What are ATL and BTL costs in Filmmaking? | Above and Below the Line

What are ATL and BTL costs in Filmmaking?

Above the Line, Below the Line
ATL and BTL Costs in Filmmaking

What are ATL and BTL costs in filmmaking is a very common question to which all filmmakers need to know the answer, especially if they are involved at all with their film's financing. For example, Fp. Porter (from Ft. Lauderdale, FL) asks, "I received a film fund application via email from Green Light Productions. One question ask ATL? or BTL? What does that mean? Also how do I tell how much equity will be brought into project, with a budget of 201,897?? Thanks!"

What Are ATL and BTL Costs in Filmmaking? Filmproposals Answer

Hi Fp! Thanks for your question. You are asking about Above the Line (ATL) and Below the Line (BTL) costs.

  • Above the Line costs are those determined or spent prior to filmmaking and may include screenplay rights and salaries of top talent (actors, directors, producers), casting director, screenwriter and others involved in the high level financial and creative direction of the film. Usually this is everything that has to be in place before principal photography can begin.
  • Below the Line costs include salaries of support staff and talent and all production costs - catering, studio, lighting, etc.

Above the Line costs are usually varied, while Below the Line costs are more fixed. Our Film Budget Template lets you fill in everything by line item and then automatically adds up for you what is ATL and BTL.

FREE Sample Film Budget Top Sheet

Your equity question has many variables, and cannot be answered based on the information provided. However, our Business Plan Tools for film will help you determine the equity of all parties involved in film financing. Good Luck!

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