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Ulysses
03-08-2010, 06:21 PM
Lots of people pretend to be producers.

We can check up on their track record. That's not too hard.

Looks like like pretenders upped their game.

Let's call it "I'm a producer II" (available for X-Box, Playstation, and real Hollywood).

They don't say they are producers. They say they are financiers.

Has the nice ring of money to it without the necessity of being actually rich. Financiers, after all, deal with other people's money.

I came across threads regarding this several times on this forum. The latest one is here in the business section, and it's called "Attaching Talent"

This is much harder to check up on. There are no track records for financiers.

So my question to the more experienced here:

1. What are the signs that this financier is the real thing.

2. What sends your bull$hit-o-meter over the red mark?

DavidK
03-08-2010, 07:10 PM
Let's call it "I'm a producer II" (available for X-Box, Playstation, and real Hollywood).

They don't say they are producers. They say they are financiers.

1. What are the signs that this financier is the real thing.

2. What sends your bull$hit-o-meter over the red mark?

In the real world of producing it's okay to ask pertinent questions to people who claim to be financiers, and real financiers are quite happy for you to ask them and they have answers that can be verified. You say that financiers deal with other people's money, but that is not always the case and even when it is the financier has the authority to spend that money. So your first question should be along the lines, are you a broker or principal? If they say 'broker', that's alert number one. Anyone can bullsh!t as a broker for some mysterious source of funds. Maybe his girlfriend's uncle had a good day at the track.

What have you financed lately? Nothing? Nothing at all? Oh... It's also legitimate to ask who their accountants are. A real financier can immediately tell you the name of the - usually very well known - accountants who represent them. If it's a serious discussion ask who their lawyer is: "perhaps you can put me in touch with your lawyer so we can discuss this further." Again, they'll have a legitimate lawyer in the TMZ, not someone who turns out to be a bail bondsman working out back of a fruit market in San Jose. If you are discussing real cash money investment in your project, then let him show you his hand. Ask if your lawyer/manager can talk to someone at his bank to verify that funds would be available.

Real financiers deal with real money and it's part of their business to reveal the legitimacy of their position. Pseudo-brokers and wannabe-brokers can only give you vague answers, their business card isn't quite right, and they can't give you the name of their reputable lawyer or accountants. As soon as the vague explanations and excuses start pouring out, your bullsh!tometer should start looking like the fourth of July night sky.

Ulysses
03-08-2010, 11:24 PM
In the real world of producing it's okay to ask pertinent questions to people who claim to be financiers, and real financiers are quite happy for you to ask them and they have answers that can be verified. You say that financiers deal with other people's money, but that is not always the case and even when it is the financier has the authority to spend that money. So your first question should be along the lines, are you a broker or principal? If they say 'broker', that's alert number one. Anyone can bullsh!t as a broker for some mysterious source of funds. Maybe his girlfriend's uncle had a good day at the track.

What have you financed lately? Nothing? Nothing at all? Oh... It's also legitimate to ask who their accountants are. A real financier can immediately tell you the name of the - usually very well known - accountants who represent them. If it's a serious discussion ask who their lawyer is: "perhaps you can put me in touch with your lawyer so we can discuss this further." Again, they'll have a legitimate lawyer in the TMZ, not someone who turns out to be a bail bondsman working out back of a fruit market in San Jose. If you are discussing real cash money investment in your project, then let him show you his hand. Ask if your lawyer/manager can talk to someone at his bank to verify that funds would be available.

Real financiers deal with real money and it's part of their business to reveal the legitimacy of their position. Pseudo-brokers and wannabe-brokers can only give you vague answers, their business card isn't quite right, and they can't give you the name of their reputable lawyer or accountants. As soon as the vague explanations and excuses start pouring out, your bullsh!tometer should start looking like the fourth of July night sky.

I see the key is to find out if he's a broker or a principal, and then keep asking for references until you get them.

Financiers are used to creating trust through information, and all pseudo financiers will start dodging the moment you start going for concrete details.

This sounds like a simple and workable process.

You seem to know quite a bit about financing. Have you been involved in that business?

