Film Finance: 5 Tips to Find Out if Your “Rich Guy” is Real

5 Tips to Find Out if Your “Rich Guy” is Real
By filmmaker, author and film finance expert Tom Malloy

Film finance is all about trying to land an HNI (High Net Worth Individual) for your film.  And one of the main obstacles film makers face is qualifying if an investor is “Real.”

In other words, 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.

film finance expert Tom Malloy

Film Finance expert Tom Malloy

Film Finance: 5 Tips to Find Out if Your “Rich Guy” is Real

So if you are looking for film finance, I present to you 5 tips for you to know in your quest to find who’s real and who’s not!

1. Google your prospective investor.  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.  In the world of film finance, sometimes 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 prospective 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 your film finance efforts 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 to film finance… You must ALWAYS be in research mode!

I start almost every film finance meeting asking a prospective investor questions about himself or herself.  I’ve also came to that meeting having Googled them and I usually know some info already. Pay attention… don’t be too anxious.  Analyze all the information you’re given and your ratio of closing will increase dramatically!

If you’d like more film finance information so you can find out how I raised over 25 million to make my movies – Check out the film finance guide.

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Tom Malloy is an Actor, Writer and Producer, specializing in independent film finance. He is the author of BANKROLL: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films, which is the best reviewed book on film financing, and is considered a “gold standard” in indie films circles. To date, Tom has raised over $15 million in private equity from independent financiers.

How Film Finance Expert Tom Malloy Raised Over 25M

When I got started in filmmaking, one of the biggest mysteries was how filmmakers found investors. I spent countless weeks and months seeking answers to the age old questions all indie filmmakers have:

“How do I raise money to make my movie?”

That one question sent me on a quest that involved dentists, doctors, car dealers, international pre-sales and a whole slew of phonies pretending to be big shots. I found out that there is a lot of really bad information on film finance out there.

Since that time, I made it my quest to cut through all the BS and supply indie filmmakers with good, actionable information. Eventually someone suggested that I reach out to film finance expert Tom Malloy.

And I’m happy I did.

So far in his career Tom has raised over 25 million dollars to make his own movies.

Tom stopped by Filmmaking Stuff to share a few film finance tips.

No-Fluff Film Finance Tips

Jason Brubaker
Hi Tom. It’s great to finally get a chance to chat. Before we get into the some of your film finance tips, I thought it would be great for the readers to get to know you. How did you get started in filmmaking?

Tom Malloy
I’m originally from Redbank, New Jersey. I got started in filmmaking, because for me, there was no fallback plan. I always dreamed of making movies. I focused my mind to such an extent, I was going to find a way to make a movie, no matter what.

Jason Brubaker
Is that how you got into film finance and raising money?

Tom Malloy
I started as an actor, and had some early success, but started finding I was losing roles to more established actors.

Jason Brubaker
Acting seems like a lot of waiting for someone to “pick you” from a lineup. I imagine waiting is challenging when you’re super entrepreneurial.

Tom Malloy
I didn’t want to be a helpless actor. So I took control of my career.

Jason Brubaker
And that’s what prompted you to raise money for movies?

Tom Malloy
I initially looked at film finance as a means to an end. I was raising money to give myself roles, and to prove my talent as an actor.

Jason Brubaker
Was it hard to go from actor to producer?

Film Finance with Tom Malloy

Film Finance with Tom Malloy

Tom Malloy
Things sort of changed, through osmosis, I guess. I became a producer and writer, as well as an actor. I was one of the first successful triple-hyphenates. But when I was doing it, it was unheard of.

Jason Brubaker
After you successfully raised money, people started hearing of you.

Tom Malloy
Now [laughs] it’s the only way to go.

Jason Brubaker
Why do you think more filmmakers don’t take action in raising money?

Tom Malloy
Well, filmmakers are usually artists, not businessmen. And I’m not suggesting you need to be pure-business, because businessmen have ruined movies to a certain extent.

Jason Brubaker
I talk to a lot of filmmakers who would agree. So what do you suggest?

Tom Malloy
What you need to be is equal parts both. You need to work on your salesman side and look at films equally as art and commerce. You need to willing to embrace the business side so you can get funding.

Jason Brubaker
The good news is, once you get the funding, you can make your own movie.

Tom Malloy
Remember the golden rule: He (or she) who gets the gold, makes the rules.

Jason Brubaker
How did you find your first investor?

Tom Malloy
I knew a guy who played high stakes poker with a lot of money people. I had no idea he had a large sum of money himself. I asked him if I could pitch him on helping me find money for the film.

Jason Brubaker
So in the process, you told him about the movie…

Tom Malloy
Yes. I shared my pitch with him, and it blew him away so much, he said: “Well, jeez, I’d like to invest in this!”

Jason Brubaker
Here is a big one. I get emails from filmmakers sharing stories of rejection. I know it’s part of the film finance game. But how do you overcome rejection?

Tom Malloy
Collect the “no’s”. There is a famous real estate story where a failing real estate agent is coached by the office pro. The failing agent hears “no” and lets it affect him severely. The pro asks, “On average, how many “nos” do you get before you sell a house? The failing agent says, “Around 20.” So the pro suggests a change, “Just think of each “no” as one more to your collection. Once you get to 20, you’ll sell a house.”

Jason Brubaker
So every no increases your probability of success.

Tom Malloy
That “re-framing” caused the failing agent to even outsell the office pro! So I make a point go always go out there, collecting “no’s”, knowing that I’m one step closer to a yes.

Jason Brubaker
What do filmmakers need before they can meet with an investor?

Tom Malloy
They need to have a fully prepped project. Investors are financially smart. They didn’t just stumble onto their money. So filmmakers need to present a project that is a viable, intelligent investment for them.

Jason Brubaker
A few weeks back, you shared your best tips in the Film Finance Guide. How do you think the Film Finance Guide will help filmmakers?

Tom Malloy
This is all about “prepping” the project. The essential steps to get your project ready to pitch. Trust me, trust me, trust me, if you go in front of an investor with a project that’s not ready, not only will you not get the check, you will most likely never get a chance to pitch that person again.

Jason Brubaker
Why should filmmakers invest in the Film Finance Guide instead of all the other stuff available?

Tom Malloy
This is invaluable information for the price. If you’re not willing to invest in your career, I supposed you must be an “enthusiast” and not serious about filmmaking. I have had industry veterans listen to this information and tell me that he or she learned something. So I guarantee you will learn and you will advance your skills in the film finance world.

Jason Brubaker
I think the big thing is proof points. The information is coming from someone who’s done it. Not everybody can say the same.

Tom Malloy
I’ve raised over $25 million. I know what I’m talking about.

Jason Brubaker
What advice do you have for filmmakers who want to do what you’re doing?

Tom Malloy
Never give up, stay focused, continue to learn and gather knowledge. You will get there.

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You can find out more information about the Film Finance Guide by visiting www.FilmFinanceGuide.com