The crowd-funder for my fan film INTERLUDE goes live next week, and this is my last chance to share the details of the budget, explaining the goal of…
…(a slight increase over the estimate in my previous blog from three weeks ago because a few things have changed).
Before I begin, let me state for the record that this budget was compiled by me based on input from a number of sources, including my directors VICTORIA FOX and JOSH IRWIN along with several other people whom I trust. But the final numbers and estimates were mine because, as executive producer, I am the guy responsible for raising the money, explaining to you how we are going to utilize it, and ultimately writing the checks from the money we raise.
So is this budget 100% perfect? Probably not. Some things might end up costing less, some will cost more, and probably a bunch of things we haven’t even thought of will suddenly pop up out of nowhere. If we come up short, we’ll need to figure out ways to trim things. For that reason, I’ve “erred on the side of caution” and created my budget to assume costs on the high side. That way, if we don’t make our goal, we’ll hopefully still have enough to make a decent fan film by streamlining and trimming things from the budget.
And what if we go over our goal? Well, if there’s enough left over, perhaps we take the surplus and mail out some extra patches to our donors as a thank you gift. Maybe we can afford something even nicer than a patch. Maybe we can afford something even nicer than a patch. We’ll see. If there’s a lot left over, it goes into a bank account to be reserved for a future Axanar Universe fan film from me or another Axanar fan.
One place the funds do NOT go is to Axanar Productions to help ALEC PETERS in any way to make his Axanar sequels. That would, according to Alec himself, violate his settlement agreement with CBS and Paramount. This includes giving him any of our uniforms to use for his shoot. (Amusingly, he can loan some of his uniforms to us, but not vice-versa. Even though that sounds odd, it’s the legally prudent thing to do.)
And now, let’s take a deep-dive into our budget…
FOOD – $1,500
People usually arrive early (like 8am) and often work long past dinner (8pm or later). The production is expected to feed them. In addition to just being the nice thing to do, it also keeps people in the studio rather than driving off for a lunch or dinner that could leave them missing just when they’re needed for a scene.
Anyway, that’s three meals plus drinks and snacks for everyone, and the typical estimate is about $25/person per day for feeding and watering. We’ll have about 25-30 people per day. This will include actors, extras, production crew, and potentially some student volunteers from the local high schools for two days.
TRAVEL AND LODGING – $1,200
I’ll be flying from Los Angeles to Atlanta using miles, but my directors and their sound engineer will be driving 11 hours (each way) from Arkansas to Georgia. Even though the fan film guidelines say that I can’t pay people, it isn’t fair to make my team members pay for the privilege of volunteering. So naturally, I am going to pay for their gas. I’ll also be paying for their hotel rooms for three nights in Lawrenceville. One of them can stay in one of Alec Peters’ spare bedrooms (I get the other).
EQUIPMENT RENTAL – $2500
My directors are going to be bringing some of the equipment we’ll be using, but we’ll still need other stuff. Estimates for a weekend rental come to $2,500 at present. This might ultimately go up or down depending on what might be available at Ares Studios. We’ll know better as we get closer to the shooting date, but to be safe, we’re using the $2,500 estimate. But this might be one of the places where we can trim the budget a little.
STUDIO RENTAL – $600
Renting Ares Studios for two days is $500. Alec offered to let us use the Ares bridge set for free, but I want it to be crystal clear that Interlude is completely separate from an Axanar production and isn’t being treated differently than any other fan project. So I’m paying the $250/day fee. I’ll also be paying GLEN WOLFE $100 for the use of his sickbay set in Arkansas for a day to film one of our scenes.
PRODUCTION INSURANCE – $2,000
A few weeks ago, it was suggested that we get production insurance…which ain’t cheap! I’ve considered the question carefully and decided to include the item in our budget. However, if we miss our goal significantly, this might be an item for the chopping block. Also, Alec Peters is looking into extending the insurance on Ares Studios to include outside productions that film there. So this line item remains a big “maybe” for now.
UNIFORM TUNICS – $5,000
In my previous deep-dive blog, I explained how our tunics are not the familiar (and licensed) TOS style but a unique look for the Four Years War (20 years before Kirk’s 5-year mission) designed originally by BILL KRAUSE…
So we can’t buy these from a licensee; they have to be hand sewn. That’s materials and labor, and it’s not something that can be volunteered. (It’s like buying a video camera or ordering a pizza…you don’t get those for free, and CBS can’t expect such things not to be paid for.)
Between the cost of fabric and labor, it’s going to be about $250 per tunic (a decently-tailored TOS tunic from a licensee like Anovos can cost anywhere from $225 to $345…so we’re in the right neighborhood with $250).
