There are 3 different documents you would need to approach an investor about your independent film. I’ve written guides on this blog to show you how to write each and every one of them. Those three documents are a Look Book (Guide linked here.) a Deck (Guide Linked Here) and a business plan. (Part 1/7 here) But while I’ve Written about HOW to create all of these documents, I’ve held back WHY you write them, WHO needs them, and WHEN to use them. So this blog will tell you WHO needs WHAT document WHEN and HOW they’re going to use it.
As with some other blogs, I’ll be using the term stakeholder to refer to anyone you may share documents with, be they an investor, studio head, sales agent, Producer of Marketing and Distribution (PMD) or Distributor.
WHAT are these documents and WHY do you share them?
So first, let’s start with what each document is, just in case you haven’t read the other blogs (which you still should)
A Look book for an independent film is an introductory document, that’s very pretty and engaging, and gives an idea of the creative vision of the film. The purpose is to get potential stakeholders interested enough in the project to request either a meeting or a deck. The goal in showing them this document is to get them to start to see the film in their head, and get them to become interested in the project on an emotional level
A Deck is a snapshot of the business side of your film. The goal is to send them something that they can review quickly to get an idea on how this project will go to market and how it will make money, so that they get an ideal of how they’ll get their money back.
A business plan is a detailed 18-24 page document broken into 7 sections that will give potential investors not only an idea of your investment, but of the industry as a whole. In a sense, its equal parts education and persuasion, especially for investors new to the film industry. The goal is to give the prospective stakeholder a deeper understanding of the film and media industry, and a very thorough understanding of your project and the potential for investing in it.
WHO needs these documents and HOW they’ll use it
Different stakeholders need these documents ad different times.
Look Books should be sent to any potential stakeholder, including investors, studio heads, sales agents, distributors, producer’s reps, Executive Producers, and more. It’s a creative document that gives a good idea of the product at the early stage. It helps people gauge interest in your project
Decks are primarily used by Investors, Executive Producers, PMDs, and potentially Sales Agents. Distributors and Studio Heads are less likely to need a deck, since they know the business better than you do. At least most of the time.
Business plans are primarily needed by angel investors new to the film industry and Angel Investment Syndicates to use as the backbone for the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) The First and last sections of the business plan (The Executive Summary and Pro-Forma Financial Statements) may be more widely used, often at the save general place as the deck, or only shortly after.
WHEN do they need these documents?
Look books come early on. It’s generally the first thing they’ll ask for when considering your project.
Decks come shortly after the look book. Sometimes in an initial meeting, or sometimes directly after than first meeting.
Looking at.a business plan is generally very deep in the process of talking to a potential stakeholder, it’s almost always after at least 2-3 meetings and thorough review of the deck.
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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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