DavidK
03-09-2010, 01:02 AM
Yes I have but on the production end not the financier end. It's messy and it's usually a juggling act but you soon learn to spot the talkers vs. the doers.

abiqua
03-09-2010, 10:35 AM
So my question to the more experienced here:

1. What are the signs that this financier is the real thing.

2. What sends your bull$hit-o-meter over the red mark?

1. The option check clears. When the option is exercised, the purchase check also clears.

2. When 1. doesn't happen.

Mac H.
03-09-2010, 05:32 PM
There is a particularly embarrassing local example here.

He works under the name '### Pty Ltd'. Fortunately here in Australia it is only a couple of mouse clicks to find out about companies and businesses - just go to http:\\business.gov.au and type in the company/business name.

It turns out that he only thinks that he is a Pty Ltd company - that little detail of paying about $500 to register hasn't actually been done.

It's not a good sign when the film financier doesn't actually know business 101 principles! When I asked him about it he claimed that his 'team of lawyers' was sorting out a 'trading license' first.

Yep - just having a lawyer isn't impressive enough in his book. He has a 'team of lawyers'. Oh - and you don't exactly need much in the way of a 'trading license' for most things here. There are some bizarre exceptions (eg: You actually need a license to export cat fur!) but by and large it is pretty straight forward. He seemed totally oblivious to the laws we do have about raising finance - like number of investors, what counts as 'sophisticated' etc ...

To get back on topic, though, I wouldn't have the foggiest about the US film scene.

But the Aussie film scene is so small you can simply ask around. Unlike the US industry, most people are incredibly easy to contact. (We don't make many films, but sometimes small is an advantage!)

Mac

wcmartell
03-09-2010, 05:54 PM
They have money. They put the money in an escrow account so that you can point to it while setting up your film. They release money to attach stars. If they have actual money they are real... if they clain to have "second money" they are full of crap (second money is money they claim they will invest after you find some other investor to put in the first half).

Money. Not the promise of it, but actual money.

- Bill

DavidK
03-09-2010, 06:56 PM
Yep - his 'team of lawyers'. Oh - and you don't exactly need much in the way of a 'trading license' for most things here. There are some bizarre exceptions (eg: You actually need a license to exporting cat fur !)


That's a good example I hadn't thought of. If you ask for a financier's credentials and they say "Hey, we export cat fur," well... well I just think it's a bad sign, that's all.

Mad Mat
03-11-2010, 06:25 AM
How can you tell the financier is the real thing?


Great question.

With great answers.

And I assume you are approaching these financiers as a producer or director, as I would be surprised that a financier is interested in purchasing a script.

My experience has been limited to low-budget independent finance from the production's point of view and solely UK-based.

But having said that, in the UK, that's where the 'pretenders' all seem to hang out, because higher up, we have established film funds that have a tremendous track record.

The trouble is, some 'pretenders' sound like idiots, but actually do have access to money ... just no experience in the film industry. And for me, that's where the problems arose - vetting those with or without the money.

And the simplest way was exactly as has been mentioned previously ... questioning.

Especially with regard to talking to their lawyers or checking up on their legal status, e.g. company and financial services authority licence.

Understanding how the finance 'works', i.e. is it tax-based, straight equity, match-funding from other sources, etc, etc?, is a sure-fire way to sieve the wheat from the chaff.

That's also essential for you to know so that you know how the whole budget is being bundled together (as I assume it's not all in one lump sum).

Also, ask them what they want on the back-end, what's their expected recoupment position and for how long is the finance available (funding window)?

The trouble is (as I mentioned before), some may not know the answers to these questions, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have access to the money.

Most people at this level are 'gate-keepers' to larger private investment funds which are based on tax avoidance for high net-worth individuals and as such are very precarious, but nonetheless, chock-full of cash.

if they clain to have "second money" they are full of crap

See, that's why I like America - money talks and bullsh!t walks.

It just ain't the case here in the UK - at this level, anyway.

So for me, at the end of the day, it all came down to human instinct. Human instinct has worked for millions of years - and it still does. You have to believe in your own instincts. If something doesn't seem right, then it isn't. Just walk. You don't need to give a reason. It's called a pass. And we're all used to that.

Mat.

Ulysses
03-11-2010, 08:33 PM
I assume you are approaching these financiers as a producer or director, as I would be surprised that a financier is interested in purchasing a script.



Yes, this is one of the avenues I'm pursuing.



