Last week I laid out a glossary of general use film financing terms, but the blog ended up a bit too long and dense to be a single post. So, I broke it into two. Last week was the basics, this week is more of the next level, and focuses entirely on investment terms. Some of these may seem tangential and unnecessary, however if your goal is to close an investor, you’ll need to thoroughly speak their language. If there’s something you don’t see here, check out last week’s blog here.
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.
Pretty much every filmmaker wants to find money to make their movie. Unfortunately, many don’t quite realize that in order to raise the kind of money you need to make anything above a micro budget movie, you’ll generally need a lot already in place. It’s something of a catch-22. Investors need name talent to market the film, and distribution to make it available. Distributors need name talent and a tested team to give any meaningful commitments, and name taken need to know they’ll be paid. There are ways around all of this, but generally they require money up front. This blog is about how you raise it.
They say that most people know whether or not they would get into bed with someone in the first conversation. Admit it, you didn’t realize I was talking about investors giving you money right there, did you? Jokes aside, there are a few key things your investor is going to need to know about your project in order to give you any serious consideration.
Many filmmaker and even more film consumers just want to know when work will be on Netflix. In recent years, this has become more difficult than it was previously. IT used to be that it was a relatively easy sale to get on Netflix, although the money wasn’t very good. More recently, the bar has been raised substantially, and the money you get for it hasn’t increased as much as we may have liked it to. What follows is an outline of how to get your film on Netflix, both as an original and as an acquisition.
Most filmmakers hate the idea of crowdfunding. While nobody likes constantly having their hands out and asking their friends for money for a whole month straight, it’s something that most filmmakers are going to have to do early in their careers. It’s very possible that most filmmakers will have to do it more than once. But the reason you crowdfund isn’t just about the money. There are lots of other reasons crowdfunding can be a boon for a filmmaker’s career. Here are 4 of them.
In the final part of my 7 part series on writing a business plan for independent film and media, I’ll be going over all of the financial statements you’ll need in your business plan. This is a section that you’ll want to write before you write the financial text section of your plan, as it will have great impact on that section, and potentially other sections of the plan. Each document should take up only a single page.
In part 6 of my 7 part series on independent film business planning, we’re going to go over the text portion of the financial section of the business plan. This is where you explain the methodology you used in your financial projections, the general plan for taking in the money, and then overview what you’re going to present in the final section, the pro-forma financial statements.
Next up in my 7 part series on writing a business plan for independent film, we’ll be taking a deeper look at the project(s) section of the plan. The projects section of the plan is the most creative section, as it talks about the creative work that you’re seeking to finance. That being said, it breaks those creative elements into their basic business points. This section should be no more than a page if you have one project, and no more than 2 pages if you’re looking at a slate.
One of the most common questions I get is where to find investors for a feature film. Inherent in that question is simply where to find investors. While I may not have a specific answer for you regarding exactly where to find them, I do have a set of rules for figuring out where you might be able to find them in your local community. This is meant to be applicable outside of the major hubs in the US, and as such it’s not going to have to be more of a framework than a simple answer.
A few months ago I worked with the absolutely lovely Joanne Butcher of Filmmaker Success to put on an educational event about grant writing here in San Francisco. Joanne has raised millions in grant funding for several non-profits over the course of her life. While I can’t distill everything from her talk into a single blog, I can give the people who weren’t able to make it some of the key takeaways. So without further ado, here are the 5 rules for applying for grants.
There’s an old adage that Investing is like Dating. In fact, I’ve talked about the similarities both on meetings with investors, and dates with people who are qualified to be investors. So as a something of a tongue-in-cheek yet still (Mostly) safe for work post, here are 7 ways courting an investor is like dating.
Most of my work these days is as a consultant, distribution representative, and marketer for a great little tech company. However, there was a time when I was a filmmaker, and a regular (as opposed to executive) producer. In that time, I raised a total of 33,000 on kickstarter of two projects. This blog gives you some of what I learned on those two campaigns.
While those two projects never went as far as they could have due to a parting of ways between myself and my former business partner, there’s still a lot of information I learned in running these campaigns in the early days of kickstarter. Here are 5 of them.
As a key part of writing a business plan for independent film, a filmmaker must figure out how much the film is likely to make back. This involves developing or obtaining revenue projections.
