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roscoegino
03-14-2011, 07:41 PM
Your experiences?

DavidK
03-15-2011, 03:09 AM
Don't have time to answer this in full but some film investors - including some of the biggest - can be approached with projects and in some cases will look at scripts although they prefer considering work that's at least partially packaged or has attachments. Usually the first thing they do is get someone like a distribution agent to gauge whether or not there's a market for it. Some film fund managers will also look at material. But you're asking a very broad question - there are many variables and it's a landscape that's constantly changing. One of the questions being asked at this very moment is: will Japanese money dry up this year or will present events make international film investment more attractive to Japanese film investors?

wetroads
03-15-2011, 04:00 AM
Kind of like the query process except significantly harder. Although sometimes you get lucky.

Just make sure you have a great package to show them and it helps a lot to have a EP or producer attached that has some runs on the board.

Juno Styles
03-15-2011, 08:53 AM
where's everybody finding investors these days to even make an initial query or introduction? my issue has been finding people with that kind of disposable income. in terms of packaging, i have an actor looking at a script now who i'm interested in for the lead and waiting to see what his feedback is. i'll still need to know where to find the money though once that's complete.

Hamboogul
03-15-2011, 09:42 AM
Are we talking about a film that costs $100,000 or something that costs $10 million?

Juno Styles
03-15-2011, 09:50 AM
Ham - if you're asking me then I'm talking anywhere between $100k and $1 million. Preferably somewhere in the middle.

Hamboogul
03-15-2011, 09:56 AM
I was asking a broad question. I think if it's a certain amount, it's probably best to approach a few friends and family who believe in your career and/or film to make it within a reasonable budget.

Like BURIED could've been a great indie film shot for 5K.

Geoff Alexander
03-15-2011, 10:10 AM
I was asking a broad question. I think if it's a certain amount, it's probably best to approach a few friends and family who believe in your career and/or film to make it within a reasonable budget.

Like BURIED could've been a great indie film shot for 5K.

Well, I disagree. I don't think you should try and get friends and family to invest in your movie, I don't think it's fair to them. If your movie is good enough to get financed, then go to people who do it for a living.

Hamboogul
03-15-2011, 10:13 AM
Well, I disagree. I don't think you should try and get friends and family to invest in your movie, I don't think it's fair to them. If your movie is good enough to get financed, then go to people who do it for a living.

I disagree with your disagreement because you glossed over my part about "who believe in your career and/or film."

I'm not talking about 2nd mortgage money. Just 10 to 20 people who may plunk $100 to $1000 to make a low budget film.

Rantanplan
03-15-2011, 10:34 AM
I once took an IFP seminar about raising money for an indie film and it was incredibly intimidating. You have to be really careful about how you go about it or you could get in trouble. Since it's not a public offer, you have to somehow "meet" rich people before you can show them a business plan. Just putting together an attractive business plan would cost a lot of money. The guy who did the seminar was the executive producer of IRA AND ABBY, which had a budget of 3 M if I recall. He had to cold-call some 400 wealthy people to raise the money...

WriteByNight
03-15-2011, 12:23 PM
I'm seriously considering this approach. I have a action comedy I'm pushing that's budgeted just north of 3 mill. Most, if not all of the action sequences are contained to keep costs low. Stars I'm interested in are known comedians but nowhere near A-list.

Juno Styles
03-15-2011, 01:27 PM
Like BURIED could've been a great indie film shot for 5K.

possibly...but then it would've been a crap shoot in terms of getting a good distribution deal. with Ryan Reynolds attached it was damn near a guarantee.

i still have no idea why they spent $3 million on it other than to pay Ryan Reynolds most likely.

Juno Styles
03-15-2011, 01:29 PM
I'm seriously considering this approach. I have a action comedy I'm pushing that's budgeted just north of 3 mill. Most, if not all of the action sequences are contained to keep costs low. Stars I'm interested in are known comedians but nowhere near A-list.


go for it, especially if you are able to get the funding in place. after that it's just a matter of negotiating an actor's salary and seeing if they like the script enough to maybe cut you some slack in the process maybe (if you end up going for even bigger names then you have in mind).

