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Free Film Budget Template

I had to put together a budget for a short film I shot called “Stull”. Feeling generous, I’m making the template I designed available for free to the movie-making world (in various formats):

Film Budget Top Sheet Template as Google Spreadsheet
Film Budget Top Sheet Template as Excel Spreadsheet
Film Budget Top Sheet Template as Open Office (.ods)

UPDATE: The movie is done, it’s called “Stull”.

FURTHER READING: DigitalFlims guide to movie budgeting which includes some alternative budget templates.


  1. Thanks. You have helped me out marvelous much :) see you at the festival.

  2. Thanks. This is great. Thanks to you, I just budgeted my first industrial!

  3. Thank you so much for the budget template specifically, and for sharing your knowledge in general! I just can't thank you enough… :)

  4. Thanks a million!!


  5. Really – you think you're so generous for giving us this??
    There's hardly anything to it! I mean – it barely starts to scratch the surface!
    Thanks…but, "because you're generous" Really!!

  6. Sorry this budget template doesn't meet the generosity threshold of the previous commenter. I'm not an accountant, I'm a filmmaker.

    I'll gladly link to a better budget that is also free. Therefore, I challenge the previous commenter to step forward and generously donate such a budget template.

    Holding my breath :)

  7. Janice Hollinger

    May 11, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    Thank you so much for the template. Saved me lots of time and money. Janice

  8. thanks man, you are awesome..uber awesome..

  9. Absolutely commendable. Thank you.

  10. Well, you didn’t have to share this but you did so anyway, thinking that it may be of use to someone out there. A very thoughtful gesture indeed. It was also extremely helpful to me, many thanks.

  11. Its Rocking..
    Thanks A LOAD 4 sharing such a wonderful subject with us…

  12. Thank you THank you Thank you!

  13. Thanks so much! This was great to find for free online…appreciate you sharing very much!

  14. Richard Trombly

    March 3, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    John’s basic budgeter is great for a very basic production. Good on you for sharing it. Some beginners NEED this sort of basics to even make a starting point. Thanks. You said you would share a more in depth one free one. click on indiebudgetbuddy Rick Ferrando makes it available for free. It’s a well-designed spreadsheet with a few numbers in it for basic considerations.
    us indie folks have to help each other out.

  15. Thanks You rock!!!!

  16. thanks

  17. What to say? You just saved ma day…

  18. Thx for putting this online, very generous and very useful !

  19. Thnx a loooooooooooot mahn!!

  20. Wow, thanks. Just what I’m looking for. That’s worth a cinama ticket or DVD sale.

  21. hooray! someone likes you, really likes you in paris.
    thanks for posting.

  22. Thank you so much for the template.

  23. Good job, thanks it helps a lot…giving always comes back to the giver.

  24. Yes you do rock. Thank you so much for sharing. It will come back in kind in multitudes!

  25. Thanks a lot,

  26. 67film says thank you. We used it on “Survival of the fittest”
    Brad hodge

  27. Yes, you are kind, thanks. i have used it.

  28. Raja Rajveer Rajyana

    July 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Thank you Sir, This template is a God-send. I trust I would be able to do “Precision Budgeting” after this.

  29. JOOOOOHN!!! On February 11th 2010 “Sorry this budget template doesn’t meet the generosity threshold of the previous commenter.” I just want to commend you on such a stylish come back! You are a legend! And that Anonymous guy is a sour sour cry baby! Nice one… I am also still holding my breath :-) A big thank you from South Africa!

  30. Not sure why people are complaining. Just take it as reference and build on it. I added fluffer to my list.

  31. Thanks alot bro.. I am starting to work on a movie and this will really help me.

  32. This is truly awesome! I got my film pitch accepted and they asked me for a budget, and I was struggling for days until I stumbled upon this!
    I cannot even find the right words to describe my gratitude to you.

    Thanks ever soooo much!!!!!

  33. Hey man thank you for making life so much simpler!

  34. Thanks a lot, it made my life easier as im new in this industry.


  35. I had to get a top sheet out for a $50,000.00 budget and now I am doing it. Thank you and if you ever need something let me know. Film graduate LACC, USC.

