In part 5 of my 7 part series on business planning, we talk about the risk management/SWOT Analysis of your project. It begins with a risk statement that goes into exactly why film is a highly speculative and inherently risky investment, and then goes into a SWOT Analysis that illustrates how you plan on managing those risks. For those of you who don’t know SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
This is boilerplate legal copy that you should not write yourself. You’ll need a lawyer to write it, or some editions of Filmmakers and Financing by Louise Levinson have a statement you can use. You’ll see it in the related books section below. The purpose of this statement is to ensure that any potential knows that film investment carries a fairly significant risk of lowing everything you put into it.
This is something you MUST include in order to not paint too blue a sky, or make false promises. If it scares off any investors, it’s probably better you didn’t work with them anyway.
The way I do my SWOT analysis is on the bottom third of the page that contains the risk statement, I do a 2*2 grid of strengths weaknesses, opportunities and threats that outlines everything that will come for the following pages. If it fits, this is succinct and a great way to manage space while informing your people.
The other four sections of this pan are things I generally dress in a format similar to an outline, starting with a restatement of the Strength, Weakness, opportunity, or threat itself, and then stating how I intend to mitigate the negative and capitalize on the positive. Here’s an outline of what each of these parts of the acronym stand for.
Strengths are good things that are inherent to your project. This could be something like holiday movies tend to have longer lifespans because they have regular movies to trigger people feeling the need to watch them, or there’s already an existing fan base for the intellectual property you’ve optioned. Another good thing to focus on would be the track record of your team.
Conversely, weaknesses are things inherent to your project that may represent a problem. These could be things like, the Fourth of July is a uniquely American Holiday, so the film may be difficult to sell internationally. It could also be something like, the film is completely original, and has no existing fanbase. As previously stated, you’ll want to add exactly how you plan on addressing any weaknesses below each one.
While Strengths are inherent to your project, opportunities are more related to the current state of the overall market. An example of this might be that there aren’t enough Fourth of July movies currently being made to suite demand or another book from the same author as the book we’ve based our script on just got picked up for a television series by *insert name of studio or PayTV Channel.*
Just like opportunities, threats are reflective of current market conditions. An example of a threat would be that due to the current geopolitical state of the world, many foreign countries are less likely to buy American than they used to be. A potential trade war would also be considered a threat, although as of right now that’s not incredibly likely to effect to film and media. Without being too political, it’s worth noting that many threats will be related to the global political landscape. If you don’t follow it, you might want to start. Here’s an examination of why on my sister-blog over at ProductionNext.
On ProductionNext: Why Savvy Filmmakers Follow Politics
Thank you SO much for reading! I do a lot of this sort of work with my clients, so if you have a direct question that you need help answering for your business, then here are 3 options for you. If it’s a quick question, I recommend booking a call on clarity, it’s billed by the minute, but it’s the least amount of hassle in terms of quick answers. If you want to arrange something for me to review your deck or business plan and get back to you with notes, email me using the button below. Finally, if you want me to help you draft your business plan from scratch, or help you build a package, or even help sell your completed film, use the submit button.
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Finally, this is part 5 of a 7 part series. Next week we’ll be tackling the financial text section, and then we’ll round it out with pro-forma financial statements the following week. In the meantime, check out the other parts of the series with the links below.
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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