The trouble is, some 'pretenders' sound like idiots, but actually do have access to money ... just no experience in the film industry. And for me, that's where the problems arose - vetting those with or without the money.



Writers are often stunned by rich people.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, romanticizing the rich, once exhaled: "The rich are different from you and me!"

And Hemingway replied: "Yes, they have more money"

(the original quote is also part of the short story "The Rich Boy")

I love the "trust fund baby" scenes in "Entourage".

And in regards to possible financiers:

I agree with you and everybody who commented on this thread, that they should be approached with a rational attitude.



And the simplest way was exactly as has been mentioned previously ... questioning.

Especially with regard to talking to their lawyers or checking up on their legal status, e.g. company and financial services authority licence.

Understanding how the finance 'works', i.e. is it tax-based, straight equity, match-funding from other sources, etc, etc?, is a sure-fire way to sieve the wheat from the chaff.

That's also essential for you to know so that you know how the whole budget is being bundled together (as I assume it's not all in one lump sum).

Also, ask them what they want on the back-end, what's their expected recoupment position and for how long is the finance available (funding window)?

The trouble is (as I mentioned before), some may not know the answers to these questions, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have access to the money.

Most people at this level are 'gate-keepers' to larger private investment funds which are based on tax avoidance for high net-worth individuals and as such are very precarious, but nonetheless, chock-full of cash.



See, that's why I like America - money talks and bullsh!t walks.

So for me, at the end of the day, it all came down to human instinct. Human instinct has worked for millions of years - and it still does. You have to believe in your own instincts. If something doesn't seem right, then it isn't. Just walk. You don't need to give a reason. It's called a pass. And we're all used to that.

Mat.

In my opinion you can only rely on instinct if you have experience. Instinct is a way of thinking that has become so natural to you that you don't even notice it any more as thinking, it's that fast.

For not so experienced people I'd say it is better to stay in the field of step by step rationality and ask, as you and others said, many questions.

And make sure any deal is check up on by professionals.

But instinct will play especially well in our very own field: the personal. One may not see through all the bull$hit and financial speak of a poseur, but the way he says things and how he behaves physically when he says it can be a very good source of intelligence. (And I guess this is what you meant, Mat)

Ulysses
03-11-2010, 08:34 PM
Yes I have but on the production end not the financier end. It's messy and it's usually a juggling act but you soon learn to spot the talkers vs. the doers.

Great opportunity to gain experience for the bigger leagues.

The White Album
03-11-2010, 10:59 PM
Financiers are a strange bunch. I've dealt with them all. There's a large group of wealthy people (doctors, real estate agents, oil tycoons, etc.) who are seduced by Hollywood and will take countless meetings and do the "I have the money you want" dance just to be in the game, dine with important producers and meet with celebrities to impress their kids. But when it comes down to actually letting go of that money, they are some of the hardest people to convince to pull the trigger. These people are the biggest time-wasters, and usually don't know anything about the business but will try to make up for it with lots of flash.

Then there are the people who "know" the money people. There are lots of these folks running around. They go around trying to find projects that are already pre-packaged or have some worthwhile attachment. They then take that project and try to get it financed. If they do, they get a finder's fee. They without fail, never care about the quality of the script. Most of the time they don't even READ the script. All they care is if there's some sort of meaningful attachment that could raise money, thus leading to their finder's fee. I'm not saying never deal with these people, but I personally don't trust them unless someone I know and respect vouches for them.

People who are serious financiers are usually really smart business people. They understand the need to prove they're serious. Real money in the bank is easy to prove. In fact, the financier should be willing to give all the info needed for you, your lawyer or business manager, to call the bank and personally check up on this.

Ulysses
03-11-2010, 11:16 PM
Financiers are a strange bunch. I've dealt with them all. There's a large group of wealthy people (doctors, real estate agents, oil tycoons, etc.) who are seduced by Hollywood and will take countless meetings and do the "I have the money you want" dance just to be in the game, dine with important producers and meet with celebrities to impress their kids. But when it comes down to actually letting go of that money, they are some of the hardest people to convince to pull the trigger. These people are the biggest time-wasters, and usually don't know anything about the business but will try to make up for it with lots of flash.

