One primary film funding tool is a film business plan. This document outlines the procedure for how you’ll produce and sell your film. It’s the confidential information overview that you’ll “leave behind” with prospective investors after making your pitch. The problem is, many filmmakers get it wrong.
If you’ve been searching for a film business plan template, you’ve probably come across at least a dozen examples filled with useless gobbledygook (like charts and graphs and other stuff) that look great on paper but fail when presented to an investor. If this describes your plan, don’t feel bad. Many film finance “gurus” who teach business planning have never actually raised a penny for a film.
The Basics Of A Film Business Plan
When it comes to writing your film business plan, less is more. Forcing yourself to eliminate erroneous content in favor of the essentials is one of the most professional strategies you can implement. Doing this allows you to understand the business aspects of your project thoroughly. You will outline your budget and show how you will spend the money to make your film. You will also highlight your team, objectives, and, importantly, your marketing, sales, and distribution strategy.
To start the business planning process, take a few minutes and write out the following:
- Who is behind this project?
- Describe your film company.
- What NAMES are involved?
- How much money will you need?
- How do you expect to return the money?
- Who Is Your Target Audience?
- How Large Is Your Target Audience?
- How Will You Reach Your Audience?
- What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
- How Many Sales to Break Even?
You might ask: “What if I just want to make movies and sell my movie?”
My response: “1995 called, and they want their dumb distribution plan back.”
Film Business Planning
Completing an independent film business plan is a significant step towards getting the money, but this is not the only step. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission works to protect uninformed investors from scams. With the creation of the SEC, several laws, regulations, and guidelines have been put in place to protect the innocent.
To stay compliant, you will need to talk with a qualified entertainment attorney who focuses on securities law before you attempt to raise the money. The reason for this is simple. You want your movie project to be credible and treated like a real business opportunity. In this regard, the name of the game is compliance, transparency, and trust.
Your attorney will probably advise you to set up a legal business entity such as a corporation or limited liability company. From there, your attorney will instruct you on how to keep your film business assets separate from your personal assets. Many film producers create a new corporate entity for every film.
Close Film Investors
Your attorney will advise you on steps you need to take before investors can fund your film. These steps usually include paperwork and other legal requirements. And building off the information outlined in your business plan, your attorney will create a set of documents called a private placement memorandum.
Your PPM will outline the goals for your film. It will explain the possible upside to your project, but more importantly, it will help prospective investors understand the inherent risks. This way a prospective film investor can make an informed decision about how to move forward.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to raising money. If that describes you, check out this business plan template. Unlike the majority of templates out there, this one is simple. The template will help you quickly finish your film business plan, so you can focus on the next steps of the process.