Travel to Europe and you will find many independent filmmakers are feeling the pinch brought on by the lack of public funds, subsidies and traditional ways to finance movies. As a result, producers that relied on these funds must now find different ways to finance movies. I personally know various EU producers who believe that the sky has fallen and everything is over.
As European filmmakers, many of us knew this was happening. And now, after two years we are finally feeling the effects. Without the government funding for our projects, is it time to stop making movies? My answer is NO!
Film Finance In Europe
Nowadays many European filmmakers say that there is no money! But this is not true. The money is there, but just those who are ready will have access to it. Filmmaking is art, AND a business and it should be treated accordingly! What we are experiencing in Europe is no different than what filmmakers based in the US have experienced for years. If you are serious about filmmaking, you have to change your film finance strategy and look a little bit harder.
Most of us know that outside of the government, there are many other ways to finance our movies, like crowdfunding, finding sponsors, traditional investors and distributors. So why is it that some filmmakers can take advantage of these methods, yet many wont’t? It it all about being clever, formulating a business plan and then taking action!
A good script isn’t enough. It is simply a good start. If you’re thinking of crowdfunding way, then first put yourself to the audience’s position and try to find ways to communicate to your audience. Ask yourself: Why should someone support my project? What makes my movie worth making? What do I expect to see in order to support a project? Taking time to answer these questions could help you build momentum and provide you with great results!
In addition to crowdfunding, making deals with with commercial product producers and local governments could give you some important help with your project. And if you are thinking of finding an investor to finance your project or a distributor to get a pre-sales deal, then you have to understand that they’re only interested in making a profit.
If you are not an already experienced producer, then find someone who is and get him on board. In the US, there is a saying the money follows management. Investors need to know that the people on your team can actually accomplish the goal. Think about it. Would you invest your money in somebody’s film? If yes, what you would expect from the filmmaker?
Prepare a really strong business plan. Demonstrate that you know what you’re doing. Try to get letters of intent from actors and distributors. Prepare a tentative shooting schedule and a detailed breakdown and budget. Find out everything you can about tax incentives and tax credits! DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Every prospective investor is trying to minimize the risk of investing in your movie. This makes sense. We are talking about their money after all!
The good news is, there are many professionals around, teaching these things and trying to help new filmmakers achieve their purposes. Jason Brubaker is one of them, and I get some valuable information from his filmmaking resources. After researching Jason’s stuff, look around, observe and try to figure what other companies and filmmakers are looking for and what others have to offer. You can achieve some great things with just a little research!
One thing is for sure. Film Finance in Europe is still available, but it depends on each filmmaker and whether or not we are willing to do the work to access it.
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Yiannis Yioussef is an Assistant Executive Producer and director of photography based in Spain. He experiences to current film finance crisis and how it effects film industry every day.