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.
Write this section LAST
This section may be the first section in your independent film business plan, but it’s the last section you should write. Once you’ve written the other sections of this plan, the executive summary will be a breeze. The only thing that might be a challenge is keeping the word count sparse enough that you keep it to a single page.
If you have an investor that only wants an executive summary, then you can write it first. But you’ll also need to generate your pro forma financial statements for your film, project revenue and generally have a good idea of what’s going to go into the film’s business plan in order to write it. I would definitely write it after making the first version of your Deck, and rewrite it after you finish the rest pf the business plan.
Keep it Concise
As the name would imply, the Executive Summary is the Summary of a entire business plan. It takes the other 5 sections of the film’s business plan and summarizes them to a single page. It’s possible that you could do a single double sided page, but generally for a film you won’t need to. Here’s a super quick summary of what you’ll cover in your executive summary.
As the title implies, this section goes over the basics of your project. it goes over the major attachments, a synopsis, the budget, as well as the genre of the film. You’ll have about a paragraph or two to get that all across, so you’ll have to be quite concise.
This section is a brief description of the values of your production company. Generally you’ll keep it to your mission statement, and maybe a bit about your key members in the summary.
In a standard prospectus, this would be the go to market strategy. For a film, this means your marketing and distribution sections. For the executive summary, list your target demographics, whether you have a distributor, plan to get one, or plan on self distributing. Also include if you plan on raising additional money to assist in distribution.
SWOT Analysis/Risk Management
SWOT is an acronym standing for Strengths Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. For the executive summary, this section should include a statement that outlines how investing in film is incredibly risky, due to a myriad of factors which practically render your projections null and void. Advise potential investors to should always consult a lawyer before investing in your film. Cover your ass. I’ve done a 2*2 table with these for plans in the past, and it works reasonably well. Speaking of covering one’s posterior, you should have a lawyer draft a risk statement for you. Also, I am not one of those, just your friendly neighborhood entrepreneur. #NotALawyer #SideRant
Finally we come to the part of the plan that the investors really want to see. How much is this going to cost, and what’s a reasonable estimate on what it can return. There are two ways of projecting this, outlined in the blog below.
In addition to your expected ROI, you’ll want to include when you expect to breakeven, and mention that pro forma financial statements are at the end of this plan included behind the actual financial section.
Pro Forma Financial Statements.
If you’re sending out your executive summary as a document unto itself, you will strongly want to consider including the pro forma financial statements. For Reference, those documents are a top sheet budget, a revenue top sheet, a waterfall to company/expected income breakdown, an internal company waterfall/capitalization table, a cashflow statement/breakeven analysis, and a document citing your research and sources used in the rest of the plan.
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Here’s a link to the other sections of this 7 part series. I’ll make sure they’re linked as the other sections go live.
Risk Statement/SWOT Analysis
Financials Section (Text)
Pro-Foma Financial Statements.
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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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