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Matthew Signer Explains a Studio Executive’s Role in a Film’s Budget

One of the most important jobs that a studio executive has is to make sure that the movie comes in on budget and on time. Matthew Signer, the executive producer of many films and television shows like Spontaneous, The Perfect Date, Polaroid, Scary Movie V, 47 Meters Down, Amityville: The Awakening, Scream The TV Series, Spy Kids: Mission Critical, and more explains the role of a studio executive to the budgeting process on a film.

Approving the budget

Budgeting is a crucial part of any film. But it’s not the studio executive’s responsibility to do the budgeting. His job comes after the line producer breaks the script down and creates the budget. He goes through the script page by page creating a schedule for the best way to shoot the film. Then he estimates what it would cost to shoot the entire show.

But what if the line producer’s budget exceeds the approximate budget of the project? Matt says, “This happens on almost every project. A lot of factors determine the budget of a movie. Line producers spend days and even weeks to come up with a budget. They need to visit shooting locations, make deals, budget shooting day costs, take estimates for costumes, lights, sounds, cameras, food, lodging, transportation, and tons of other things.”

These are intricate details that allow everyone to put the film together.  One of my jobs is to go through the budget and make sure the funds are allocated correctly and help make some hard decisions if the budget is more than we can afford.  Of course, we try to find more money so we can make the film at the estimated budget, but more often than not, we have to make some sacrifices to fit into the box that we have.

This job is usually done first or in conjunction with a physical production executive at the studio who oversees the line producers, makes sure all guild regulations are followed, handles the insurance on the film, deals with the delivery of financing to the film, and many, many more jobs. These physical production executives are some of the most detail-oriented and talented people working in our industry.  

Overseeing the expenses

Approving the budget doesn’t end an EP’s responsibilities. According to Matt, “I regularly visit the sets to see whether the budget allocation is being utilized properly. I have to make sure things are going according to plan. I’m ultimately responsible for the film coming in on time and on budget.” 

Matt’s latest film as an EP, Spontaneous, earned a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. He is currently working on many other projects that he hopes will entertain audiences around the world.

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