DavidK
03-16-2011, 02:51 AM
Most of the time borrowing from friends and family is not a good way to finance a novice production. To do it fairly you'd want a distribution deal or letter of intent in place first, and if you could get that you could get money from market sources. If someone does decide to do the friends/family fundraiser, the ethical thing to do is warn them that there's a high chance they won't see a return on their investment.

You can make candy on spec knowing that it will probably sell, but not movies. I know this goes against the grain of people's optimism and enthusiasm but the risks are enormous and usually underestimated. Sorry to paint such a bleak picture but it's really like that. On the other hand, if a group of people just want to do it for fun and are genuinely not concerned about getting their money back, then go for it.

People don't believe me when I say this, but finding money is the easy part. The difficult part is having an amazing script/project to offer.

Juno Styles
03-16-2011, 08:43 AM
People don't believe me when I say this, but finding money is the easy part.

Since it's so easy would you care to elaborate on how to obtain investors or funds for a project aimed anywhere between $100k and $1 million young man?

carcar
03-16-2011, 09:44 AM
I once took an IFP seminar about raising money for an indie film and it was incredibly intimidating. You have to be really careful about how you go about it or you could get in trouble. Since it's not a public offer, you have to somehow "meet" rich people before you can show them a business plan. Just putting together an attractive business plan would cost a lot of money. The guy who did the seminar was the executive producer of IRA AND ABBY, which had a budget of 3 M if I recall. He had to cold-call some 400 wealthy people to raise the money...

I'm actually taking his seminar right now over at Film Indie. And it is daunting, especially when he tells you that IRA AND ABBIE didn't make its money back.

Juno Styles
03-16-2011, 11:09 AM
i've never heard of that film, was it any good? $3.5 million is pretty steep to not have any relevant name actors attached. That film called Margin Call that went to Sundance had a slightly lower budget than that and managed to get Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore and a few others attached. They made their money back when they sold it to distributors soon after its premiere...not sure if they got any kind of backend deal in addition to that though, etc.

DavidK
03-17-2011, 04:49 AM
Since it's so easy would you care to elaborate on how to obtain investors or funds for a project aimed anywhere between $100k and $1 million young man?

A project in that budget range will deter some investors from the outset because movies at that level usually don't generate a return of significance and one which justifies the risks. There are reasons why some movies are less expensive to make and those are the same reasons that can make them a higher liability in terms of sales and distribution. For budgets under $1m, soft money and the private investor circuit are better options.

Fundraising is best done in person and it typically takes 1-5 years. My recommendation (in general, not just to you) is to do the footwork. Financing opportunities are created by networking and meeting investors, fund managers and distribution agents etc. This can be initiated by attending festivals,film events and film markets, looking for the appropriate discussions / seminars / workshops and introducing yourself. In the first instance don't try to sell your project. Instead, show an interest in the investors, in what their investment strategy is and what sort of projects they are looking for. Use this research to identify those who are a match for your project and understand what their criteria are.

As well as considering a strategy for your project to find an investor, analyze it from the perspective of the money trying to find the right project. With this mindset you are more likely to find who your sources of investment might be.

There are exceptions and different ways to achieve the same results. I'm merely outlining a strategy I have found effective.

It also helps to do some homework - understand the different types of investment, how much it costs to deliver a film over and above the actual production costs, the vocabulary of film financing, revenue streams, and so on. Investors want the comfort of knowing you understand the mechanics of financing. If necessary, partner up with somebody who has these skills. It's also a good idea to get experience managing a budget on a smaller scale before trying to raise finance for your own movie. If you plan on managing $1m of someone else's money on something as fraught with risk as a movie, you need to know what you're getting yourself into. I don't say this to be discouraging, but to be realistic.

BurOak
03-17-2011, 03:43 PM
Most of the time borrowing from friends and family is not a good way to finance a novice production. To do it fairly you'd want a distribution deal or letter of intent in place first, and if you could get that you could get money from market sources. If someone does decide to do the friends/family fundraiser, the ethical thing to do is warn them that there's a high chance they won't see a return on their investment.
.

Or even get their investment back, most likely.