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The best way to get financers for a movie

Posted: Wed, 21st Feb 2007, 6:35pm

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The Siege

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Hey guys,

I'm having trouble with financing my movies (still in high school and got no job), anybody got some good ideas to finance movies or just get sponsors?
Posted: Wed, 21st Feb 2007, 6:44pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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I think there are 2 ingredients to getting some form of sponsorship and financing, it may turn out that I'm wrong, but...

1 - Be talented.
Make sure you've already got some work which is of some standard as to represent that you're a talented individual. Not necessarily a professional piece of film but at least something which is good enough to represent your film making skills, and what foundation you want to improve upon if you had a bigger budget.

2 - Be self promoting.
Have a website, be putting your films out there on the internet. This way anything positive responses to your work can be publicised. Having a website would also act as your CV.

3 - Be realistic.
Ambition is good, but trying to stretch too far has been the cause of many awful amateur movies. Discover what you can do and know your limits. Then with that, create a movie pitch for a film you'd make with funding.

Remember that this isn't a world of favours, and you're going to need to proove that a sponsor would benefit from sponsoring you. And Good Luck.

-Hybrid.
Posted: Wed, 21st Feb 2007, 8:23pm

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Zea

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Have a website.

Make sure local people are reading it.

Win some contests.

Advertise near art Colleges and get your name out.

That's all I can think of in order to get some sponsorship. (Don't worry, I need some too.)
Posted: Wed, 21st Feb 2007, 9:40pm

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The Siege

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Thanks for the tips guys!
Posted: Wed, 21st Feb 2007, 11:08pm

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Bryan M Block

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What's in it for them? What do the "sponsors" get for sponsoring your movie?

As was said- this isn't a world of favors. Do you have a body of work that would inspire someone to WANT to sponsor your next project? Does your film project promote some "social good" that would inspire people to contribute?

Do you know how to put together a budget that you can present to potential sponsors so they know where their money is going?

I mean, I don't think too many people are going to donate a bunch of money to you to make a Star Wars fan film because it is going to be "the best lightsaber duel ever!" wink - Often people will contribute to help out a project that has some socially redeeming value, such as doing a documentary on kids with cancer or something, but with "dramatic" film projects, it's been my experience that investors want to see something first- locally some guys made a piece to raise money for a feature length version of the same film, I'm guessing they spent $10,000 out of pocket (and that was with donations of time and talent) in an attempt to raise $250,000 with investors. But they could walk into the meetings and say "here is what we did with 10K, Here is our business plan and our budget, here is how the points are going to work."

What are you bringing to the table? Getting investors is a deal with the devil in some smaller film projects- people that contribute money want to direct, want to produce, want to write and they often don't have very good sensibilites about this stuff and they stymie you at many points along the way. A friend of mine directed an action film in Croatia in 2005 that had a $250,000 budget, but he was constrained the whole time because the people with the money would simply say "I don't like these ruins, let's shoot this out in that field..." or "I'm not saying that line, I don't like it..."and he would have to go along with it.

Just .02 for thought, get some things done on your own that demonstrate your strengths and then find a project that you think you could get funding for, do that. historical societies, social and civic groups, colleges, all might be places that would be willing to sponsor the RIGHT project, but no one is really out there to just finance your dreams- My other friend couldn't find anyone to finance his first film, so he and a friend took out a $100,000 loan and made a 1930's private eye movie...He never got distribution or sold it or did much with it...but he got a huge education and he has a finished piece he was able to show to get funding for a couple of other smaller films. He is STILL paying off those loans however- Once you establish yourself it gets a little easier, but just a little. smile
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 9:32am

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Simon K Jones

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First off, you say you haven't got a job - maybe that's one thing you should change to begin with. smile Not only will it bring in a little bit of cash, it'll also show any other potential investors that you're a dedicated and serious person. The way they're likely to see it is that if you're not willing to work in order to help fund the movie, why should they give you some money?

