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How to budget a Cooking Show ?

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Robert Bengraff
How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 14, 2017 at 2:00:32 pm

I have been asked to put numbers together to produce five 5-8 minute outdoor, roaming host food show. I am currently under NDA so I can't give too many details, but think outdoor festival, tailgaters, etc. a hreat example would be a web show like Grill Iron. I know budgets can range wildly so I have been trying to research budgets for similar projects. I have even been trying to research projects for big productions like Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fiery type shows. I know there budgets will be astronomical, but as a seasoned producer i think I will be able to understand what to back out. Anyway I can't seem to find anything on line.

Any help here or a research direction would be appreciated..

Lastly we already have our host and all travel costs covered.

Thanks,
Robert



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Mark Suszko
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 14, 2017 at 8:34:15 pm

Single-camera?


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Bob Zelin
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 14, 2017 at 10:44:28 pm

Mark -
how dare you ask a question like that !

step 1 - rent and watch Bowfinger tonight.

step 2 - find your local community college, and offer EVERY STUDENT a position on your new cooking show.
Of course, you will never pay them, and they will work for free.

step 3 - find out from the film or communications professors if they teach editing there, and find out if any of the students know how to do multiclip - and HIRE the kids that can cut a multicam show.

step 4 - you didn't even say if you have equipment - NO PROBLEM - just hire the kids that already OWN equipment -
after all, this is their big break -

step 5 - since you have no budget, make the kids PAY YOU for the opportunity of learning how to work in professional television. Even if it's a small amount, it will pay for the fast food lunch or bagels in the morning that you will feed them.

step 6 - hire a hot actress to be your star ? HOW you ask ? Put an ad on Craigslist - "model wanted, no nudity required".

SEE - look how I saved your production.

Now, since I have been so nice to you, let me ask you a question. I recently bought a new toilet at Home Depot - it was on sale, but I have no idea of how to install it in my bathroom. Any suggestions ?


Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 14, 2017 at 11:05:24 pm

Hi, Bob, I heard you saw your shadow so there's another month of complaining about the cheapskate newbies destroying the industry ahead ☺

Actually, I've installed (and had to RE-install) enough toilets that I'm now fairly handy with that job, though I'm not as spry crawing around hooking up the feed line anymore. Sharkbite connectors, man; they are the Thunderbolt 3 of plumbing.

I know you're just having fun as you make your points. I'll just say this, that I've been doing productions on a shoestring for so long, I have no idea what a *real* budget would look like, nor what I'd spend it on. It wasn't my choice, it's a niche I fell into of necessity in my job and I fancy myself as a guy that can get a champagne look on a beer budget. I'm also at the age and point in my career where I enjoy playing the shaman to these up-and-comers. Your jokes warning me away are taken in the spirit I know you intended.

One of our favorite COW members has also worked on "Good Eats", and I wish they would see this thread and drop some general knowledge on what a "real" cooking show costs to make.


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Robert Bengraff
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 1:14:44 pm
Last Edited By Robert Bengraff on Mar 15, 2017 at 1:21:58 pm

Wow. I have been a member of the Cow since 2006. This is my first post here in a couple of years, but I remembered the Cow to be a friendly, helpful place. I see that’s changed.

You made it sound like I was asking “how long is a string?” I was assuming industry knowledge here and thought that Examples like the three I gave would hint to “seasoned pros like yourselves” a thoughtful answer like “Hey Robert, not a lot of detail here, but I’ve read that these shows come in at 50k - 150k an episode.” Or “I don’t know for sure, but I’ve seen a few of these shows and I know if I were producing them for starters (because of available light not being great in restaurants, etc) I would like to have very fast glass and that can get expensive. Maybe 2 Red Epics or if you need to save a couple of bucks perhaps a couple Sony a7s that shoot well at 2000 ISO. Either way you're looking a about $800 - $2,000 a day each for the gear and 2 Operators @ $750 - $1000. Maybe a couple of Junior guys roaming around with GH4s would help with all of the B-roll that these shows seem to have. And hey, don’t overlook Westcott Flex lights for great portable light, etc”

You get the point? I’m not a stupid kid looking to do my first wedding video. I have been a Producer, Editor for 25 years and was turning to this forum to have a useful and possibly even a Gear Geeky and Creative conversation.

Too much to ask from the likes of Bob I guess.

