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.
But before we get started, let me clarify that this is not the entire conversation. This Is the conversation that will get you to the point you can send over documents for more much deeper consideration. Also, any one of these key points can disqualify an investor or a distributor. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, it just means it’s not for them
Related blogs: How to write a Look Book, Deck, & Business Plan (series)
Stage of development
There’s more than one time you’ll need to raise money. As such, it’s good to clarify where you are with it up front.
Your film is a hugely important. Generally, you’ll want to only list one genre as it denotes the style and feel of your film, and maybe 2-3 sub genres as those will inform both your setting, your audience, and general themes. An example would be Goodland is a Slow-Burn Crime Thriller.
Investors will want to know who you have on board. This can be distributors, recognizable name talent, tested directors, or anything else that may be marketable. A couple of examples would be Black Gold: America is Still the place stars Mike Colter (AKA Marvel’s Luke Cage.) It could also be The Cutlass has Wild Eye Releasing attached for Domestic distribution, and Leomark Studios handling international Sales.
Read more on ProductionNext: Debbie Brubaker's Top Priorities to spend money on and places to save money on the budget for your independent film!
Your logline isn’t a 20 page treatment. It’s a punchy sentence describing your project. Everything up to this point is something you should be able to get out in about 10-15 seconds.
An example would be Goodland is a Completed SAG-AFTRA Ultra Low Budget Crime Thriller set in rural Kansas. When a mysterious photographer shows up in town the same day the body of a drifter turns up dead in a cornfield, the local sheriff (played by Cinnamon Schultz of Winter’s Bone) must piece together the conspiracy before it’s too late.
Watch Goodland on Showtime. (#NotSpon, but I did Rep & EP the film.)
The big reason your investor needs to know this is to make a better risk assessment. It will also inform how much you’re asking them for. You should never expect investors to cover your whole budget.
An example of this would be something like Of our 4 million dollar budget, we’re raising 2.5mm in equity. The rest is being covered by an MG backed Presale from our sales agent, tax incentives from that place we’re shooting being monetized by huge state business.
(Author's) note: Since it came up in the comments, I thought I'd clarify that the 4 million dollar example above is taken from a different film as the one I mentioned in the logline example.
Read more: The 9 ways to finance an independent film
Target Demographic/Expected Audience
Your Investor is going to want to understand how they get you’re going to get their money back to them, which means that you need to know who will buy your movie. Think of this as placing a target, so you know where to shoot the arrow in the next step. An example would be: After a few test screenings, we’ve realized that the target audience for The Cutlass is women aged 30-49. Or, Based on ratings data gathered from similar films on IMDb Pro, we expect that that Made-up-action-movie starring Governator McActionFace will appeal primarily to Non-college educated White Men aged 30-55. Especially those in Texas.
Finally, they’ll need to know how you plan to reach that audience. If figuring out your audience is placing the target, Marketing is shooting the arrow.
As an Example: The Cutlass will be available across all standard TVOD platforms, Amazon Prime, and SVOD platforms. We’ll utilize an aggressive PR and Awareness campaign to reach our core demographic, and get seeded in Amazon Prime’s Algorithm, and we will consider additional artwork to appeal to our new demographic.
Another example, Made-Up-Action Movie will utilize Governator McActionFace’s star power to raise awareness on the standard talk-show circuit prior to the US Release, while seeding early adopters with press and advance screenings in Texas, Montana, parts of Colorado, and Arizona. Our theatrical run will focus primarily on screens in smaller secondary and rural markets.
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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.