A colleague of mine asked me if I had a glossary on film financing terms in the same way I wrote one for film distribution (which you can check out here.) Since I didn’t have one, I thought I’d write one. After I wrote it, it was too long for a single post, so now it’s two. This one is on general terms, next week we’ll talk about film investment terms.
While many types exist, it most commonly refers to money.
Financing is the act of providing funds to grow or create a business or particular part of a business. Financing is more commonly used when referring to for profit enterprises, although it can be used in both for profit and non profit enterprises.
Funding is money provided to a business or non-profit for a particular purpose. While both for-profit and non-profit organizations can use the term, it’s more commonly used in non-profit media that the term financing is.
Money that comes back into an organization from providing shrives or selling/licensing goods. Money from Distribution is revenue, whereas money from investors is financing, and donors tend to provide funding more than financing, although both terms could apply.
Money given in support of an organization, project, or cause without the expectation of repayment or an ownership stake in the organization. Perks or gifts may be an obligation of the arrangement.
A loan that must be paid back. Generally with interest.
A payment put off to the future. Deferrals generally have a trigger as to when the payment will be due.
Generally money you don’t have to pay back, or sometimes money paid back by design. In film, it’s most commonly used to donations and deferrals, tax incentives, and occasionally product placement.
Someone who has provided investment to your company, generally in the form of liquid capital.
Someone with a significant stake in the outcome of an organization or project. These can be investors, distributors, recognizable name talent, or high level crew.
Someone who has donated to your cause, project, or organization.
Similar to donors, and can refer to high level donors or financial backers on the website Patreon. For examples of patrons, see below.
Non-Profit Organization (NPO)
An organization dedicated to providing a good or service to a particular cause without a direct financial benefit.
A tax code required for non-profits to be exempt from paying certain taxes in the United States.
Non-Government Organization (NGO)
Similar to a non-profit, generally larger in scope. Also, something of an antiquated term.
An organization providing funding to causes, organizations and projects without a promise of repayment or ownership. Generally, these organizations will only provide funding to non profit organizations. Exceptions exist.
An organization that funds other organizations and project in the form of grants. Generally, these organizations are also foundations, but not necessarily.
A process through which a for profit organization can fundraise with the same tax exempt status as a 501c3. In broad strokes, an accredited 501c3 takes in money on behalf of a for-profit company and then pays that money out less a fee. Not all 501c3 organizations can act as a fiscal sponsor.
Capital contributed to an organization in exchange for an equity stake, although it can also be structured as debt
A document providing a snapshot of the business of your project. I recommend a 12 slide version, which can be found outlined in this blog or made from a template in the resources section of my site, linked below.
Related: Free Film Marketing Resource Package
A creative snapshot of your project with a bit of business in it as well. NOT THE SAME AS A DECK. There isn’t as much structure to this. Check out the blog on that one below.
Related: How to make a look book
One of 3 generally expected ways to project revenue for a film. This one is based around understanding the spending power of your audience and creating a market share analysis based on that. I don’t yet have a blog on this one, but I will be dropping two videos about it later this month on my youtube channel. Subscribe so you don’t miss them.
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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