Between the Lines is probably a good example of how you can accumulate hugely professional resources without needing a massive budget, if you speak to the right people. Check out out BtL spotlight for some info:

http://fxhome.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=25419
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 2:00pm

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The Siege

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Tarn wrote:

First off, you say you haven't got a job - maybe that's one thing you should change to begin with. smile
The thing is I'm just a minor and still in school, got a parttime job for the upcoming holidays here (which is just a week), all my pocket money and stuff is already going to films (it's almost time to buy Effectslab Pro smile) hehe, maybe I've got to find a n after school job smile

Thanks for the tips all!
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 2:04pm

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Simon K Jones

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Sounds like you're heading in the right direction! With regards to jobs, it doesn't have to be a 'proper' job as such - even just doing stuff like helping to mow your neighbour's lawns, or wash their cars etc, still show that you have dedication and discipline etc. That's the kind of thing potential investors/sponsors want to see, as it makes them feel more confident in you.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 2:53pm

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Sollthar

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Basically, you have 3 options to go with, when it comes to funding your film:

Option 1 - Pay for it yourself

This is the most likely thing to happen. You'll have to put together every yourself, eg you alone or in your team. Depending on how big the budget is, this is going to be more or less difficult. As Tarn said: Work for every penny, take every chance to make some bucks and put it into your masterpiece.


Option 2 - Find "Sponsors"

Finding other people to pay for your project, let me tell you, is difficult. Especially if you haven't got a body of work that's already been financially successful. "I've already made two or three films and I posted them on the internet" will impress no one I'm afraid, I'm actually taking about financial success or high critical acclaim such as "My last film was sold on DVD in 5 countries / was shown on TV / won several awards at MEANINGFUL festivals" etc.
If the above is the case, you can try option 3, if it isn't, you'll most likely be left with option 1 or 2, the latter being this:

Find people to sponsor small amounts on your film. Your local butcher / beercompanies / school / private people / small firms / etc etc. That won't cover large amounts, but depending how you approach it you might get some cash from someone who just wants to see his logo on a DVD cover.
Even here though, your concept must be GOOD. Eg you must have a FULL plan on what to do with your film. Is it going to be released on DVD? Will it be on TV? Cinemas even? Internet? Where? When? Why? How much people will see it? etc. The more detailled your plan is, the more "professional" and therefore "trustworthy" you'll appear and the more likely you'll get sponsored.


Option 3 - find a producer

The difference between a sponsor and a producer is mainly this: A producer is a businessman. He wants his money BACK. Therefore you must have a believable, well scheduled plan on HOW your movie will be a financial success. Where exactly will money come in, and when and by whom.
Having films SHOWN is a great thing and all, but of utterly no interest to a business person when it comes to money. If your film is shown and you don't get paid for it, then good night. No one cares except you and your friends.
Simply making money BACK is not enough for most producers, they wanna see a profit. So if you ask for 20'000 $ you must be DAMN sure your film will turn a profit of a least double of that.
The more contracts you have to support your claims the film will be successful (pre contracts with distributors, TV stations etc) the more your chances grow.
Everyone can say "My film will be good and it'll be a success", you need to PROVE that that'll actually be the case.

In terms of business, no one even really cares if your film is good or not. Only if it'll be WORTH investing money it, from a simple, hard business point of view.



Hope that helps. smile
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 3:11pm

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b4uask30male

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Why not make a film with no budget, we have all done it, if it's your first film you really shouldn't take money from anyone.

One you have made a great film with no money you will then have something to show investors.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 3:17pm

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The Siege

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Thank you Sollthar and Tarn for your help:)


b4uask30male wrote:

Why not make a film with no budget, we have all done it, if it's your first film you really shouldn't take money from anyone.

One you have made a great film with no money you will then have something to show investors.
We have already done that, we started out with small films in 2003, they were approximatly 5 minutes long. Now, we've begun from the start again (as we didn't seem to get any attention in Holland) trying to go abroad. Hopefully this will work better. So we've yet to achieve anything big in the US, UK etc.

