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Taking Care of Business
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Old October 14th, 2008, 08:35 PM   #1
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From idea to money. Own productionhouse.

I have several program, and documentairy idea's. At the moment i'm student, and dont have work, and much money. I want to begin a own fulltime production company, with long term high value documentairy's and shows for broadcasters.

Idea --> company --> money

First i need money to set up my company, buy digibeta's and audio equipment, rent cameracrew. Can i go to a bank without any money, and lent money enough to make the whole documentairy/series. Or is it better to go to a broadcaster with the idea, and ask money from the broadcaster?

I have the ideas, but bring the whole in reality is difficult.
Do somebody know some good books especially about setting up a own production company, and the business?
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Old October 15th, 2008, 03:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jos de Waard View Post
Or is it better to go to a broadcaster with the idea, and ask money from the broadcaster?
Your best bet is to go the broadcasters and see if you can interest them in your ideas. There's no point borrowing money etc if you can't get a commission.
Also, broadcasters will usually pay more for a programme that they commission than one that they buy.
However, the idea is only one concern for the broadcaster. Their other concern will be your track record and capacity to deliver. It doesn't matter how good the idea is, if they have concerns about your capacity to delivery they won't commission you.
Perhaps your best bet is to ensure that your intellectual property rights are protected. Attempt to interest a broadcaster. Then find an established production company to work with if you get interest from a broadcaster.
Alternatively you could spend a few years learning all about making programmes and then try to set up your own company.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 04:05 AM   #3
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I'd take your ideas to a good production company that specialises the same genre/type of productions that match the ideas. I'd also have good student films or self made films that demonstrate your talent to the production company. A good film course will have connections with the industry and these may help you and allow you to build up a working relationship. Researcher, is the usual starting off point in these companies.

I wouldn't bet on intellectual rights holding much water with a documentary idea, but you may stand a better chance with a programme format (such as a game show) that's been written into a treatment.

Production companies don't buy gear like Digibeta unless they've got a steady stream of work, they either rent or hire a crew that provides the equipment. If they've got a long term commission or steady work they may then buy.

The broadcasters won't commission high production value programmes from a recently graduated filmmaker without any track record who has just started up their own production company. That type of production will to the larger. established companies or producers with a strong track record.

An alternative is to make a film that may or may not sell, but the main purpose is to showcase you around festivals etc., so producers may take an interest in you and your ideas. An award winning film in good festivals does attract interest.

BTW It's very easy to start up a limited company, but you do have costs each year keeping it going.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 06:42 AM   #4
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Or i can produce the full program from my own money, and sell it on dvd, and try to sale it to broadcasters? -> No option.

Okay, i go to a national broadcaster with my idea. I make a offer, and they give me the money to produce? But how much i have to earn? When i tell them the format, and i ask to much money for the commission, i'm too expensive. So the broadcaster knows the idea and give the commission to a cheaper production company.

But produce the documentary, or program from my own money is not a option? So i need convince my broadcaster that they give me to rent all the service (cameracrew, editing comany, voiceover.) Can somebody tell me some average prices for the offer... i give money to a editing company, stock music, cameracrew, but how much i have to earn in my company as profit?

Last edited by Jos de Waard; October 15th, 2008 at 07:41 AM.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 08:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jos de Waard View Post
Or i can produce the full program from my own money, and sell it on dvd, and try to sale it to broadcasters? -> No option.

Okay, i go to a national broadcaster with my idea. I make a offer, and they give me the money to produce? But how much i have to earn? When i tell them the format, and i ask to much money for the commission, i'm too expensive. So the broadcaster knows the idea and give the commission to a cheaper production company.

But produce the documentary, or program from my own money is not a option? So i need convince my broadcaster that they give me to rent all the service (cameracrew, editing comany, voiceover.) Can somebody tell me some average prices for the offer... i give money to a editing company, stock music, cameracrew, but how much i have to earn in my company as profit?
Profit margins on TV productions in the UK vary according to budget levels, but I'd ball park around 10%. A production company's profit level on a commissioned programme's budget (as against the producer's own fee) will vary from country to country

Knowing some UK broadcasters they're more likely to give the idea to an experienced in house producer rather an a cheaper production company.However, I'd add that only a small percentage of the ideas pitched to broadcasters ever get made into programmes.

In your position, I'd start doing some in depth research on this subject, because your knowledge of the business end of TV production seems to be rather poor at the moment.

You won't get the required detailed levels of information on a forum, only very general answers. There are short courses/workshops for TV producers which can be worthwhile attending. Some of these are associated with film/TV festivals/markets, your local film and TV commission might have information of any being held in Belgium. You should also check out any books on the subject - industry papers like Broadcast will also enable you to get a feel for what's going on.
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