Preparing a Bid - How to Factor in shooting days (and if I should?)


I watched Shannon Shea's course The Business Of Making Monsters. I'm preparing a bid now for a project, and I don't know if I should try to factor in the expense of executing the effects on set. For example, a lot of the effects involve a build time, which I can estimate a budget for, but some of these effects become makeup looks that the actors will need for an unclear number of days.

One character breaks his nose. I can estimate the expense of building the makeup appliance that we will use for this effect, but once the nose is broken, the character has a broken nose for the rest of the movie. This means the actor will need a makeup appliance for his broken nose for every shooting day that contains those scenes, and I have no idea how many shooting days that will be, which also affects the number of appliances I'd need to run and pre-paint. Should I worry about representing any of this on the bid? If so, how?

Another example is that a character's hair "instantly turns white" when she is hypnotized, and is then white for the rest of the film. I have an instinct that this wouldn't be handled in my bid for taking on the project as the Special Makeup Effects Artist, that this would be the responsibility of a Hair Dresser, and maybe their bids take a somewhat different form than a Makeup Effects bid. But this is an indie film and I foresee the possibility of the Production wanting to use me as a one stop shop for makeup effects, makeup, and hair, so I'd like to maybe just assume that with my bid and provide them as much information as possible. I feel like if I left the "hair turning white" bit out of my bid, I wouldn't be doing as much preparation as I could for the project. And factoring costs for that now could be a nice way to "pad" my budget, like Shannon talks about, so that I could have something to cut out later when they tell me to cut my budget. Anyway I put down in my bid that we'd need to design this look and then test it and make adjustments, and I estimate that as taking 2 days of labor at $400. But then also we'd need to do that look for every shooting day that that character plays with that look. Should I worry about representing that cost on the bid? If so, how?

For that matter, should I worry about representing any of the labor needed on set in my bid? Does a bid represent my price tag for the entire project, or just for preparing everything for the shoot itself? I'm used to working for a day rate, and by myself. Now I'm preparing a bid for a big project that would involve a lot of people. Any guidance is much appreciated! 


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    Here's how I would do it.

    Since how many shoot days is unknown for you at the moment, I would list that part of your bid as a daily on-set rate for you and your team.  IE:  $xxxx.xx per shoot day.  It might also be helpful to break down the per-day costs based on characters, so they can do the estimates on their end as well.  Here's a rough example of that.

    Daily Special Effects Makeup cost by character:

    Character 1 - broken nose
    $xxx.xxx per day

    Character 2 - hair effects
    $xxx.xxx per day

    The per day cost would include appliance and MUA.  You could break it down further if needed, but I think a per day estimate is probably less complicated.

    That way the production can project costs based on what they expect to shoot each day, as it's possible some days may or may not include specific characters.

    I would also factor in the number of appliances in the bid as being tied to shoot days, so if they add 2 or 3 days, it will cost them more as you'll need to run/paint/apply 2 or 3 new sets of appliances.

    It is my understanding that your bid should be for the entire project.  If it's expected for you and your team to be on set, those days need to be accounted for.

    Again, that's just how I might approach it!  

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    Thank you Chris!
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