Planning great video content: Budgets and the Rodriguez method

Hey team, thanks for joining us. I wanted to talk a little bit more today about budgets and I wanted to do that by looking at a movie scenario. So, before we get started with the chitchat take a look at some movie clips by Robert Rodriguez. You may well know who he is because he’s gone on to mega fame after producing his first movie as a student for just seven thousand US dollars.

So this first movie, El Mariachi, was created on his summer break funded by Robert putting himself through medical experiments to get the cash together. When creating the film and thinking about the budget there’s an expectation of what I’m gonna make out of this film and the actual original intention for release of this movie was going to be the Mexican VHS market because it’s that old. This went on to actually be on general release and took over two million US dollars at the box office. But the analogy here with the corporate video work is I’ve got to decide how much I’m gonna make out of this film, I’ve got a really good idea that I want to get across and now I need to make the two meet. How can I make this cool film for the money that I have and I’ve decided how much I have based on how much I think I’m gonna make.

So then after this movie Robert Rodriguez went on to create a trilogy based around the same scenario, the same stories. So with the backing of Hollywood, the second of these movies which is Desperado, then has Antonio Banderas in it and it has a budget of over two million US dollars and so with a two million dollar budget and a general release, I think it made close to thirty million dollars. Then the third of the trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, had a budget of thirty million US dollars and went on to make almost a hundred million.

So check out the three films and see which you think is really the best out of the three not necessarily the one with the most spend on. But you see what you get for that extra spend and it’s fantastic. You do get a lot more for it but you don’t necessary need it. So also have a read of the book Rebel without a Crew if you’ve got a chance. This is a phenomenal read and it really focuses on pulling together the idea and the cash and making the two meet. It’s also a really interesting story about how one person goes from being an unknown to being a Hollywood superstar. Then bringing that back to what you do or what we do and that’s your corporate work: it’s the creative process. If the creative’s good, it’s good and if it’s not then throwing money at the shoot won’t necessarily make it better. If you’ve got more money to put into your video because your opportunity to make more money is there – fantastic because you can do more and you’ll see that from watching the movies. But essentially get the story right first, decide how much you can make and then base your budget on that.

I hope you enjoy the movies. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little chat and I hope you enjoy the book. I’m taking 10% commission I’m just going to email Robert Rodriguez right now and I will see you next time. Have a fun week and enjoy your movies.