Mark, Thank you for at least being polite. I know my post did not offer a lot of detail and perhaps I was asking for the forum to assume too much. My apologies. And yes it would be great to hear from your friend that worked on Good Eats if you can get him to this forum.

And Bob, Regarding your toilet. I am afraid you didn't provide a lot of detail. But, based on my limited experience I would say that an honest install guy would charge about $100 - $300 depending on the complexity of the job. Also there are some very helpful hints at home depot.com. Or if you would prefer, maybe you could share with the forum a bit more detail so we could be of better assistance. Good luck on your project!

See how a person with Class would would have handled this Bob?

I miss the old Cow.

Robert


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Todd Terry
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 3:16:21 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Mar 15, 2017 at 3:18:15 pm

Robert...

Sorry you've had a bad COW experience.

The COW has not changed... it's still full of nice, polite, and helpful people. Please don't have your opinion of all of us colored by one experience, or shy away in the future.

The thing is, Bob Zelin has not changed, either. He has always been a horse's ass, and always will be. I say that without any fear of offending Bob, because he not only knows that but PRIDES himself on being seen that way and will probably take it as a compliment. He's a smart guy so I'm not sure why that's his M.O., but it is. It's sort of his hobby, I guess.

I wish I had some thoughtful advice about your cooking show, but that's one genre that I've stayed away from like poison. But... I do think your guess of $50-$150K a show is probably in the ballpark for something like a Fieri-esque show. That's about what a typical mid-to-slightly-higher range cable show would run per half hour.

Good luck, and don't be scared off from the COW.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Robert Bengraff
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 3:48:11 pm

Thanks Todd. And no worries. Being in this biz for 25 plus years, hell just getting to 54 years of age has toughened my skin. That said not knowing Bob, I guess I was just taken back. Now that I understand the "MO" I'm sure that Bob and I can be friends. What say you Bob?

And thanks for your input on the show budget. If you come across and more info, it would be great to hear. Googling "Reality Food Show Production Budgets" , etc continues to come up with nothing.

rb

Work Samples
Show Reel
https://vimeo.com/album/3933511/video/122342090
Highlights Gallery
https://vimeopro.com/user26110144/roberts-portfolio
Aerial Reel
https://vimeo.com/album/3933511/video/190433346


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Todd Terry
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:04:03 pm

[Robert Bengraff] "Googling "Reality Food Show Production Budgets""

Well, I think you can take "food" out of your search... just based on the little bit of description you were able to give us, unless I'm missing something, the fact that it is a food show wouldn't likely really differentiate its budget from any other kind of out-and-about reality show. I would think that if it were a reality show about people who collect classic cars, or fly model airplanes, or go to gourd festivals or collect potatoes that grew in the shape of presidents' heads, or whether it's Guy Fieri dragging his fat loudmouth homophobic self around from one diner to another... production is production. I think you might have more luck researching budgets if you don't limit yourself to just food shows.

Good luck!

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Robert Bengraff
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:15:43 pm

Yea, I have been doing that. The thing about cooking/food shows is that they rely heavily on 96fps to get the smoke and steam as well as the steak flopping on the grill and other food-porn shots. So the low light combined with the big fps led me to think that the camera/camera work needed to move production up a notch. That said you have a point.

Again thanks.
rb

PS when it comes time to do that " collect potatoes that grew in the shape of presidents' heads" show. Count me in!
;)

Work Samples
Show Reel
https://vimeo.com/album/3933511/video/122342090
Highlights Gallery
https://vimeopro.com/user26110144/roberts-portfolio
Aerial Reel
https://vimeo.com/album/3933511/video/190433346


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Todd Terry
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:25:20 pm

I have to say, food shows seem to be on the TV in my house a lot (not my choice, I couldn't be less interested in cooking), but I have to say that I have watched them just from a directorial and production standpoint. I honestly can't say I can remember ever having seen a slow-mo shot in a food show. Ever.

Maybe I need to be watching more closely, instead of just imaging Giada De Laurentiis cooking for me....

