If I had a quarter for every time a filmmaker asked me this question I would be rich from this question alone. Most of the problems that filmmakers run into every day have to deal with raising money or at the very least could be fixed with the right budget..
Filmmakers contact me daily to help them with raising money for their project. When I ask who is the executive producer they usually say, “I am”.
I don’t like to shoot down anyone’s dreams, but one of my industry friends posed this question to me “what good is an executive producer who can’t raise money”? If your goal is to become the executive producer on your own project, you will have to find a way to bring the funds to even get the project off the ground.
If you ask me (whether to sell a script versus try to raise the money yourself) I will always choose the second option. Sure if you sell your screenplay you may get an upfront payment along with writing credit, but that is pretty much where it ends.
In fact, if you do end up selling your screenplay outright, you are pretty much out of the picture after the initial purchase. (That goes for any of the logistics behind the scenes as well.)
You end up watching the film in theatres just like everyone else. That is also when you will find out what scenes were left in the film, and which scenes were taken out.
Let’s say the producers decide to change the whole cast from an African American family to a Hispanic one. There is pretty much nothing you can do. So my advice is if this is your pet project or a project that is near and dear to your heart I would always advise you “not” to sell it.
Ok so let’s say you have decided that you will raise the money yourself. How do you do it?
First things first, In order to raise money for your project you will need to find investors. I will have another post explaining how to find investors in more detail but this post is mainly about what you need to give to an investor in order to get the money for your film. (At Indie Black film we have a database of investors that we can introduce you to if you don’t have any investors in mind.)
Whether you hire an executive producer or you fill the role yourself you will need what is called a “package”. This “package” has everything an investor would need to determine if your film is worth investing in. It will include things like a business plan, show Bible, budget, etc.
I’ve done an interview with one of our partners who find investors for filmmakers. In the interview, he explains exactly what is a “package” and what should be in it.
It was converted into an audiobook for ease of digestion. The audiobook is on sale on our website for $9.99 But
I will give it to you here for free.
This audiobook is also on Audible for $3.99. If you click the link below you can sign up for a free 30 day trial of audible in which you get one free credit (which you can use to download the book for free).
100 Percent Risk Free
The great thing is even if you cancel after three days you still get to keep the book forever.
TIp – If your project has everything packaged correctly then I can introduce you to an investors as soon as tomorrow. But if it is incomplete then we need to finish it. Please take a listen when you have the free time (the book is really short a little over 30 minutes) If anything you may want to listen just to verify you do have everything you need.
If your package is complete and you are ready to proceed to the next step contact us by email.
email@example.com Please put “Film Funding” in the subject line.
I work with this specific investor by bringing him filmmakers who need to raise funding. The best thing about it is there is no up-front charge for him to raise money. He only receives a small finder’s fee if he’s able to get your project funded (working on a pro-bono basis just like an injury attorney. If he can’t raise any money for you, you lose nothing).
Also, I have two example business plans that I can send you if you would like to see what one looks like. (real examples of films the speaker from the audiobook was able to raise the money for). It’s a great listen for anyone looking to raise money. You can pretty much bet any investor that you run into will require similar information.
Now that your package is ready it’s time for the moment of truth.
Ok, My Script Is Done. Is It Time To Start Taking Meetings With Investors?
The short answer is no. Most filmmakers think that once they finish the script it is time to start raising money. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The fact is most film investors rarely even read the script before deciding to invest in a film. They care nothing about your artistic vision or creative genius. It is all about dollars and cents. $$$
What is the most important factor to an investor?
Here is the definition of “attachments” from a quick google search when we are speaking in terms of film production.
An Attachment Agreement is a contract set up between a producer and a talent. … Once an Attachment Agreement is in place, the producer can more confidently go and find a financier, a network, a studio or other production company to develop or produce the project.
We have to get what’s called a “Letter Of Intent (LOI). A letter of intent doesn’t guarantee that the actor will necessarily be in your film, but it does guarantee that if you are able to raise the money, they will read the script. That will be all that some investors will need to move forward.
A script by itself means nothing. If you took a script by itself to a major film studio you would probably get laughed out of the room. Everything depends on “attachments”.
Sure, Brad Pitt may cost around 2 million to secure his schedule, but a lot of the A-list actors (like him) are booked for the next 3 years. So the question isn’t the money. the question the investor is asking themselves is
if I give this producer the money, is it a real possibility that they can get this actor to go into production now (who wants to wait 2 years to even start production of a film)?
At least if you have an (LOI) then the investor can be sure that you in fact have some of the connections that you say you have. Their worst fear would be to give 5 million dollars to some executive producer who ends up buying a Lambo with the money (and the film never gets made).
Another question an investor may ask is
how much money have you already raised for your film?
how much of your own money have you put in?
(10% of the budget is always better than coming with absolutely nothing)?
There are scenarios where we are able to raise money with none of the budget already raised to start, but it always sounds better if a producer feels confident enough in their film to put up some of their own money.
Investors want to know if you have any skin in the game.
Even if you only come with 10K of a half a million-dollar budget. At least that shows investors that you have something to lose. It also shows that you believe in the project enough to put your money where your mouth is as they say.
Most larger investors like to invest in bigger-budget films at like 30 million+.
Then there are smaller micro-investors who wouldn’t fund a movie over 100k.
Everything starts with the budget of the film that you’re trying to create. Large investors would never invest in a lower budget film as they are trying to make the big money and hit a home run on each project (a lot of them being large hedge funds), but lower-tier investors see low budget films as an asset. Lower money spent upfront equals less money that has to be paid back at the end.
Larger investors will almost always ask to see your attachments and the smaller investors may invest just to feel like they are a part of Hollywood.
There are a million safer ways to invest your money than in the film industry. Most of the smaller investors just want to feel a part of the Hollywood experience. Maybe offer them a meet-in-greet with some of the actors.
If you have any more questions about film investing or you have a package that is complete and would like to get started shoot an e-mail to info@Indieblackfilm.com. Make sure to put “Film Funding” in the subject line.