There are generally two ways to do this, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The first way is to do a comparative analysis. This means taking similar films from the last 5 years and plugging them into a comparative model to generate revenue estimates. The second way is to get a letter of intent from a sales agent, and get them to estimate what they could sell this for in various territories across the globe.
This blog will compare and contrast these two methods (Both of which I do regularly for clients) in an effort to help you better understand which way you want to go when writing the business plan for your independent film.
When fundraising for anything, the first money is always the hardest. Investors don’t want to be the first in due to the investment seeming untested. So in order for them to feel more secure, you might need to raise some of the money in other places. Here are the 7 most realistic places for filmmakers to go to get first money in.
Just like all filmmakers and Entrepreneurs are not created equal, nor are all “Rich Guys.” Many will jerk you around, and not actually deliver on what they promise. So how do you know if your potential investor is legit? Well, here are a few tips.
A lot of Filmmakers are only concerned with finding investors for their projects. While films require money to be made well, there’s are better ways to find that money than convincing a rich person to part with a few hundred thousand dollars. Even if you are able to get an angel investor (or a few ) on board, it’s often not in your best interest to raise your budget solely from private equity, as the more you raise the less likely it is you’ll ever see money from the back end of your project.
Much of this series has been focused on the numbers behind film investment. While metrics like ROI and APR are very important when considering an investment, they’re not the only reason that high net worth individuals (HNWIs) tend to shy away film. Here are 7 things that are stopping them.
Why Don't Tech people invest in Film? Part 3/7
In the words of Albert Einstein, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” He also called it “The 8th wonder of the world, he who understands it, earns it. He who does’t, pays it.” In this post, we’re going to be examining how we can use the notion of compound interest in comparison to tech and film investments.
Independant film producers are forced to wear many hats. We have to be marketers, fundraisers, public personas, therapists, mediators, accountants, negotiators, hustlers, and logistically minded magicians. [Although I know an app to help with that last one.] There are certain backgrounds that help more than others for this multifaceted skill set. There is some variance depending on which type of producer you intend to be, but they all have one thing in common. Every Producer must have a deep understanding of Money, and the incentive systems that enable it to flow between different hands.
Taking a little bit of a break from the visions of the film industry and the direction that it should go in, this week I'll be offering a piece of useful advice for all the producers out there. I should start this by saying that I am NOT a financial planner. I am IN NO WAY qualified to evaluate a security. I am also not qualified to give professional advise as to what stocks to buy, how to manage a portfolio, or anything even remotely related to that information.
In my time at the Institute for International Film Finance and Global Film Ventures, I’ve heard many people speak on various tricks to get Films Financed. One of the single most valuable tools in my arsenal is one that I will share with you now. I will say this was not developed by me, but rather by a speaker for one of my events a while back. I will start by saying that in order to be a producer, you need to understand your competition. Not just in terms of other movies and entertainment that are up against yours in the marketplace, but also how your investment stacks up against other potential investments that High Net Worth Individuals may be considering. This requires that a savvy producer understand the stock market, as it is the most common place where investors keep their money.
There’s an old joke that goes something like this. Three artists move to Los Angeles, a Fine Artist, a poet, and a Filmmaker. The first day they’re in town, they check out the Mann’s Chinese Theater. When they get there, a wave of inspiration overtakes them. The fine artist says, “This is incredible, I have to draw something! Does anyone have a piece of chalk?” Low and behold a random passerby happens to have one, and hands it over. The fine artist does a beautiful rendering on the sidewalk.
Watching this, the poet says, “I’ve had a flash of inspiration, I must write! Does anyone have a pen and paper?” It happens to be a friendly sort of Los Angeles day, and someone hands over a pen and paper. He writes a beautiful Shakespearean sonnet about his friend’s artistry with the chalk.
The process of Filmmaking has been evolving rapidly over the past decade. With the massive change in the availability of equipment, negating the need for tapes or stock, and bringing professional quality down to a price point thought unfathomable merely a decade ago, the barrier to entry for making a film has been almost completely obliterated. Additionally, education on how to make a film has become widely available, from a massive emergence of film schools to a plethora of information available in special edition DVDs, anyone can learn how to make a film. However, the same cannot be said for Film Distribution. Film distribution is still a black box from where no light or information emerges. There is a very palpable air of secrecy around film distribution, and now that film production has become available for anyone curious enough to seek it, it’s time the same is done for film distribution.
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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