For most filmmakers, independent film financing is a mystery. When I was starting out, I met with a nearly a dozen “producers” who refused to share their independent film financing secrets with me…
I don’t know why they were so secretive. But it really annoyed me. Then there were other “experts” who told me about the crappy, over used, completely outdated strategy that involved asking a dentist for money. Seriously?
Independent Film Financing
When it comes to independent film financing, setting a realistic budget is key. So your first step is to figure out how much money you’ll need to make your movie. Will you need over a million dollars, or can you make your project for much less?
If you don’t have a clue, then I suggest you contact someone to take your screenplay and perform an initial breakdown and schedule. From this information, you’ll know (roughly) how much money you’ll need to complete your project.
Many filmmakers think financing is somehow limited to the arena of filmmaking. But it’s not. The truth is, all budding entrepreneurs (which is what you are) need to shake the money tree from time to time. So luckily for filmmakers, the world of traditional business provides rules and resources for getting money.
Investors invest because they are hoping that your movie will potentially bring in a decent return. Think about it. If your movie is projected to only return a mere 1.5% of investment dollars, then why invest in a movie? Why not just get a great savings account? Or buy another apartment unit?
So in order to protect the investment, you need to make sure you have a plan for production, promotion and film distribution. That means, you’ll need to find ways to save money without sacrificing production value and story. If you’re creative, then it’s possible to make a fancy looking movie for far less than the initial budget.
If you’re ready to start your independent film financing campaign, then the traditional ways people raise money in the United States follow these steps.
- Take your screenplay and create a schedule and a budget.
- Build a business plan (that includes movie promotion.)
- Visit with an attorney and ask about a Private Placement Memorandum.
- Contact and build relationships with rich people.
- Repeat the process until you reach your goal…
While laws in the United States are changing to make independent film financing easier, you will always want to meet with an attorney to make sure you are in compliance with current SEC regulations (Securities and Exchange Commission). And if you are looking for more info on independent film financing, make sure you grab this film business plan template.