Then there are the people who "know" the money people. There are lots of these folks running around. They go around trying to find projects that are already pre-packaged or have some worthwhile attachment. They then take that project and try to get it financed. If they do, they get a finder's fee. They without fail, never care about the quality of the script. Most of the time they don't even READ the script. All they care is if there's some sort of meaningful attachment that could raise money, thus leading to their finder's fee. I'm not saying never deal with these people, but I personally don't trust them unless someone I know and respect vouches for them.

People who are serious financiers are usually really smart business people. They understand the need to prove they're serious. Real money in the bank is easy to prove. In fact, the financier should be willing to give all the info needed for you, your lawyer or business manager, to call the bank and personally check up on this.

So if you had a project and wanted it financed, how would you go about finding the right kind of people?

Those smart business people with no time to waste... they must have a terribly strong screening process.

So what's the kind of introduction you need to get?

DavidK
03-12-2010, 12:56 AM
So if you had a project and wanted it financed, how would you go about finding the right kind of people?

Those smart business people with no time to waste... they must have a terribly strong screening process.

So what's the kind of introduction you need to get?

To make it easier to answer these questions, what size budget is being considered? Is it a project that will have international sales? What is the scale of domestic theatrical release? The means of financing varies according to the nature of the project. For a 'small' project, the costs of financing - interest, bank and legal fees, completion bond etc. - can be 20 percent or more of the whole budget. So whatever you've worked out it will cost to make and deliver your film will need a bunch more to make it possible to get a loan.

But you should know that financiers are not difficult to find. They are at all the festivals, they are often on panels discussing film financing, and they are often very approachable. If you find a friendly financier, you could show them a script and tell them you have a known director on board and if they liked your project they could be very helpful - put you in touch with a sales agent and get you connected to the people who could help package the project.

However, financiers don't lend money on spec. Generally your movie must have at least pre-sales in place and heads of department approved by the completion guarantor before a financier wants to talk about loans.

So, where are you headed, what sort of project do you want a financier to look at?

Pasquali56
03-12-2010, 05:54 AM
First of all, great thread. It's so important to know how to tell a b.s. artist from the real thing. I once had a so-called producer/financier convince me that he had just made a deal for $140 million in funding with a major entity. I googled his name and searched everywhere on the internet. All I could find were a couple of low budget films he produced about ten years back. I ended up spending a year doing rewrites on two screenplays until I found out that the he was a total flake/wannabe.

Writers are often so desperate for a deal that they'll put on blinders and take on free options from people like this that are no more producers than my dentist (who actually has more money than most producers). It's so important to ask the right questions before spinning your wheels with these flakes.

Ulysses
03-13-2010, 01:00 AM
To make it easier to answer these questions, what size budget is being considered? Is it a project that will have international sales? What is the scale of domestic theatrical release? The means of financing varies according to the nature of the project. For a 'small' project, the costs of financing - interest, bank and legal fees, completion bond etc. - can be 20 percent or more of the whole budget. So whatever you've worked out it will cost to make and deliver your film will need a bunch more to make it possible to get a loan.

But you should know that financiers are not difficult to find. They are at all the festivals, they are often on panels discussing film financing, and they are often very approachable. If you find a friendly financier, you could show them a script and tell them you have a known director on board and if they liked your project they could be very helpful - put you in touch with a sales agent and get you connected to the people who could help package the project.

However, financiers don't lend money on spec. Generally your movie must have at least pre-sales in place and heads of department approved by the completion guarantor before a financier wants to talk about loans.

So, where are you headed, what sort of project do you want a financier to look at?

I'm currently checking my options. To get involved with producing has become a stronger inclination over the past months.

I will pursue both avenues, that of a writer and that of a writer/producer/director. And then see what destiny has in store for me ;)

The project I'd be pursuing is one of my comedy scripts that is possible with a lower (but not super low) budget, as special effects are needed.

You mentioned presales... How could someone with no track record do presales? On what basis? I guess this is not an option for me right now. Or am I wrong and writer/director/producers have actually pulled this off: to sell a movie that has not been shot, a movie by someone who has never made a movie...

Wouldn't it more practical to shoot some footage on spec just to show a financier what it would look like? That seems to be more in the realm of reality. I have the strong impression that presales are for people with a rather strong track record...

