Budgeting Film Scores

Score Budgeting
It takes time and experience to learn how to budget a filmscore. Different people will approach recording scores differently, and each score will have different demands that will or won't cost money. The more you can do in your own studio, the more you can save (and spend on more gear). These budgets assume you will record and mix outside of your studio with some number of live players.
   Example 1 - Very low budget - 5 or fewer players (non-union), 40 minutes of music, no orchestrator
Cost
Number
Total
Studio Recording Time ($50/hour)10 hours$500
Musician ($50/hour) 5 players $2000
Studio Mixing Time ($50/hour)20 Hours $1000
Engineer ($35/hour)28$980
Copyist (non-union) $5/page100 Pages$500
Pizza (large-$15 each)4$60
TOTAL
$5105

Example 2 - Modest budget - 25 or fewer players (non-union), 60 minutes of music

Cost
Number
Total
Studio Recording Time($120/hour)15 hours$1800
Musician ($50/hour) 25 players $18,750
Engineer ($75/hour)45 hours$3,375
Cartage2 players$7,50
Studio Mixing Time ($50/hour)30 Hours $1,500
Orchestrator ($15/page)200 Pages$3,000
Copyist (non-union) $5/Page150 Pages$750
misc (transfers, overtime, couriers, gear rentals)$2,000
TOTAL$32,000

Example 3 - Medium budget - 30 or fewer players (union*), 60 minutes of music

Cost
Number
Total
Studio Recording Time($120/hour)15 hours$1800
Musician ($65/hour with union costs)30 players $29,250
Engineer ($75/hour)45 hours$3375
Cartage4 players$1250
Studio Mixing Time ($50/hour)30 Hours $1500
Music contractor5%$1462
Orchestrator ($40/page average)200 Pages$8000
Copyist $5/Page150 Pages$750
misc (transfers, overtime, couriers, gear rentals)$2000
TOTAL$49,387

* Union costs can vary considerable depending on the specifics of the project. Contact the local union near you for information, or click here for a list of union costs.

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