Thank you for your comment, like the community here:)
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 3:18pm

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Sollthar

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I disagree with b4 for the simple reason, the so called "no budget film" doesn't exist. And I entirely disagree on "if it is your first film, then you SHOULDN'T take money from anyone" thing.

You require at least a camera, an editing suite, people's time, probably some props, maybe some costumes etc etc and all of that doesn't grow on trees. So someone pays for it. And as I mentioned, b4's suggestion would simply be option 1, YOU pay for it. Or your parents pay for it.


However though if this is your first movie, your chances of finding people to invest in you outside option 1 will be low, as you have nothing to prove you able to do what it is you want to do. And depending on your age, they will be even lower.

So the second part of b4's statement is very true.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 3:57pm

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b4uask30male

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Solly, you do know that when someone says no budget, they don't mean buying camera's etc, what's ment by the word no budget is: not putting any money into the film they are making at the time.
So a no budget film is friends shooting for the day, (so forget electric, tapes etc.)
A budget film is where someone dips their hands into their pockets to pay for something for that film.

Hope that clears things up.

My next bit of advice is, the film your making, does it need money, is there anyway you can shoot it without money?
Canada is a great place to get moeny, they need you too use x% of your money within cananda, that could be x% paying someone in canada to do your music for you.
Have a look on goolge for grants and loans in canada.

Other than that, it's more a case of who you know, it's not fair but that's life, if you know people with money then you might get them to invest, sam raimi contacted doctors, dentists and other proffessional people (he didn't know them) he sent them a rough version of his film and they invested, could you make a rough version with no money to use to attract money?

Don't give up, even if people call you pushy or bossy (i get called that a lot because I know what I want) you have to be pushy and be confident, people tell me i'm too confident, but talking to someone with money they said "I'd invest in someone that bleieves in himself 110% " so start sending out those emails and copies of your films.

Good luck
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 4:06pm

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Sollthar

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They don't mean buying camera's etc, what's ment by the word no budget is: not putting any money into the film they are making at the time.
Yes, and I say that's an illusion.
Someone IS putting money into a film, even if it's just 4 $ to buy a tape, another 400 $ for a camera, a 500 $ computer to use, the gas the car needs from person X to travel to location Y etc. etc. Your film already needed money. You can't shoot a film for free, period. And the problem is, for some people, even that sort of money is already way too much.

If you start paying for costumes, props, locations or even WAGES for your crew and actors, then that's even something else of course. But even though the term is used a lot, I keep saying the "no budget film" is something that does not actually exist.

A budget film is where someone dips their hands into their pockets to pay for something for that film.
Which is very much what happens on every filmset... Someone pays for something. The fact it's never talked about and some people chose to ignore that all the stuff they use didn't come for free doesn't change that. It's an economical reality. smile



However, I agree with what I assume you want to say b4.
SAVE money wherever possible. Try get locations for free, try get equipment for free, people to help you in their spare time etc to keep the money needed down to a minimum. That's always a good advice for any indie filmmaker!
Don't just throw money around wildly just because you could.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 4:30pm

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b4uask30male

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Solly's right about the throwing money around part, all too easy to think, wE COULD BUY THIS, pay for that.
Try to think you have no money even if you do.

One other idea might be to join up with a fellow film maker, use their help and resources and they will do the same from you.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 4:56pm

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Bryan M Block

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It's not an illusion-
A local guy (friend o' mine) made his movie "The Note" for about 8.00

seriously. The cost of tape. A DP volunteered to shoot it with his gear for nothing (to repay the guy for helping out on one of his films) the audio guy donated his time. The actors (including myself) donated our time- He bought DV tape and that was it. Even the locations and food were donated!

Most of these things were donated as a return favor because the guy had helped out alot of other people on their Low/No Budget films. The short film is called "the Note" and I think you can find it online somewhere (?)

His site is: http://www.archandpillar.com but I couldn't find that movie- he made a D&D fan film for some contest that did very well, and again he spent like 20.00!