We need roughly 20 uniforms. There’s two different starship bridges with full bridge crews (about 8 officers on each) plus a scene in sickbay with three doctors and one in engineering with a chief engineer. If we come up short on the crowd-funder, we might be able to trim a few extras, but we’d really like to be able to shoot wide establishing shots of both bridges without them looking empty during a red alert situation.
But it’s not just tunics…
UNIFORM MOCK TURTLENECKS (NOT LAND’S END!) – $250
The uniform is a V-neck tunic over a high-neck black shirt. In my last blog, I made the mistake of listing Land’s End as a potential source of the kind of shirt we needed. Man, did THAT blow up a controversy! So I did a new search the found shirts we can use from a place called Shein for $10 each plus tax and shipping. Gotta buy 20 of ’em.
PANTS AND BOOTS – $2,000
This one I’m not certain about yet, so that number might change a little…or a lot. We’ve estimated $100/pant (or $2,000 for 20), plus boots are about $100 each (another $2,000). So why doesn’t it say $4,000 for this line-item?
We might be able to “cheat” this with some actors and extras sitting in the “well” of the bridge. If so, then they’ll likely be filmed just from the waist up and they can wear cargo shorts and sneakers if they want to and no one will ever know.
Obviously, this isn’t the case with the captains and the officers sitting or standing at the upper console stations…or the doctors/nurses in sickbay. Now, we might be able to get by without boots for some of those people I just listed, but others will need boots. We also might be able to get cheaper black pants. We’re still pricing all of that, but we’re putting in $2,000 for now to cover pants and boots together for those who will need them.
PATCHES – $1,500
I explained in the previous blog that each tunic has three patches sewn onto it: one insignia on the chest, a ship’s emblem on the left shoulder, and a first fleet patch on the right shoulder (similar to the NX-era uniforms)
Custom embroidered patches in the sizes we’ll likely need are about $150 for a minimal run of 25 of each patch design (ordering less than 25 makes little difference because the embroidering set-up fee eats up the majority of that cost). So for every kind of patch we need—even if it’s just a few of them—it’ll be $150. Yeesh!
While we only need one run of the first fleet patches, we need two of the ship emblem shoulder patches since we’ll have two different starship crews. Likewise, there’s two different styles of chest insignia (one for each starship). But here’s the problem: each division has a different design in the center! Command gold has a star, sciences blue has a planet, and engineering/communications has a comet. Plus, one of my directors thinks there should be a red cross in the center of the medical folks in sickbay (like Nurse Chapel had). That comes out to seven different chest patch designs.
Let’s add it all up…
- 1 patch design for the First Fleet
- 2 patch designs for the shoulder
- 7 patch designs for the chest
So that’s 10 patch runs at $150 each. Now, I might be able to save $300 if Alec has leftover USS Ares and First Fleet patches. There’s also a possibility if we come up short that we just decide that everyone in this era wears an insignia with a command star. That could trim another $750. So potentially, patches can drop from $1,500 to $450. (Can you see now why I’ve budgeted on the high side? If we don’t make it, there’s room to maneuver and trim.)
RANK BRAID – $100
Everyone’s gotta have a rank on their sleeve cuff, right?
SEWING – $250
Somebody’s gotta sew 3 patches on each of 20 uniforms…or 60 patches. Victoria estimates that a decent seamstress at a shop can do about five or six patches per hour at $20/hour. Plus there’s rank braid on the sleeves. With luck, we only have to spend $250.
SERVICE FEE – $600
I’m going to be be using GoFundMe because it has one of the lowest service fees: 2.9% of each transaction plus 30 cents per donation. If I can reach my goal, that’ll be about $600. So the goal needs to add on the amount we pay for servicing.
PERKS – $0
I thought long and hard about this. Perks cost money to make and to ship. And even though many fan productions are still offering patches and T-shirts and posters and other items, the guidelines still say that’s a no-no.
Now, if I raise a little over my goal, enough to cover postage and envelopes, I’ll drop some leftover patches into the mail and send them to donors as thank you gifts. But that’s very different than a perk. A perk is expected and is determined by the size of the donation. (More money, better perk.) The only thing being determined by the size of your donation to my campaign is the size of your name in the credits. The thank you gift will be the same for everyone.
That said, if I raise a few thousand dollars above my goal, there might be a really cool thank you gift in addition to the patches. But we’ll cross that bridge if and when we cross our goal.
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? – $2,000
Have we forgotten anything? Probably! What about make-up supplies? What happens if one of our actors’ cars breaks down and he/she needs to Uber? How about dyeing Alec Peters’ hair to look like a younger Garth?
My directors have both told me—and other folks I know out here in Hollywood have confirmed—that an unassigned “contingency” of 10% is typically added to any production budget.
And there it is. If I’ve done the math correctly, that should come to $19,500. Can we make it? I hope so! We’ll know soon enough…cross your fingers. And please consider making a donation. We can’t do this without YOU!