While quoting on a reasonably big set build recently, the response again was “Ooh, I had X amount in my head!” This was not a designer with 20 years experience or a less experienced Art Director, it was a Producer, who had by his own admission, very little experience of set builds.
I must start by saying, this particular producer is a very lovely guy, who is not prone to giving the designer or myself, any kind of grief, he just didn’t know, so he guessed. The problem is, that weeks before any given project, producers will be having conversations about money and gathering a budget. Witout any form of starting point, or insight in a given field, you are faced with guesswork. I find producers with experience of set builds are always going to have less stress and dissapointment when the quote comes in, because they have more of an idea of what to expect.
The other day, I had a thought about how to help this situation, what if I could work out the algorithm (that’s a posh word for me playing a build over in my head a hundred or so times, then filling out a spreadsheet) I use to quote a build. It is as you would imagine, not that simple.
The result is a calculator on our blog.
Don’t guess, when you can have a point to start from.
It might be, that you don’t have time to speak to a construction manager (although I strongly reccoment it) or that you cannot allow him or her the time it takes to look at the complete picture before commiting to a number that will both have to be justified and also must be adhered to.
As appears on the disclaimer, this is not a quote and does not allow for speacial features or finishes but it may be helpful in the development of a much more sophisticated calculator over coming months if it proves popular.
It is also based on daily rates rather than the weekly ones you get on films but even so, it should help.
Of coures, if you want a more complex analysis of your plans, just ask