He had a friend in the UK shoot some B-Roll and he did the rest locally. It's pretty neat considering they did it for so little money and over like two days.

http://www.archandpillar.com/Movies/Soar/Soar.html

So the "no budget" movie is almost true, 8.00 is like nothing.
wink
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 5:38pm

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The Siege

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Well I don't have to care about DV Tapes as I've got a Hard Disk Camcorder. So that eliminates the cost of DV Tape. I'll go and write a little promo movie to send to some companies and maybe the local authorities (they must have some sort of funding for "cultural activities")

And it's time for us to get more organized, we were the kind of crew that had a attitude that Sollthar described as: "hey let's go out and shoot something" attitude. Guess that's done with, also I'm going to invest in some FxHome programs. Thanks to you all for your tips. If you have some more, please post them, they can always come in handy. I owe you guys one.

- The Siege
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 5:40pm

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Sollthar

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More then tips my best wishes and good luck for your project! Hopefully you'll keep us up to date how it all comes together! smile
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 5:43pm

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Bryce007

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All of my films have generally cost around $10-$50 USD.

So, if you keep your film under 15 minutes, I'd think you could probably fund your own films in order to interest investors rather simply.

EDIT: I'm including props, food, gas etc...

Last edited Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 6:32pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 5:58pm

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Sollthar

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There's a difference between a movies "cost" and the actual money that is actually needed.

I probably have too much of a business perspective on things, but if someone works on a film of mine and I don't have to pay him, HE is paying for his own time.. If someone brings his own equipment I can use for free HE is paying for the ammortisation costs. If an actor drives to my location, HE pays for the gas. If I use my computer/camera I already have I am paying for the ammortisation costs. If I use the clothes people already wear as costumes, THEY paid for it.

So for NightCast, we actually needed to pay roughly 30'000 $ in cash (INCLUDING the cost of the camera and 2 computers plus software to edit). Still, the movie didn't "cost 30'000", it cost about half a million.

I can see how a hobbyist doesn't realize how this financial stuff works though, because all he cares about is the coins or notes he has to grab out of his wallet and give to someone. And in his mind, everything he doesn't have to buy specifically for the film comes for free. And I assume within this perspective, saying "my film cost 8$ or 10 to 50$" is absolutely valid. Seeing I make most of my living with what I do right now, I no longer have this perspective though.

So I'll shut up now. smile
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 6:05pm

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pdrg

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Right, I have to jump in here - I'm in the middle of this whole process right now, here's what I've learned!

1) A website is fine, but depending on where you live can get you into all sorts of trouble. If you're asking the public to invest, in the UK you MUST be FSA registered. The process takes 3 years, so partner up with an IFA and ask them to make the approaches for you - do NOT ask for money on your website as this can get you in really serious trouble.

2) Don't even consider sponsors - if your film is worth making, look for INVESTORS. Investors get their money back plus a profit. If you ask someone to sponsor you, they know they get nothing in return, if they invest, they may get their money back.

3) Public bodies do not sponsor feature films. All the schemes everyone says 'ooh have you asked The Film Council/Screen West/whatever for money?' don't give money to feature films. No matter what you think you know, they don't. You may be able to get a grant for a short, but that's because shorts are not expected to be commercially viable. Features are big-boys league - you have to make money. The Film Council may invest in your film (note INVEST!), especially if you need 'completion money', and can prove to them it's good for British Film - specifically that you've taken the risk out of the project (ie it's shot) and that you have distributors interested.

4) To convince anyone to invest, you must have a decent wodge of paperwork for them to read - that means a budget (a realistic budget) broken down to around 40 headings, with sub-breakdowns below that. You don't have to stick to your budget, but you have to have one to be taken seriously. If you can get potential investors into a cinema before midday to see a screener of your (or your DoP/Directors) work, you may sell them the sizzle and romance of cinema as well as an investment.