Ulysses
03-13-2010, 01:10 AM
First of all, great thread. It's so important to know how to tell a b.s. artist from the real thing. I once had a so-called producer/financier convince me that he had just made a deal for $140 million in funding with a major entity. I googled his name and searched everywhere on the internet. All I could find were a couple of low budget films he produced about ten years back. I ended up spending a year doing rewrites on two screenplays until I found out that the he was a total flake/wannabe.

Writers are often so desperate for a deal that they'll put on blinders and take on free options from people like this that are no more producers than my dentist (who actually has more money than most producers). It's so important to ask the right questions before spinning your wheels with these flakes.

I think it possible that we have a similar development in movies like in TV: that a writer/producer does what currently a large number of people do in a not always great teamwork.

Raising money might just be the kind of activity one will have to engage in to do this.

The methods of raising money for a movie have changed. Instead of a studio shelling out the money, it will be coming from several sources in a kind of diversification of risk. (and studios actually are already doing this, acting as the middle men in raising funds).

Maybe hedge funds and other money raising entities can give role models from which to learn about the art of raising money.

The idea behind it is to save the energy you need going through many layers of producing bureaucracy and to go right to the source and get the money yourself.

Not that it will be any "easier". But it's about control, not about making it easier.

DavidK
03-13-2010, 06:03 PM
You mentioned presales... How could someone with no track record do presales? On what basis? I guess this is not an option for me right now. Or am I wrong and writer/director/producers have actually pulled this off: to sell a movie that has not been shot, a movie by someone who has never made a movie...


Good question. The only people I know who've started producing with no previous film production experience have had two things going for them: some producing experience in television; and, have been very savvy in understanding the finances of film production and sales/distribution and clever at arranging a financial package. In other words they've gained a sense of the fundamentals working in tv, and they have an excellent business sense with regard to financing.

If you don't have these, the best thing to do is team up with an experienced producer and put yourself to the test. If you prove yourself you'll get further opportunities.

Even so, these people have had to approach funding sources with the basic elements of a project package in place: a good script, a director who the financiers will trust, and a known actor. If you could assemble these elements, you could approach financiers. If they felt confident in you they could hook you up with a sales agent to see if you could come back with enough in pre-sales to offset the investment. However it's likely they'd want a more experienced producer working alongside you.

The producer's most important job is to convince financiers that their money will be in safe hands and that you can deliver the movie you say you can. For a first time producer to break through you'd need to be able to demonstrate a high level of business acumen in the area of production and distribution.

If you want it badly enough you'll find a way to do it. I don't know what your strengths are but if you are really attracted to producing, you want to study all you can about the finances of production. Ironically, it can take less time to get into a producing role in movies than in television drama. In tv you usually need to spend a few years paying your dues and you'd still be competing with many more experienced producers.

As for becoming writer/producer/director, you're setting yourself a really high goal. It's easier to do this on low budget projects because very few people have enough skills in all those areas for any financiers to take the risk.

Mac H.
03-13-2010, 06:56 PM
Presales seems to have dried up almost entirely in the past decade.

In the past a film could be funded entirely from presales - like Rocky.

Sure, they still exist but everyone I've spoken to who are involved with them says that they are only a fraction of what they used to be.

But a pre-sale in a territory can be over $100k per half-hour of TV for a decent drama.

Mac

DavidK
03-13-2010, 08:52 PM
Presales seems to have dried up almost entirely in the past decade.

In the past a film could be funded entirely from presales - like Rocky.

Sure, they still exist but everyone I've spoken to who are involved with them says that they are only a fraction of what they used to be.


Agree they're no good on their own but although less important are usually part of the terrible triplets - distributions agreement(s), pre-sales, and equity or gap finance. In some ways I think these changes have actually opened up opportunities for new producers as financing becomes more of an 'anything goes' situation.

Ulysses
03-13-2010, 11:24 PM
Good question. The only people I know who've started producing with no previous film production experience have had two things going for them: some producing experience in television; and, have been very savvy in understanding the finances of film production and sales/distribution and clever at arranging a financial package. In other words they've gained a sense of the fundamentals working in tv, and they have an excellent business sense with regard to financing.

If you don't have these, the best thing to do is team up with an experienced producer and put yourself to the test. If you prove yourself you'll get further opportunities.