  36. Thanks so much for sharing! Nice to know there are good people out there!

  37. Thanks. This is a start on the budget for a micro budget. All I should need is top sheet. There won’t be much else and I can customized it to the crew, cast, tech and admin which I have. Heck it is all mostly me, anyway. The only pro stuff I will use in video and sound edit anyway. That will make the difference, “fix it in post.”

  38. You are so generous. Thank you so much for making the effort to share your knowledge and hard work so freely. May God Bless you for being such a Blessing in the lives of strangers! Thank you, Sincerely!


  39. knownsense studios

    February 1, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    thank you !

  40. Thanks a ton!!! :)

  41. thinkingcaveman

    May 3, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge but remember “No good deed goes unpunished” by ungrateful recipients – just ask anyone that has had their hand bitten while trying to feed a wild animal on set

  42. Excellent. It’s been put to good use! Thanks.

  43. Thank you for sharing this. Truly. Posting this poured encouragement into a tiny but testing pocket of exasperation. There seems to be a general reluctance on the part of people in the know to share their knowledge in this industry. I’m new to all of this and came from a different background so it’s been challenging. Sharing our knowledge doesn’t jeopardize it but amplifies the overall creativity and credibility of the form. Thank you. I really wish you masses of success in everything you do, the world needs more of the good people! Cheers

  44. Thank you I have been needing this help for some time now!! Really appreciate it!!

  45. Gracias Capoooo sos un grosooooo
    PAblo (argentina)

  46. Thank you! Very generous of you!

  47. Thanks so much! Very cool of you to share! God Bless…

  48. Wow! You have no idea how this helped me!! And anonymous guy…you suck! Let’s see you pull something like this off and do it from your heart! Thanks again John!!! You rock

  49. Thanks just made my work much easier


  51. Thank you. It pays off to be a giver…

  52. Very nice of you to share! Thank you!

    One question, if you have the time for it. How can I change the currency so it doesn’t count in dollars?

    Best regards

    • @Hanna,

      Most spreadsheet programs should have a function that changes this. If you are using the Google Drive Doc, highlight the row you want to change, select from the menu Format > Number > More currencies.

      Good luck!

  53. Thank you!

  54. I am in the early stages of making a film, I have written about 20 pages of a biography. I need to have an idea (in sterling not dollars) of what many of the direct costs will amount to. By this I mean a) screenwriter b) producer c) director d) camera crew e) the main actors and actresses and f) hiring of military uniforms-first world war. Other costs I can estimate, as there will be a little bit of filming on location and obtaining of archive film. Pitching and advertising costs we can leave at the present. Office costs will be kept to a minimum, because I am a Chartered Accountant.

    • @Laurence,

      Consider hiring an experienced line producer, who can go through the script or outline and create a very accurate set of estimates for a budget.

  55. My first short film THANKS YOU! You saved me tons ‘o time.

  56. waw ; u r very nice
    thank u very much :)

  57. I am truly astonished that you provided this information for free. Let me reiterate what many others have said…Thank You Thank You Thank You.

    Thank you for being selfless and assisting so many even though you did not have to.

    I appreciate the time you put into providing this Budget in its various formats as well as the other information on your site.


  58. Thank you for sharing this, really helpful!!

  59. Thank you for the templates.
    you are so awesome!

  60. thank you so much!!!

  61. Thx so much for this!!!

  62. Thanks… You’re the BEST!! Bless You!

  63. Thanks John! Thank u very much for sharing. I just got inspired by you! Lots of LOVE!!!!

  64. Hi! I hope your site will also shed light to people like myself in SA who have passion in movie making and basically don’t have much knowledge.

  65. Thanks so much … you are truly a lifesaver. Your generosity is much appreciated.

  66. Thank you

  67. is there any chance i could see a completed version of this budget you actually used in your production? i need to compare the budget of a short film to one of a feature film for some school coursework.


    • I don’t have it to hand and besides, prices for everything have changed by now. This page has a very rudimentary one:

      Or you may be able to find a better one with some further googling or by contacting someone who has made a short film that you admire. I would love to hear about what you learn.


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