5) Tax - UK VAT is 17.5%, so if you're VAT registered, you get back all the tax you paid - this helps with a few grand back every now and again whilst you're making the film.

6) Business incentives - UK govt has a scheme EIS where investors get 20% of their investment back in their tax codes (so a £5k investment costs £4k) - even semi-serious investors expect to see this. There may be other tax schemes available to you too (eg FPTC in UK).

7) Be deadly serious - you need to be taken seriously for anyone to invest. People will ask you tricky financial questions, make sure you know the answers. If needs be, partner with a producer who will drive the project (although they may not invest cash they can make it happen)

cool Not at any cost - some investors want to yank your chain, to them it's a power thing. Get investors who love your project as much as or more than you do yourself!

9) Wheel and deal, make connections, ask everyone you meet about investing in your film. Ask them to ask their friends. Keep asking.

10) Integrity is essential. Always carry out any promises you make. People have long memories, and once you find a few investors, you'll want to go back to them to ask for more money later... Never take anyone's money who can't afford it - no matter how much they're into the romance of it. If someone can't feed their kids one day because they believed in your dream, and it didn't pay off, that's on your head.

11) Be realistic - raising £25,000 is hard work, and £100,000 is four times harder. For every budget line, ask how you can do it for less/free. Buy a camcorder? Hell no, rent one! Pay £500/day? Ask for £400. Paying for a four-day-week? Work them down to a two-and-a-half-day week. Then ask if they'll throw in the legs/dolly etc.

12) Do what you can do yourself, what you can't do yourself, pay someone FAST. Fast workers can cost you less to get a job done than cheaper slow workers.

13) Deferments - ask nicely if people will take some cash now (enough to cover their rent, say, plus food) and their full fee on deferment. Some will say yes, others no. The shorter the favour you ask for (eg a weekend as opposed to a week), the better the chance they'll say yes. Even my lawyer and accountant accepted deferments!

14) Against that, only spend money you already have. Debt is a really bad way to finance anything if you can possible avoid it. Everyone wants to be a part of a success, but if you're in debt, you're on your own.

15) Say yes to things - if someone asks you to help them film a pop concert (for instance), and you're not busy that day, take them up on it - be a 'can-do' person. If you put yourself out for others, they will put themselves out for you - and you can never guess where it will lead, or who you'll meet as a result!

Blimey, I'll rest at 15 for now...
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 6:22pm

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Bryan M Block

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I agree with pdrg and Solthar-
I too make my living in commercial video and film production and I'm connected to the local DV/indie film community as well. I've seen many friends and colleagues go through this stuff to get films made- I covered similar material in my original post- my second post was intended to show that you CAN make something with little out of pocket- like S. said- his film would have cost half a million- the same type of thing went on with the films I listed- people traded time and skill sets with each other. TJ helped several people out on their projects (for free) and then they repaid the favors so he could make his project. My picture "Motor Lodge" cost me out of pocket about 2000.00 including upgrading my computer and replacing a damaged piece of gear- but if I would have HAD to pay full price for some of the gear I got to use or the DP would have charged me his usual day rate, my pic would have cost 20K
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 6:31pm

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pdrg

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Ah! Me again...

16) Learn how money works! You have a head start, you use it every day, but you need to know how it really works, how businesses make money, the difference between NET and GROSS, what profit is, etc. As I always tell people who ask me - 'if you don't know the difference between net and gross, I'm paying your percentage out of Net'. wink
Posted: Thu, 22nd Feb 2007, 9:28pm

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SilverDragon7

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Well sometimes, it's just about know the right people... I have been a friend with a family for a year (or so) and they will be donating to my big movie project next year. And I will be working for a good friend, who owns a big events service (A division of TCB Productions, which he owns), so many of the things I need, such as equipment, I will be able to use for free.

But I will also be using the advice already said in this thread as well.
Posted: Sat, 24th Feb 2007, 6:04pm

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pdrg

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Ahhh yes, number 17...

17) Get very lucky! wink