The year is starting to wrap up, so now’s a good time to plan for how to make your career skyrocket in 2019. If you’re not developing a film, you should be. But if you read last week’s blog outlining why we’re likely going to be looking at a recession in 2019, and what that means for the film industry then you might be understandably nervous as to how you’re going to get your work done. So here’s my advice to you.
By the way, this blog is going to heavily build on last week’s blog. If you haven’t yet, read it by clicking below. I’m going to reference it a lot in this week’s blog.
Angel Investment Money will be Harder to Find, but can be Easier to Access.
If I’m right about the impending recession, then it’s likely that investors are going to get skittish. However, investors will likely need to put their money somewhere. In an uncertain economy, the film industry becomes comparably less risky, so you might want to talk to your investors about how the risk profile of the investment has become slightly less risky than it was. However, you’ll need to make sure you have a way to capture attention and get eyeballs on your film.
It may well be that your investors kind of took a bath when the stock market takes a pretty massive hit. If that’s the case, and it looks like their portfolio will bounce back then you should have them ask their broker about a portfolio loan. The blog below will provide much more insight.
Pre-Sale Money might become more Viable
Given that we discussed last week how SVOD and AVOD platforms are likely to come out of the recession with an increased market share, it’s more likely that they’re going to need to put up their own money to finance content to keep their pipelines full.
That said, you’re going to need to develop a good package, and you’re going to need more than just a presale to finance your film.
Consider a Pivot to Episodic Content
As discussed in last week’s blog, if a recession hits, the film markets are likely going to be in more trouble than they already are. Given that the way we generally consume content has shifted from the theater to binge watching shows on platforms like Hulu and Netflix. If you have the ability to get enough money together to get an entire season of TV content together you should consider it as an alternative to financing a feature. That being said, I wouldn’t bother with a pilot.
If you can’t get 10-13 episodes of TV content together, then you should consider a web series. It’s easier to guarantee distribution, and if you do the web series fest circuit, you can build enough buzz to get a strong series deal out of it. Something similar happened with Diary of an Awkward Black Girl that turned into HBO’s Insecure.
I’m currently working on a blog post that dives into this in much more detail based on a segment from one of my workshops. When it’s released, I’ll post it here.
Tax Incentives may well go Down.
As the economy shrinks, states may feel the need to cut back on spending. Often, the arts are one of the first places where deep cuts are felt, especially in red states. So if you’re planning on using a tax incentive to finance your film once the recession hits, you may want to reconsider. I’ll admit, this one involves a lot more speculation than most of the others.
Grants may be Tricky.
If you were counting on a grant for your film to get funded, you may be in a rough spot since when people have to tighten their belts, charitable giving tends to go way down. This isn’t certain though. Some larger foundations are likely going to be able to weather a few years in a bad economy before taking some big cuts.
Now Could be a Good Time to make your First Feature
If you can make your first feature for a very small amount of money, now might be a good time. You’re likely going to have the time to kill, and some of your contacts who tend to work on corporate videos may be less busy than they were due to the recession.
If you decide to go this way, I would make sure you make a film that can be profitable on SVOD and AVOD alone, and that you spend time developing and engaging with your following across all platforms. When money is tight, it’s much easier to convince someone to watch your movie on Amazon than it is to convince them to buy it.
If you’ve made a low budget film, and gotten it reasonably widely known and distributed, then you’ll be in a much better position to get investment when the economy bounces back.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday. Come back next week for my final part in this 3 part series, the Hot and Not Genres of 2019!
In the meantime, check out my mailing list! You’ll get lots of great goodies, including blog digests organized by topic, an AFM Resources Packet, and money saving resources for film markets and festivals.
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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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