If you have ever wondered how to find film investors so you can produce your movie, you’re not alone. And if you’re like most, you have a great film idea. You’re confident it will be successful. And all you need to make your movie happen is the money. But this is easier said than done.
Table Of Contents
- Film Investor Directory
- Invest In Movies
- Prep Your Project
- Actors Attract Money
- Network Your Networth
- Find Movie Investors
- Always Be Pitching
- Movie Pitch Meeting
- Keep Pushing Forward
A lot of film producers are looking for movie investors. And many of these film producers are looking for movie investors in the wrong place. Most hopefuls hold the misguided belief that there is some secret list of movie investors who can’t wait to hand over hard-earned cash to a bunch of artists with a story to tell.
If that describes you, you aren’t alone. When I started my film-producing career, I often crossed my fingers, hoping that some producer would magically appear and give me a million dollars to make my film. But once I stopped asking for permission to be successful, I could push forward.
Film Investor Directory
I frequently get emails from movie producers asking for an online film investor directory. The truth is, I have never seen a directory that wasn’t a complete scam. These websites either look like they were built in 1999, or you have to pay money to someone – or both – so they will consider investing in your project.
Dear Tom Malloy,
This is my third and final email to you. I think it’s silly that you have a filmmaking website, but when it comes time actually to help people make movies, you ignore them… So here it goes – again!
My name is [removed] from [another planet]. You should invest in the movies I want to make because my movie ideas are awesome. My friends and I will do everything – so all we need from you is the money…
I think our budget will be eighty-thousand dollars, but I am not sure. But we think you should help us because you know all about film distribution. ( We don’t care much about that stuff, ha-ha!)
Assuming that you invest in movies (you don’t want to miss out, right?) – We are prepared to give you all international rights. So again, just 80K will make you a producer. Sound good?
You can send the check to my return address.
Mr. [Name Removed]
P.S. If you pass on this opportunity, it’s your loss. But if you find another film financier for our project, we will still give you an associate producer credit.
P.P.S. What is your personal phone number? I want to call you with more details.
This note was modified and embellished to protect this unprofessional “filmmaker.”
Much of this probably seems funny. But these types of unprofessional solicitations are not rare. I get at least three emails like this per week. And here’s the thing, if you’re looking for people who invest in movies, it starts with your network.
Invest In Movies?
Convincing people to invest in movies requires that you think about your project from the investor’s point of view. What’s in it for them? Why should they invest in movies over other investment opportunities? In other words, how is your offering more appealing than buying a stock mutual fund that grows on average 12% annually?
Sometimes, none of this matters. And investors want to invest because they have always wanted to make a movie. Or they want to help get their kids acting roles. And sometimes, investors invest because they want something to brag about on the golf course.
Nobody has ever made your movie precisely the way you plan on making it. Even if you have a distribution agreement, it’s impossible to know if your film will be profitable, let alone break even. And as a result, only the market will tell you if your film will be a blockbuster. So it would be best if you were transparent and candid. Making movies is a risky business.
Prep Your Project
When raising money for movies, prepping your project is hands down the most important thing you can do. So before you even think about pitching to investors, you need a killer screenplay, a schedule, a budget, and a film business plan.
Creating these documents is the only way to know how much money you’ll need to raise, how you plan to spend the money, and how to get a return on the investment. And before you present your business plan to anyone, you will want to meet with an entertainment lawyer experienced in funding indie films.
Once you have a fully prepped project, you need to consider ways to derisk your project for prospective investors further. This means you must figure out WHY your prospective investor should invest in a movie instead of another business. One significant way to do this is by allocating your budget to hire an experienced crew and cast-name actors.
Actors Attract Money
Your movie’s cast can significantly influence its success. Casting A-list, B-list, or C-list celebrities is essential. Casting name actors provide more than just star power. Working with recognizable names adds legitimacy to your project. And this can help you get attention and funding and later attract a better distribution deal.
To determine if someone is a “name actor,” use the grandmother test. Ask your grandmother if she has heard of Tom Cruise. Then ask her if she has ever heard of the person you’re considering for the lead role in your movie. If she has not, chances that person is not a name. And if your grandmother has not heard of a particular actor, neither has the prospective investor.
Casting a name actor also helps you sell your movie to distributors. For example, buyers always ask when I attend film markets: “Who’s in the movie?” While some movies can be successful without a recognizable cast, people are much more receptive to your film when you attach a recognizable cast.
Network Your Networth
In my Attract Movie Investors course, I talk a lot about how to build relationships with wealthy and successful people. One of the tips I share is this – It will serve you well to live by the phrase: “Your network is your net worth.”
A lot of would-be filmmakers ignore this fact. But you are a reflection of the people you spend the most time with. If your network does not consist of any wealthy and successful people, you must change this immediately.
While it’s true that many movie investors are in Los Angeles, there are prospective business investors in just about every state and every country on Earth. According to Wikipedia, there are almost eighteen million millionaires in the United States. This means you don’t have to look very far to find, introduce yourself and build business relationships with people who could potentially invest in your movie.
Most people who invest in film work in industries outside of the film industry. Is there a business developer who just increased their net worth by millions? Find them and pitch them. Is there a friend you have who works for a high-net-worth individual? Ask your friend for an introduction. You need to be relentless in adopting an always-be-pitching mindset.
Always Be Pitching
If you go to a bar tonight, pitch your film to a few people. Are you attending a wedding? Have your pitch ready. I’m not saying you should be annoying and focus only on your pitch. But if someone asks you, “So, Tom, what do you do?” your first response should be, “I’m raising $500,000 to shoot my horror movie this fall.”
The more people you meet and pitch to, the more you increase your odds of finding someone qualified and interested in investing in your movie. Even if someone can’t directly invest, they may know someone with enough money to invest in movie projects.
Once you locate a prospective movie investor, your next step is to take your fully prepped project, business plan, and pitch and set up a meeting. This is when many filmmakers get scared to pick up the phone and ask for an appointment. Don’t be one of them.
Movie Pitch Meeting
I am sad to say this, but many filmmakers will quit at the first challenge. Maybe you call a prospective movie investor, and he fails to return the call. Or he hangs upon you. Or his assistant says, “He’s in a meeting.” Maybe it’s something else. And if you have never cold-called a prospect before, you may give up before you even start.
One of the reasons prospective investors do not invest is because of risk. Even though you are convinced your movie will be the next Paranormal Activity, many movie investors may think differently. They will compare your movie project to other, less risky investments like real estate or the stock market.
When you talk with an investor, your goal is to plan a meeting. When you agree on a date and time, end the call. Some filmmakers make a mistake and keep talking on the phone or even start pitching their movie projects. If you do this, the investor will likely find an excuse to cancel the meeting. Don’t sell past the sale.
Keep Pushing Forward
Make sure your pitch is solid. You, your movie, and your movie business are a new concept to the investor. Consequently, your prospective film investor will spend much of the first meeting trying to decide if they want to do business with you.
Before your meeting, make sure you spend time researching the investor. What business are they in? How did they get their start? Is there a charity they volunteer with? Do they have a family? This type of intel will help you build rapport. And above all, you need to have a great pitch and a fully prepped project.
If you come into the movie pitch meeting prepared, even if they don’t invest, you will have an open door for future pitches because that potential investor knows you are REAL. And if they do express interest in investing, be prepared to lay out the next steps. And always ask for a referral.
If you want more information on finding and building relationships with prospective investors, you might want to enroll in my on-demand course for Finding Film Investors. In the guide, you will get valuable step-by-step tips on building relationships with wealthy and successful people in your hometown.