The world of film funding is full of myths and misinformation. It's also filled with ruthless sharks and claws. In my 30 years at Raindance, I've seen almost every type of film finance that you should never use. Check (below) whether you agree (or not) with this.
6 myths of film funding
Film festivals and film markets aren't the only places where bad information lurks. The internet is full of terrible advice, pixel by pixel. As Donald Trump would say: FAKE NEWS!
What is true is that real people with real money are ready to fund your movie if you compose the right strategy and approach them the right way.
Please never try any of these strategies:
1. Rely on talent
I have friend for friend who meets a celebrity and gets their verbal consent to be in their film. Sometimes the verbal agreement is as subtle as a raised eyebrow. These misguided filmmakers then plan their entire film based on the agreement of these prominent actors.
If you add a named actor to your presentation without their knowledge or written permission, stick with that actor. It works like this: Your investor will only fund if that particular actor has given their consent. Next, you'll spend weeks, months, and even years trying to find the actor. In this case, you are known as a filmmaker waiting for a star to agree to be in your movie, rather than a filmmaker.
2. Hire an expensive consultant
Would you hire an Expert Advisor without thoroughly reviewing them in another area? If you need a contractor, brain surgeon, or architect, wouldn't you go to a trusted company or personal acquaintance and ask for their recommendation?
It doesn't seem so in the film industry. It's full of charlatans chasing after first-time filmmakers with offers of easy access to fortune (and fame). I had two debut filmmakers who told me they would pay $ 10,000 (in one case) and $ 5,000 to another who promised entry to the Raindance Film Festival. Wow! None of the films were selected for our festival.
Numerous other filmmakers contacted me about consultants who had promised a lot of money and wanted an upfront fee. I never knew that would work.
3. The wrong business plan for movies
People who fund businesses and films are very busy. The worst thing you can do is send tons of pages to a potential investor. A good business plan should tell the story of your film. It should be short and sharp. Creating a good business plan is an art. Our Producers Foundation Certificate tells you how to create a package that increases the chances of successfully securing film funding.
4. Misleading movie sales forecasts
New filmmakers often include box office numbers in their business plan. This is misleading as gross receipts do not take into account theater and distribution deductions. If your investor is your great-aunt Emma, you could get away with this. But any investor with the slightest idea how the revenue stream works will walk a mile.
5. Promise the earth
It is really tempting to offer an investor their money back, plus cash. This is a surefire way to create trouble for you years after the film is finished.
For example, if you offer your investor a 110% return and they only receive 108%, they will feel cheated.
You want them to feel like their investment has been worth it. And then you want them to get another one of your projects back and fund it.
By the way: The business plan should always contain an “asset warning”. Add the following: Your investment in my film could go down as well as down. “Make sure you get professional advice from your lawyer and accountant.
6. The Magic Bank of Film Finance
Over and over again I've heard this story:
A film producer tells me that they have a bank that will fund their film. The only catch is that you have to put 10-15% of the total budget of the movie in a bank (usually a bank you've never flocked from) and the rest of the money appears by magic 2-3 months later. As a rule, the so-called banking business is handled through an intermediary. No matter how shiny the paperwork is, the end result is always the same. Money never shows up. And you never get your deposit back.}
A friend of mine here in London lost $ 150,000 in this fraud.
Bank financing is easy: you deposit collateral with the bank and they lend out loans against your assets. No collateral. No loan. As simple as that.
I am not trying to pour cold water on your dream project. I just ask you to be realistic about your film funding goals.
If you want to know what questions film funders ask, check out the Raindance Raw Talent Self-Assessment Form
If you would like a course to prepare a strategy for acquiring funding for your film:
2021.03.02 Certificate from the Producer Foundation
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