If you’re shopping a project to investors or submitting a budget for approval, the first thing any seasoned producer will ask to see is your Top Sheet. The Top Sheet provides a snapshot of your overall estimated production budget, broken down into four distinct levels which contain financial information on all the accounts necessary for the execution of your project. Top Sheets are effectively universal in their content and absolutely expected. It’s in your best interest to both have one, and understand what goes into them.
Your Top Sheet should be organized into four levels, referred to in shorthand as your A, B, C, and D budgets.
A – ABOVE THE LINE
The Above The Line level encompasses your executive and creative staff. These are your director, your producers, writers, and principal actors. The Above The Line level will also contain development expenditures, such as acquisition rights.
B – BELOW THE LINE
Below The Line includes to the bulk of your production, encompassing departmental crews, labour, equipment and materiel, locations, vehicles, and all the extraneous costs that go along with them.
C – POST PRODUCTION
Editors. Data management. Processing. Lab fees and color correction. Editing suites, Foley work, sound mixing, scores and visual effects: the post-production budget covers everything you need to assemble the finished project.
D – OTHER
This is where you allocate funds funds for coverage, fringe, and unanticipated expenses.
In Celtx, our Top Sheets include an additional B&C category, which allows you to give an overview of accounts that are commonly used by both your production and post-production units, such as production office expenses.
Creating a Top Sheet
The easiest way to create a Top Sheet is to let Celtx do it for you. Our system will populate a master budget as you complete your script breakdown and flesh out your production catalog, allowing for the dynamic generation of fully customizable Top Sheets and other budgetary reports, all properly formatted and containing all pertinent information. When you’ve completed a preliminary budget in Celtx, you’re only a click away from having your Top Sheet ready for distribution.