FINANCING: THE 4 ABSOLUTE BEST WAYS
by Dov S-S Simens on January 25, 2015
FINANCING (*No-Bull!): Funding $10,000-$1,000,000 for your first truly Micro- or Low-Budget Feature is relatively easy if you are realistic about your (A) script/package, (B) what you can handle and (C) your budget rather than naïve and romantic. Okay, let me get to the NO-BULL, permit me to cut-to-the-chase and show you how to fund your first movie…. assuming of course that you are realistic.
There are over 35 ways to finance a feature film directly 100% and over 128,000 permutations if piece-mealing your financing (10% here, 25% there, 15% here, etc.) ranging from & utilizing…
- FILM MARKET PRE-SELLS, (not for 1st timers)
- GUARANTEED BANK LOANS, (not for 1st timers)
- PRODUCT PLACEMENTS, (not for 1st timers)
- PUBLIC OFFERINGS, (not for 1st timers)
- GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS, (not for 1st timers)
- GLOBAL CO-PRODUCTIONS, (not for 1st timers)
- MERCHANDISING DEALS, (not for 1st timers)
- MAJOR STUDIO DEALS, (not for 1st timers
- GAP FINANCING, (not for 1st timers)
- ON-DEMAND DOLLARS (Netflix, Hulu, etc) Deals,
- STUDIO DEVELOPMENT DEALS (not for 1st timers)
- to… to… to… to…
They are all great. They are all real. Bruckheimer does it. JJ Abrams does it. Tarantino does it. Mike Curb does it. Clooney, married or not, does it. Soderbergh does it. Coen Brothers do it. Spike Lee does it… Damon & Affleck can do it… Now, how about you?
You, yes you…Now what is real for you? Are you tired of going to those $250-$700 Pitchathons with all those secretaries & interns from Lionsgate, CAA, Summit, William Morris posturing as VP of Development Execs where nothing happens but you might meet the love-of-your life and get selected for a non-broadcast celebrity series on a web-site or land a channel on YouTube where you’re competing with PewDiePie, Smosh, the Fine Brothers, Jenna Marbles or anyone who plays MineCraft and gets a million-views-a-day and your trailer just got 32 views in-a-week…Plus, all of these YouTube names had 5x higher “Q” ratings (The industry standard for rating consumer appeal) than mainstream celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Keaton or Al Pacino.
Yes, I do ramble but I will get to the point which is the “Absolute 4 Best Ways to Finance Your Movie”
Yes, you keep hearing that Hollywood needs ideas. And you keep seeing their mega-budget visual extravaganzas that have no-story, and truly no unique ideas, but they seem to do $500 Million global Box Office Gross with their franchises (“Batman”, “Superman”, “Ironman” Spiderman”, “Pizza Man”, etc.) Part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ad infinitum and then these No-Idea Hollywood Studio Execs go to Comic-Con to look for another hero (“Samurai Warrior”, “Christian Chronicler”, “Millennial Madmen”, etc.) to become the next Franchise.
So now, “Lets-Get-Real”. The Absolute 4 Best Ways to Finance your first independent feature film are….
- PRIVATE PLACEMENT:
- CROWD FUNDING (Donations):
- CROWD FUNDING (Equity):
- GET A JOB & SAVE:
PRIVATE PLACEMENT: When raising $100,000-$500,000 hire an attorney for $2,000 to Incorporate (sp?) your company (protect your assets), create an LLC (protect investor assets), and offer 50% of profits (if any) by selling 10-20 units (another word similar to share or stock) at $10,000-$5,000 each (representing 5% each), book a screening room, bring in the potential investors, screen something, bring in some actors to read a couple of scenes, hand out the Private Offering Memorandum, with a pen, and ask them (investors) to fill it in with how many units they want… This is doable.
CROWD FUNDING (Donations): If you’re not a celebrity (Spike Lee is, James Franco is, Veronica Mars is, Zach Braff is, Tom Hanks is, Don Cheadle is) it very-very-very likely ain’t gonna work (secure enough donations) if you’re looking for more than $50,000. But, what-the-heck, try Kickstarter, Indiegogo or RocketHub. If you’re, however, going for under $50,000 then I think you have a fair possibility of funding if there is something truly unique about your campaign. With a true micro-budget…. This is doable.
CROWD FUNDING (Equity): Now this is different and this is new and this is how, starting in 2016, if the SEC finally does their job, and allows anyone to put money into a startup. Movies are all startups. And Crowd Funding (Equity) is how, in my opinion, 80-90% of first feature films will be financed in the very near future. And, by-the-by have you thought of Crowd Funding (Debt) where you offer potential investors not a share or equity in the company but you treat the money as a loan and you offer 5%, 8%, 10% interest
But this is not 2016, it is 2015, and you don’t want to wait. Well thank you President Obama and the JOBS ACT for crowdfunding (equity), which is selling shares, stocks, investments in your company rather than asking for donations, is allowed for ACCREDITED INVESTORS only. But there are over 6 million people in America, who make either $200,000/year or have a solid net worth. Thus if you’re looking for upwards of $1,000,000 (can make a solid 5-week shoot, with 2 tv names or rock stars in it) this is how you’ll do it. So google sites like “CrowdFunder”, “Fundable”, “FundAnything”, “Junction”, etc…. This is tough but it is doable.
And last, but not least, and totally doable…
GET-A-JOB & SAVE: Duh! Thanks to digital technology and all those super cheap 4K electronic cameras and amazing sound equipment you can make a guerilla feature, a 1-week shoot, with a $10,000 budget to get it in-the-can with a minimal crew of 5-7 and practical locations. So, why don’t you get a second job, 20 hours/week (I promise Hollywood will wait for you), at Starbucks or CostCo or Macy’s, save $10,000 over 6-8 months. Say goodbye to Starbucks, CostCo or Macys (don’t burn the bridge…you may be back) secure your location, cast 6-8 actors, find a DP with a 4K camera and shoot your movie… This is absolutely doable.
*** NO-BULL ***