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.
AFM this year will be interesting. Here’s the current state form someone who’s been going for 10 years, and has been a Practicing Producer’s rep for 6 years. Two quick things before we get started. First, You should definitely go to AFM at least once. It’s eye opening, and if I hadn’t done it I probably wouldn’t have a career.
Second: These opinions are mine alone, and have not been approved, endorsed, or otherwise condoned by the International Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) owner of the American Film Market. (AFM is also a Registered Trademark of the IFTA.)
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.
How to Get your Movie on Netflix
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.
How to Write an Independent Film Business Plan Part 7/7 - Pro Forma Financial Statements
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.
How to Write an Independent Film Business Plan Part 6/7: Financial Section Text Portion
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.
In this installment of my 7 part blog series on business planning, we’re going to take a look at the marketing section of the plan. This section is likely to be the longest section, as it encompasses an overview of the industry, as well as both marketing and distribution planning. Generally, this section will encompass 3-5 pages of the plan, all single spaced. This is among the most important sections of the plan, as it is a real breakdown of how money will come back to the film
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.
Last time we went over the basics of writing an independent film executive summary. This time, we’re diving into the first section of a business plan. By this I mean the company section. If you want an angel investor to give you money, they’re going to need to understand your company. There are some legal reasons for this, but most of it is about understanding the people that they’re considering investing in.
One of my more popular services for filmmakers is Independent Film Business Plan Writing. So I decided to do a series outlining the basics of writing an independent film business plan to talk about what I do, and give you an idea of how you can get started with it yourself. The first Section of the independent film business plan is always the executive Summary, and it’s the most important that you get right. So how do you get it write? Read this blog for the basics.
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.
Most of the time filmmakers seek to raise their investment round in one go. A lot of people think that’s just how it’s done, so they ask would they try anything else?
But just as filmmakers shouldn’t only look for equity when raising money, Filmmakers should consider the possibility of raising money in stages. Here are the 4 best stages I’ve seen, and some ideas on where you can get the money for each stage.
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.
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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