So you want to know how to meet rich people (so you can get movie money.)
The process of raising money is simple. All you have to do is build a trusting business relationship with a few rich people, present the necessary legal paperwork and ask for the money. Once you get the check, you can make your movie.
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Of course, we both know that raising movie money is easy in theory. But it can be a real challenge for filmmakers.
For many filmmakers, the biggest missing skill is knowing how to meet rich people.
Maybe you don’t know where to start. I get that.
I grew up in a rural community. I didn’t know any rich people. I didn’t know where to start or where to find them. To learn how to meet rich people, I moved to New York City and started work as a producer’s assistant. This helped me figure things out.
What I found was, most rich people are experienced business professionals. They are successful in businesses outside of indie filmmaking. They are experienced investors. And as such, they are seeking interesting investment opportunities.
And more than that, rich people are all around you – And unless you know what to look for, you might just miss them…
What You Need To Know About Investors
Most prospective investors are looking for you to describe the similarities between your indie filmmaking project and their businesses. So if you want to find out how to meet rich people, before you make your pitch - You first need to understand how to describe your filmmaking in the context of general business.
I put together the following graphics to help you.
1. Filmmakers and Entrepreneurs (Prospective Investors) Start With a Blueprint
Your screenplay is the blueprint to your movie. Entrepreneurs are similar. Like you, these business professionals go into each venture with a blueprint for their product. From there, they create a full business plan for how their product will be manufactured, marketed and distributed. This process if similar to making a movie.
2. Entrepreneurs and Filmmakers Seek OPM
One secret of the rich is OPM (Other People’s Money). Even though many rich people could fund their own business ideas, this represents too much of a risk. So most rich people go into their network and raise money for their projects. This is the same for indie filmmakers. It is too risky to invest all of your money in a movie project. Always leverage OPM.
3. Entrepreneurs and Filmmakers Utilize Money To Create a Company
When creating a product, most business professionals establish a physical location for their business. From there, these entrepreneurs utilize the investment money to manufacture their product. When it comes to your indie film, your business will require that you utilize many locations to film your movie. And your product is your movie.
4. Entrepreneurs and Filmmakers Manufacture a Product
After months and months of planning and production, the results for both the business professional and filmmaker are similar. Assuming you worked with an awesome team, you will make your movie. As a filmmaker, your product IS your movie.
5. Entrepreneurs and Filmmakers Distribute Their Product
After production you will have a product ready for the marketplace. Both the filmmaker and the entrepreneur will market, distribute and sell their product to (hopefully) a rabid marketplace of fans who can’t wait to partake in the experience.
Here’s the deal. Rich and successful people are not any different than you and me. Except they have some very specific business experience and a pretty robust bank account.
What You Need To Know About Rich People
For the most part, rich people are not mean, dirty or greedy. In fact, many wealthy people are generous. They are excellent networkers. And when you meet them, (assuming they like you) most successful people will always think in terms of: “How can I help this person get closer to their goals?”
This is important. Because if you want to find out how to meet rich people, you need to understand that the way you think about wealth can either help you or hinder your efforts.
A quick story about a filmmaker I know:
So picture this. The other day I was in a popular Los Angeles diner eating breakfast with my buddy. Like a lot of filmmakers, he is trying to raise money for a movie. He just can’t get any traction.
At one point we get to the topic of how to meet rich people. And my buddy mentions this one guy he knows. And here is what he said:
“That guy is FILTHY rich.”
Can you see the problem with this statement?
My filmmaker friend is trying to figure out how to meet rich people, but he’s having difficulty getting traction.
At some core level, he thinks rich people are filthy. He thinks that anybody with money is unclean… Dirty…
Can you imagine going into any social situation where you think the people you’re about to meet are unsanitary?
It gets worse. Here are some of the beliefs you probably have about money and rich people:
- Money is the root of all evil.
- I’d rather be happy than rich.
- I am no good with money.
- It takes money to make money.
- Money is dirty.