Even so, these people have had to approach funding sources with the basic elements of a project package in place: a good script, a director who the financiers will trust, and a known actor. If you could assemble these elements, you could approach financiers. If they felt confident in you they could hook you up with a sales agent to see if you could come back with enough in pre-sales to offset the investment. However it's likely they'd want a more experienced producer working alongside you.

The producer's most important job is to convince financiers that their money will be in safe hands and that you can deliver the movie you say you can. For a first time producer to break through you'd need to be able to demonstrate a high level of business acumen in the area of production and distribution.

If you want it badly enough you'll find a way to do it. I don't know what your strengths are but if you are really attracted to producing, you want to study all you can about the finances of production. Ironically, it can take less time to get into a producing role in movies than in television drama. In tv you usually need to spend a few years paying your dues and you'd still be competing with many more experienced producers.

As for becoming writer/producer/director, you're setting yourself a really high goal. It's easier to do this on low budget projects because very few people have enough skills in all those areas for any financiers to take the risk.

Great tip to work with an experienced producer.

There's a lot of chemistry between people in this. Sometimes you just meet people you want to work with and they want to work with you, no matter what differences in status. As a writer I might just stumble across someone.

The writer/producer/director goal is not immediate. It's not a good idea to set goals too high, but it's a good idea to know what lies within the realm of interest and ability, even if it's currently not an option.

I see you are pointing out that knowledge about the finances and financing of production is key. I have a university background, but not in finance or economics. I will probably books that go beyond what is available on film financing (I have the impression that these books often only seem to skim the surface of the topic).

Mad Mat
03-16-2010, 11:45 AM
As for becoming writer/producer/director, you're setting yourself a really high goal. It's easier to do this on low budget projects because very few people have enough skills in all those areas for any financiers to take the risk.

... which is why you must do everything to show that you are capable of being a writer and a director and a producer.

And the best way to do that is to wear three very distinct hats - in that order.

First of all nail that script. Get it tight and then put it to bed for the moment.

Next, focus on the directing element. Get all the creative stuff sorted so that you can then pass that on to ...

... the producer who can then focus on raising the finance etc by using the creative ammunition the writer and director have provided.

The producer's most important job is to convince financiers that their money will be in safe hands and that you can deliver the movie you say you can. For a first time producer to break through you'd need to be able to demonstrate a high level of business acumen in the area of production and distribution.

Exactly. The producer's role is not to make a film, but to return a 'profit' on the investors' investments. Period.

Now that may be money or a ticket to a gala premiere in Cannes or it may just be dinner and a picture with the leading lady, but either way, that's what they want for their money and that's what you have to give them.

And if you do, they'll be more willing to fund your next film.

But how to convince them in the first place?

I hear this a lot in panel sessions:

"I'm a first time director. How can I convince financiers to fund my film?"

And I always throw it back at them: "If I was a financier, here, sitting in front of you, what would you do right now to convince me?"

And they always look blank. Some say the obvious, but then they'd have to be extremely good in bed to warrant a 500,000 pay-check!

Wouldn't it more practical to shoot some footage on spec just to show a financier what it would look like?

Exactly. And concept art. Storyboards. Animatics. Website. Everything and anything that is cheap to create and demonstrates your vision and your ability to direct.

Whatever you do though, don't shoot a 'trailer'. It's a demo. But the quality has to look like a film. It can't be raw and it can't be a 'rough-cut', because investors don't know what they are. They only know finished films and that's their benchmark. Anything that looks below par will turn them right off. So your demo has to be graded and sound-designed. Remember, you're using this to demonstrate your abiltiy to direct and produce a movie - quality before quantity.

So don't shoot as much as you can within the constraints you have ... shoot one scene to the best of your ability ... with a proper crew and proper actors. Nothing can look wooden. Everything must look slick. Like a movie would. Because that's what the investors expect and that's what you've got to give them.

Remember, they read books, not scripts, so they probably don't know how to read a script. They will ask for it anyway, but that's why you need to show them visuals. Human beings are 'visual' creatures. Give them a visual treat. Hook them in with what you are going to do and what they can be part of.

Obviously, if the financiers are an established film fund then they will know how to read a script and that will play an important part in how they approach you, but to anyone else (private equity investors), you are selling you and your ability. If they trust what you are saying, they will naturally trust that you have written a great script - but get some great coverage from reputable readers to back that up.

