Most filmmakers want to know more about how to raise money for their project. It’s a complicated question with lots of moving parts. However, one crucial component to building a project that you can get financed is building a cohesive package that will help get the film financed. So with that in mind, here are the 7 essential elements to a good film package.
As we all know, the director is the driving force behind the film. As such, a good director that can carry the film through to completion is an essential element to a good film package. Depending on the budget range, you may need a director with an established track record in feature films. If you don’t have this, then you probably can’t get money from presales, although this may be less of a hard and fast rule than I once thought it was.
Even if you have a first time director, you’ll need to find some way of proving to potential investors that they’ll be able to get the job done, and helm the film so that it comes in on time and on budget
2. Name Talent
I know that some filmmakers don’t think that recognizable name talent adds anything to a feature film. While from a creative perspective there may be some truth to that, packaging and finance is all about business. From a marketing and distribution perspective, films with recognizable names will take you much further than films without them. I’ve covered this in more detail in another blog, linked below.
Related: Why your Film Needs Name Talent
Recognizable name talent generally won’t come for free. You may need a pay or play agreement, which is where item 7 on this list comes in handy.
3. An Executive Producer
If you’re raising money, you should consider engaging an experienced executive producer. They’ll be able to help connect you to money, and some of them will help you develop your business plan so that you’re ready to take on the money when it comes time to. A good executive producer will also be able to greatly assist in the packaging process, and help you generate a financial mix.
I do a lot of this sort of work for my clients. If you’ve got an early stage project you’d like to talk about getting some help with building your package and/or your business plan I’d be happy to help you to do so. Just click the clarity link below to set up a free strategy session, or the image on the right to submit your project.
4. Sales Agent/Distributor
If you want to get your investors their money back, then you’re going to need to make sure that you have someone to help you distribute your independent film. The best way to prove access to distribution is to get a Letter of Intent from a sales agent. The blog below can help you do that.
5. Deck/Business Plan
If you’re going to seek investors unfamiliar with the film industry, you’re going to need a document illustrating how they get their money back This can be done with either a 12 slide deck, or a 20 page business plan. I’ve linked to some of my favorite books on business planning for films below.
6. Pro-Forma Financial Statements
Pro forma financial statements are essentially documents like your cash flow statement, breakeven analysis, top sheet budget, Capitalization Table, and Revenue Distribution charts that help you include in the latter half of the financial section of a business plan.
There’s a lot more information on these in the book Filmmakers and Financing by Louise Levinson. I’m also considering writing a blog series about writing a business plan for independent film. If you’d like to see that, comment it below.
7. Some Money already in place
Yes, I know I said that you need a package to raise money, but often in order to have a package you need to have some percentage of the budget already locked in. Generally 10% is enough to attach a known director and known talent. If you’re looking for a larger Sales Agent then you’ll also need to have some level of cash in hand.
This is essentially a development round raise. For more information on the development round raises, check back next week! Once it’s live, I’ll post the link here.
Check Back for The 4 Stages of Film Investment in a Few Weeks!
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My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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