probably wondering, “How much does it cost to shoot a short film?” When money is an issue, budgeting is key to short film production. We’re breaking down the expected costs associated with shooting a short film and what you can do to stay on a safe, budget-friendly track.

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Freelance vs. Professional


First, shooting a short film can have a range of potential expected costs. If you’re going to freelance the project, you may get away with shooting the film for a few thousand dollars. Likewise, if you’re planning on a professional production, you should expect to pay something closer to at least $1,000 per finished minute and this rate can easily go up if you start to incorporate multiple shoot locations, multiple cameramen, or dramatic highly technical scenes.



The cost to shoot a short film will typically be as much, or as little, as you have to spend. Short films can sometimes be shot in a single day with a single cameraman, costing you just a few hundred bucks. More elaborate productions can take multiple days, span several locations, require multiple vehicle rentals and film crew travel expenses as well as various other fees that can cause the production budget to increase substantially.

The cost to shoot a short film with a professional crew will include:

  • Film Director – >$250 per hour
  • Script Writer – >$150 per hour
  • Cameraman – >$400 per hour
  • Editor – >$175 per hour
  • Actors – >$500 per hour
  • Equipment – up to 100s per hour
  • Studio Shooting – up to $400 per hour
  • Narrator – >$400 per hour
  • Audio Files – up to $1000
  • Video Rendering – up to $75 per hour
  • B-Roll – expect to pay a percentage between 10 and 50% of your total cost
  • Miscellaneous Fees – can cost very little up to 1000s extra

Keep in mind that you may be able to cut costs on some of these if you wear multiple hats. For example, you could play scriptwriter, producer, and possibly the actor if you’ve got the talent to do so. Likewise, you may save on equipment by keeping shots to a minimum and not involving substantially technical shoots that require things like a crane or a gimbal. Pool resources from your crew and make do with the equipment that you have to produce a short film on a budget.

Short Film Production Costs

You can allocate budget to the most important elements of short film production first and then work on curbing costs to save money if you need to. There have been short films produced for under $1,000 that have been successful and there have been short films with production budgets that climb higher than a Hollywood production but are not successful. Budget is not a key influencer of success — the story is!

If you’re looking for ways to curb costs on producing your short film, consider the following:

  • Writing the script yourself.
  • Being your own Producer.
  • Keeping the shoot schedule to a single day.
  • Shooting in a single location.
  • Casting local actors, or young talent.
  • Renting equipment for a shorter time period.
  • Hiring an amateur hair and makeup artist.

Need help still? Give Beverly Boy Productions a call to learn more about your question, “How much does it cost to shoot a short film?” We’re happy to help you budget your short film production and determine ways to achieve your vision on the budget that works for you.

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