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Old June 7th, 2004, 04:05 PM   #1
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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What do investors want?

I'm about to start the search for investors for a feature length project, and I was looking for opinions/examples of what is most attractive to investors, and how much to actually give up.

The obvious answer is "money." You promise the investor a return on investment (ROI).

Do you offer a fixed ROI, something above anything a bank would offer, or do you offer a flexible ROI based on any profit the movie makes when/if sold?

Do you offer an actual promise of ROI, or do you treat the production like a stock, and ask the investors to shoulder some risk?

For the actual specifics of the project, we're looking for $200,000 and my production company has agreed to put in $300,000 worth of clocked visual effects work.

I'm not looking to make a fortune off the project, and I want obviously offer prospective investors an attractive offer, but at the same time, I don't want to give everything away to investors and end up nothing in the end (aside from the completed project, of course.)

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Old June 7th, 2004, 04:13 PM   #2
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Old June 7th, 2004, 05:31 PM   #3
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Unless you have the financial wherewithall to back up your promises of a return, never promise a return! It's the first way you will find yourself with tremendous legal problems.

If you promise such returns you don't need financial backing, do you. In fact, you should inform potential investors that they will probably NOT make their money back.

But many investors look at doing such things as their big chance to step into the Hollywood spotlight. This becomes a good selling point and helps to obscure the fact that they won't get anything in return.

Even still, representing yourself as an investment requires certain facts to be presented. This is why many production companies form and LLC to take on such a task with advice from a lawyer. This isn't too difficult or expensive.

Trying to find that amount of money from individual investors can take a long time so you must be patient.
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Old June 7th, 2004, 06:11 PM   #4
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If you're planning to solicit funds from strangers the first action you should take is to procure the services of an attorney familiar with such media investments. I am not familiar with Canadian securities laws but I'd be that they're similar to those in the U.S.. You will need professional guidance to make sure that you construct an appropriate legal structure for your effort and that you construct a proper prospectus in accordance with your laws.

In the broader question of what investors want, the answer basically distills to a clear picture of your plan, the risks, and how you propose to deliver a level of return commensurate with those risks. If you are not familiar with investment concepts or terminology you will need to find someone who understands that sphere and speaks the language (perhaps also that attorney).

One last remark. True investors are not to be confused with donors. That is, no sane investor is going to hand you a dime unless you have a very compelling product, strong production plan, and nearly water-tight distribution strategy. Investors will also be very wary if you appear amateurish and too-young. They'll smell "scam", since "independent film projects" are one of the leading financial scams. To that end, the first "sale" you're going to have to make will probably be to someone who can introduce you to potential investors. That probably means an investment advisor who deals in alternative private equity investments. That also means that you''re probably going to pay him/her a straight commission based on the participation he/she raises for you. It's likely to be a big slice, too.

Good luck.
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