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Robert Bengraff
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:50:13 pm

Sure. The studio stuff not so much, but the Bourdain stuff, a lot. This is a great example that is short on cooking and more tailgate (and what I am trying to mimic with my show) if you are interested. The first 20 sec alone will shed light on what I was alluding to.

rb







Work Samples
Show Reel
https://vimeo.com/album/3933511/video/122342090
Highlights Gallery
https://vimeopro.com/user26110144/roberts-portfolio
Aerial Reel
https://vimeo.com/album/3933511/video/190433346


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Richard Herd
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:51:17 pm

I used to shoot a lot of food -- commercial stuff -- which I don't do anymore (yay) but slow mo is important when those Asian chefs make a huge wok of fire.


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Roy Schneider
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 16, 2017 at 4:15:08 pm

Robert:
Most of the Food Network/Travel Channel Food shows airing in Primetime run in the 50k to 150k range. I have done several 5 to 10 minute pilots for around $10,000 to $15,000. Similar production value, less the cost of a celebrity host. This is generally shooting 2 Fs7's and a dslr on a Gimbal and maybe a go pro or 2, add to that an Audio guy.

Roy Schneider
Executive Producer
Vintage Production Group

Long Live the Cow
Roy Schneider
Executive Producer
Vintage Production Group
516-659-4596


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Robert Bengraff
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 16, 2017 at 5:00:11 pm

Thank you Roy! That is very helpfuIl and the conclusion that I am coming to. Based on that I have now put together 2 budgets. One @ 15k per episode and the other with an extra Rroll camera and op and using Reds at 20k.

Now to get it greenlite!

rb


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Ned Miller
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 17, 2017 at 1:50:14 am
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Mar 17, 2017 at 1:54:26 am

Oh wow do I miss the business! Been retired about 4 weeks now and deleted my favorite bookmarks but decided to peek at my ole peeps on DVXuser and CC. Feel like an addict about to call his dealer. I miss Bob's posts! It's as if he was channelling the Chicago freelancer production scene. After all, that's why I took early retirement: What he's talking bout....

So Robert, the only thing I can say that's different about cooking shows is that you often have to hire a pro food stylist because "reality sucks", meaning, what comes out of the oven or kitchen the first time is not so visually appealing, so we often would have an identical dish being cooked under exact conditions and that would be the beauty shot. In sum, you have to hire a pro who your host likes, perhaps their assistant? Otherwise, you'd have to rely on whatever came out for the finished beauty shot, which often will suck.

Restaurant people (besides the owner) can be kinda flaky, so a hard schedule doesn't work well with that crowd, although if your host is going to visit a local chef, he or she will be very cooperative, but otherwise, it's hard to have our typical kind of schedule. If the folks in charge don't know much about our biz, they may not know that we can't just shoot the crowd if it's for broadcast or web. I was shut down many times with the warning, "Many men here are not with their wives", if you get my drift.

It's easy to have two cameras running in the restaurant section but most restaurants in the back kitchen, it's too small to have two cameras angles. I'd budget for one camera unless there are interviews where it's cutting back and forth with the host and episodes's chef, then you need two, and I wouldn't go Red, I'd go documentary camera such as a C300 or FS7. After all, a cooking show is basically a documentary, right?

When dealing with restaurants for pilots or real shows, they don't want you there during a busy period, so these things would be shot on Sunday mornings and the producer's friends and relatives would fill out the crowd extras. And back when I was doing cooking shows, such as Dining Chicago, the back kitchen staff was not too keen on having their faces on camera, and with the new president, I bet it's worse!

If I were to bid on something like this, and then they said that I had lost the bid to someone cheaper, it is very realistic nowadays here in Fly Over Country that it would be Bob's scenario. Really. So don't be down on Bob, it is the pool I was bidding against. Just got a call today about editing a sales training video they had shot on their iPhones. They sell used Rolexes for $30K. Yet they're too cheap to hire a shooter. Although Bob may seem "over the top", he speaks the truth. I don't know about your market though, but I am glad to be out!

Good luck,

Ned

P.S. Sometime when I have time, I will post "Message from the Grave: A DP Tries To Retire". Ain't so easy! Busier now than when I was in the biz. Volunteering for worthy causes.

P.S.S. You Go Bob!! Miss ya

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Bob Cole
Re: How to budget a Cooking Show ?
on Mar 17, 2017 at 6:00:37 pm

Hey Ned,

Good to see you back here, providing a bit of a reality check. I hope that you find a renewed pleasure and enthusiasm for the craft, through working on personal and pro bono projects.

You are not wrong about the market. The standards have never been higher... or lower.

Enjoy your new career, but keep visiting. We drones need your perspective.

Bob C


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