If you are looking to find out how to meet rich people (and attract these people into your life) you need to get honest about your limited beliefs about money, and find ways to shed them.
If you hold the general belief that rich people are in some way greedy and unwilling to help anyone, think again. Aside from a few rotten apples, the statistics show that wealthy people are also some of the most generous.
Why is having a positive attitude towards the affluent important for a filmmaker?
Because until your movies are financed and distributed by a studio, you’ll need to learn how to raise money for your projects. You’ll need to know what potential investors look for in a project. And when it comes time to shake the money tree, it would be helpful to have a few rich people just a phone call away.
How To Meet Rich People (So you can get movie money.)
Finding out how to meet rich people is easier than you think. But before we go there, it is important to note that whenever you go out to raise money, you will most likely meet a bunch of posers, frauds and idiots.
To help you distinguish the BS, I reached out to Tom Malloy for advice. If you haven’t heard of Tom Malloy, you should know he’s a indie film finance expert. So far in his career, he has raised over 25 million dollars to produce his movies.
Here are Tom Malloy’s five tips for finding out if your rich person is “real.”
In trying to land an HNI (High Net Worth Individual) for your film, one of the main obstacles film makers face is qualifying if an investor is “Real.” Real means that he or she CAN actually fund your film.
Real investors are not guys who know other guys.
Real investors are the guys that can actually put in the money. I present to you 5 tips for you to know in your quest to find who’s real and who’s not!
1. Google him. It sounds simple, and it is. Do your research on the guy. It’s easy to find out information if you just take the time and search for it.
2. Take into account what he’s wearing and what he’s driving. Sometimes relying solely on image is a mistake. The guy with the 3 piece suit is the phony and the guy in shorts and a t-shirt is the eccentric millionaire. But where does he live? What does he drive? Many HNIs enjoy the comforts their money brings. This method is not foolproof, but it does work 90% of the time. I had a meeting with a potential investor and he was missing some teeth. His teeth were Real, but he wasn’t.
3. Does he pick up the check? I say it over and over again. If you are eating dinner/lunch with a potential investor and he/she doesn’t pick up the check, I can 99% guarantee that you will never get a penny out of them. If they care so little about you that they cannot invest $50 for a meal, you ain’t getting their money.
4. If he starts talking about “money coming in”, he’s not real. Had this happen many times. Someone talks about some bank deals or commissions that will be upcoming. Walk away. Don’t get your hopes up… it never closes.
5. Is it too easy? This is an interesting one. If things seem to be going too easy, a red flag should pop up. Closing money is not easy. And if the guy doesn’t really look at your business plan or do his homework, chances are he doesn’t have the money to fund your project and he’s just pretending.
Here’s the key… You must research your prospective investor!
Tom Malloy goes on to say that he starts every meeting asking a prospective investor questions about himself or herself. He will never take a meeting without first taking time do the research. This means that he Googles his HNI and tries to find everything about the person he can.
Analyze all the information you’re given and your ratio of closing will increase dramatically!
The following action steps are designed to get you thinking about what’s possible.
How To Meet Rich People
- While you’re on the networking kick, ask around your town and find out if anyone knows rich people. (Every town in America seems to have someone a little better off than the rest.)
- Get a phone number and call them. Tell them you are a first time entrepreneur. See if they will meet for a few minutes so you can ask for advice. (Just ask for advice, not money!) Then as the months go by, try to cultivate a friendship.
- Many busy business professionals will reject the initial meeting. If this happens try again. Be persistent without being annoying. After eight attempts, you can move on.
As long as you apply a little persistence, finding out how to meet rich people gets easier. You’ll be surprised who you can meet and what you’ll accomplish. As your relationships with successful people mature, these folks may someday introduce you to friends willing to get involved in your next project.
Because getting money for movies is a little more complicated than just asking for it, (we will discuss the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as Private Placement Memorandums in another lesson) — For now, let’s just set the business aside and simply focus on getting advice from a few new friends.