Chapter 11

Below the Line

The classification of “below the line” refers to the staff, crew, and equipment suppliers who are literally below a line on a production budget. The people who are above the line are the writer, producers, director, and actors. The “above the line” costs are—once negotiated—set in stone. The below-the-line costs are malleable (although there are union minimum salaries established) both in preproduction and production, and therefore the producer and unit production manager (UPM) will do their best to maintain cost control.

Yet those people are no less valuable. They are the ones with whom the director works on a daily basis. They are your crew—the ones who make your vision become a physical reality. They light the set, ...

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