You’re not alone if you want to get funding for your movie. I have raised over 25 Million dollars to produce multiple feature films.
Through this experience, I have learned that there is one thing you can do to make the movie funding process easier. You need to create “leverage.”
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Leverage Is Power
Leverage is a powerful tool that can help you get what you want. An example of leverage is controlling the rights to a great story. Maybe you wrote a fantastic screenplay. Or maybe someone else writes it, and you option the rights. Or perhaps it’s someone’s life rights. Or maybe it’s a popular book.
Once you have a story, the next step is ensuring you have a killer screenplay. A great script is crucial because it can attract a cast, a director, and investors. In other words, your writing needs to be so good that people are begging you to read it.
Once you have something people want, you’ll have the leverage to negotiate your involvement in the project. Maybe you’ll decide to direct or act in your movie.
Know Your Budget
Once you have a killer screenplay, you can focus on the additional steps necessary to get funding for your movie. One big step involves breaking your script into a schedule and a movie budget. You do this to eliminate guesswork and get to the “real number.”
To make a movie, you need to know how much it will cost. Your “real number” can vary depending on the movie’s production value. For example, a low-budget film might cost $100,000 to produce, while a higher-budget movie with a name cast might cost $3,000,000 or more.
Regardless of budget, you need to choose one number and stay consistent. Knowing your number will give you confidence. When you meet with prospective investors, you’ll be able to say confidently, “I need $500,000 for this horror movie. With this number, I’ll be able to cast one or two famous actors for a day and also have amazing production value.” That’s being specific.
Film Business Plan
Once you know how much money you’ll need to make your movie, the next step is to create a film business plan. This document will outline your project, provide an overview of who is involved, and detail how you will spend the money. A film business plan makes your project more legitimate and helps keep you moving in the right direction.
If you think about it, you will not start a race without knowing where the finish line is. The same is valid for business. It would help if you had a plan to see where you’re going. This is especially important in the film industry, where you can take many different paths.
If you know how much money you need to raise and have a good business plan and a killer screenplay, it will be easier to attract the right people to get funding for your movie. And that raises the big question… Where do you find people who invest in a film?
Find Film Investors
When finding film investors, I’m sure you’ve heard of different websites and crowdfunding platforms catering to film producers. Maybe those work for some people. But I prefer to meet prospective investors in person.
The best place to find investors is through people you know. Ask your friends if they know any HNIs (high-net-worth individuals) who also love filmmaking. I also attend non-movie networking events and talk to people about my project. As simple as this sounds, you will be surprised by who you meet.
When you talk with enough people, you’ll realize there is no secret to getting funding for your movie. It’s just a numbers game. Some people will want to work with you. Some people will say it’s not for them. And some people won’t return your calls. You will know if someone is interested in your project because they will tell you.
Attract Film Funding
If months of consistently meeting HNIs go by, but you’re not getting any commitments, it’s usually a sign that you need to improve your movie project. Go back and look at what you can add to increase your leverage. Is there anything weak about your story? Are there any new tax incentives? Does your movie pitch suck? Can you identify a better cast?
If you can’t get A-list stars for your film, try working with B-list or C-list stars. If you can’t get those folks, focus on attracting social media creators with huge followers. And if you can’t get creators, ask the local newscaster in your hometown for a cameo. The bottom line cast attracts cash.
In addition to cast and crew, you can also leverage soft money, such as motion picture tax credits and incentives. For example, you may be eligible for a tax credit if you shoot your film in a particular state or country. And if all else fails, you can focus on reducing your budget by getting discounts, changing locations, and modifying some of the scenes in your screenplay.
The more you focus on improving the project, the faster you will get funding for your movie. On several occasions, some of my projects got funded within a month. I’m not saying it’s easy. If making movies was easy, everyone would do it. While you’re here, check out my film business plan training.