Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Documentary Budget

Documentary Budget Benchmarks: Every experienced network decision-maker, funder and documentary producer ‘knows’ what is the budget for documentary films at every quality level.

All of genres and categories are benchmarked for their expected total documentary budget as well as for each line item cost.

documentary budget templateBut who has a handle on the benchmarks for the budget for the documentary?

To find out what it costs to produce a representative hour of Factual television – and why – we contacted a highly-respected senior consultant in the field of the documentary production budget, Elizabeth Ventura.

Elizabeth has worked for over 12 years as a Production Manager on programs for dozens of US networks. Documentaries that she budgeted have been approved by: Discovery, Nat Geo, PBS, MTV, A+E Networks, ESPN and many more such industry leaders

Elizabeth is a highly valued industry expert in the documentary budget template for domestic and international co-productions. Co-pro partners who have approved her budgets include: Channel 4, ARTE, Parthenon and more

Producers and networks call on her to draft reliable documentary production budgets that meet the industry cost benchmarks for the on-air quality that all the parties involved in a production are agreeing as deliverables.

Documentary Budget Presentation

Elizabeth’s budgets also pass the ‘presentation test’. They are templates that US networks and production companies can read and understand immediately. They feel comfortable analyzing them and making changes, and attaching her budgets to their contracts.

Why Publish a Documentary Budget Template?

At, we receive a steady stream of requests from market entrants programming for line item budgets for their non-fiction and documentary programs.

Sadly, few of our leading film and television schools require production management as a core area of study. It is a tedious, costly time-consuming process to develop a budget. It can take several weeks to research the data, and then present the findings in an acceptable format.

Elizabeth’s budgeting package is intended to save our clients time and uncertainty. Along with a comprehensive Budget Template, she has included many special features, including a bonus Assumptions Page Template and Schedule Template.

Elizabeth’s budgeting package meets industry standards and provides everything you need to present to funders.


About Peter Hamilton,

Peter Hamilton publishes, a TV industry newsletter on how to produce a documentary TV special and reality television series. His expertise is unscripted TV, the documentary budgetfunding a documentaryselling a documentary, and how to make a documentary.

Buy exclusive studies on documentaries and reality television budgets here.