Budget Watch: $253.86

Let’s all tip our hats and say thanks to the digital age.

Sure, we don’t have jetpacks or flying cars or robot butlers, but living in the future has one terrific advantage: you can shoot an entire movie for a fraction of what it would’ve cost had you been stuck using film. Added to our budget is $60.36 for thirty Mini DV tapes – that’s just a pinch over two bucks per hour of tape. Had we shot this on film (as some brave indie filmmakers still do, those crazy bastards), that money would get you nothing but a good long laugh from the guy behind the counter at the camera store.

Does film look better? Absolutely. But video is much, much more cost effective, and advances in camera technology and editing programs (advances which coincide with decreasing prices) can give something shot on video a darn good “film look.” If you know what you’re doing, you can fake your way to… well, not the top, but definitely the low middle. In the coming years, as tapeless HD cameras become the standard, it will be quite common to see quality independent movies that cost just four figures or less to make.

(Of course, getting indies released to a wide audience will remain an uphill battle. That’s why non-traditional release methods have already begun to soar, allowing filmmakers to get their work in front of worldwide audiences. Doesn’t mean anyone will be making money from all this, though, but it’s a start.)

Also purchased: a Mini DV head cleaner for $6.99. Because equipment will fail.

Soon to be purchased: prop guns, Army uniforms, and lighting equipment, all of which I hope we can find on the cheap.

I’ve been debating whether or not to include a few other purchases in the official budget. I finally decided against it, instead choosing to include only money spent directly for the production. Some other rather big purchases relate to side stuff, and they are:

$150.00 (plus 44 cents for the stamp!) to officially register Argo One as an official LLC. Surprisingly inexpensive way to get professional. Could’ve paid an extra hundred to expedite the filing process, but I’m a patient man. And a stingy one.

$149.00 for a Kodak PlaySport camera and memory card (plus $6.00 for an additional battery charger that hasn’t arrived yet just arrived today – lucky timing!). I’ll be using this to shoot the production diaries and other behind-the-scenes whatnot.

$79.99 for an editing program. (Curiously, I never owned one before, having been able to get by bumming others’.) From the price, you can tell it’s a big step below Final Cut, which will be used to edit the film itself. My personal cheapo program will be used to edit the production diaries, which will require less, frill-wise.

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