All the time you will need external proof that you can do what you say you can do.

And this is where ...

a more experienced producer working alongside you.

... will help you tremendously.

Some colleagues of mine did exactly this as an Exec Producer - and it got them through so many doors, because not only did having the producer attached add credibility to the script/project, but it also gave credibiltiy to their competences as director and producer to deliver the film to a distributable level.

Presales seems to have dried up almost entirely in the past decade.

Although this is true, having an established producer on board as an exec and having all the creative material ready for viewing as well as the script can help land the 'interest' of a sales agent or distributor ... which all helps convince investors to part with their money.

So all in all, it's not impossible ... just a long, arduous journey.

Good luck. :)

Mat.

Ulysses
03-20-2010, 03:59 PM
... which is why you must do everything to show that you are capable of being a writer and a director and a producer.

And the best way to do that is to wear three very distinct hats - in that order.

First of all nail that script. Get it tight and then put it to bed for the moment.

Next, focus on the directing element. Get all the creative stuff sorted so that you can then pass that on to ...

... the producer who can then focus on raising the finance etc by using the creative ammunition the writer and director have provided.



Sounds well in my ears. I am not in favor of specialists. People can do more than one thing well, and the different disciplines enhance one another.




Exactly. And concept art. Storyboards. Animatics. Website. Everything and anything that is cheap to create and demonstrates your vision and your ability to direct.

Whatever you do though, don't shoot a 'trailer'. It's a demo. But the quality has to look like a film. It can't be raw and it can't be a 'rough-cut', because investors don't know what they are. They only know finished films and that's their benchmark. Anything that looks below par will turn them right off. So your demo has to be graded and sound-designed. Remember, you're using this to demonstrate your abiltiy to direct and produce a movie - quality before quantity.

So don't shoot as much as you can within the constraints you have ... shoot one scene to the best of your ability ... with a proper crew and proper actors. Nothing can look wooden. Everything must look slick. Like a movie would. Because that's what the investors expect and that's what you've got to give them.

Remember, they read books, not scripts, so they probably don't know how to read a script. They will ask for it anyway, but that's why you need to show them visuals. Human beings are 'visual' creatures. Give them a visual treat. Hook them in with what you are going to do and what they can be part of.

(...) (private equity investors), you are selling you and your ability. If they trust what you are saying, they will naturally trust that you have written a great script - but get some great coverage from reputable readers to back that up.

All the time you will need external proof that you can do what you say you can do.

And this is where ...


Excellent. I planned doing a sequence, but maybe one scene will be enough.

I also feel strongly that working with an experienced producer...




... will help you tremendously.

Some colleagues of mine did exactly this as an Exec Producer - and it got them through so many doors, because not only did having the producer attached add credibility to the script/project, but it also gave credibility to their competences as director and producer to deliver the film to a distributable level.



If nobody knows your abilities you constantly need to prove and establish credibility, and do it automatically all the time and not worry about being too "whatever-what". That's what I get from the posts in this thread that has so developed so great with all that input it has gotten.

So, I see that before you get credibility with investors you'd better get credibility with an experienced producer to help you convince financiers/investors.


(...) having an established producer on board as an exec and having all the creative material ready for viewing as well as the script can help land the 'interest' of a sales agent or distributor ... which all helps convince investors to part with their money.

Mad Mat
03-25-2010, 01:03 PM
So, I see that before you get credibility with investors you'd better get credibility with an experienced producer to help you convince financiers/investors.

You can gain credibility with investors yourself, but having an experienced producer on board as an exec or 'mentor' will only enhance that credibility.

Getting the producer on board should also be a major boon to the production in all areas - not least, your morale.

Again, good luck with it all.

Mat.

Ulysses
03-26-2010, 05:49 PM
You can gain credibility with investors yourself, but having an experienced producer on board as an exec or 'mentor' will only enhance that credibility.

Getting the producer on board should also be a major boon to the production in all areas - not least, your morale.

Again, good luck with it all.

Mat.

This is a sensitive point: how can you create confidence of investors without a body of work.

The only thing that comes to my mind is to show a scene or a sequence with professional quality camera work, editing, and sound.