A lot of filmmakers are looking for movie investors. And many of these filmmakers 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 filmmakers. And the truth is, these places exist. And they aren’t so secret. Ready?
Popular movie investors include Universal, Paramount and Fox. The problem is, everybody wants a piece of their action. And while navigating the studio system is one way to find movie investors, it’s impracticable and slow for most newbies. Instead I would invite you to look elsewhere for movie money.
How To Find Movie Investors
While it’s true that many movie investors are here in LA, there are prospective business investors in just about every state and every country on earth. There are almost five-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 conceivably invest in your movie.
The challenge in finding movie investors is taking time to reach out through your network and find out who you need to telephone. And assuming you get traction, your next goal is to convince a traditional investor that joining the bandwagon of movie investors is a good idea.
There are two tools you can use to find movie investors.
- Your network.
- Your telephone.
When I tell you to leverage your network, I mean just that. You may not know this, but you know someone who knows someone who has enough money to be considered an accredited investor. Once you locate a prospective movie investor, your next goal is to fully prep your project. (If you’re interested, film finance expert Tom Malloy shares his personal tactics for prepping a project and finding investors in this film funding training.)
Prep Your Project
Once you have a fully prepped project and fully refined business plan, and your pitch, the next step to grab your phone and call your prospective investor at their office and ask for a meeting. This is known as a cold call. And while this type of telephone prospecting can feel scary – Take comfort in the fact that your prospective investor gets these types of pitches every day.
In fact, what we are talking about is similar to any entrepreneur working to get a start up off the ground. Your start up just happens to be an indie film. And like any start-up entrepreneur, you are approaching prospects (prospective movie investors) who are new to filmmaking.
From their perspective, you, your movie and your movie business is a new concept. As a consequence, many of your first meetings will be spent educating and building trust. And this could mean a very long process. It is during this time that many filmmakers give up. They pull-the-plug on prospecting too early, lose momentum and fail to get their movie funded.
Keep Pushing Forward
I am sad to say this, but many filmmakers will quit at the first challenge. Maybe you make a telephone call to a prospective movie investor and he fails to return the call. Or you get hung up on. 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. Odds are good they are comparing your movie project to other, less risky investments like real estate or the stock market.
To mitigate your risk, you will need to include elements that attract an audience. I talk a lot about this in my guide to distribution. But for the sake of this article, it’s important to know that having “name” talent as well as a clear marketing plan can help put prospective movie investors at ease.
Crowdfunding Proves Concepts
The other part of your initial plan should involve crowdfunding. Crowdfunding allows you to pitch your movie ideas to crowds of people online, who are enthusiastic about sponsoring movie projects. Many filmmakers try to raise their entire budget via crowdfunding and fail. I do not recommend this. Instead, consider limiting your crowdfunding campaign to a few thousand dollars.
Why? Because if your movie has a real budget, you are going to need real money outside of the crowds. In this context, the more important reason to utilize crowdfunding is to test your movie concept and source your initial audience. Going into a pitch with a prospective movie investor is much stronger with a successful crowdfunding campaign under your belt.
“We just tested the concept and essentially pre-sold over one-thousand units!”
A successful crowdfunding campaign allows you to prove there is an interest for your movie in the marketplace. And because you have already garnered a few thousand dollars, you now have a much greater incentive to finish what you start – You wouldn’t want to let your sponsors down, right?
If you would like more information on how to find and build relationships with prospective investors, you might want to check out Tom Malloy’s Guide To Finding Film Investors. In the guide, you will get valuable step-by-step tips on how to build relationships with rich and successful people in your home town. Find out more here.