Any advice on finding money? - Page 3 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 3rd, 2005, 12:14 PM   #31
Hawaiian Shirt Mogul
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: northern cailfornia
Posts: 1,261
"Any advice for raising at least $25,000? And don't suggest donations"

humm .. you might as well QUIT the business right now if you won't consider "donation" = gift ... every indenpendent movie receives donations ( gifts ) of some type ... many confuse donation and gift ... in the end it's FREE $ ( or items).
do a budget listing $$ and items you need for project .. then give out this list to EVERYBODY you know..

25K is not that much ... i suggest you ask everybody in your family , friends etc for a gift $$ ( $100 + ) .. in return you offer them NOTHING= remember it's a gift ( donation) ... sure put them in as extra's in the background ...

the secret to making it in the business is when somebody suggest something to you - you view it as a cup that is 1/2 FULL not 1/2 empty ... if you can't see on the FULL side then save yourself years of headaches and find a different form of creative expression/work/hobby etc ...

now here's a person with no $$ and is asking for $$ offering NOTHING in return !!!

http://www.themanwhoknewnothing.com/
Don Donatello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 3rd, 2005, 12:48 PM   #32
MPS Digital Studios
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida
Posts: 8,531
Don,

I don't think you realize that a donation or gift can get a for-profit business in a LOT of trouble with the SEC. You can have stuff given as an asset and not count it as an investment, but gifts and donations are really b-a-d with the SEC.

One caveat, gifts can be given to an individual, not a business, as long as it's under a certain amount of money. But one should check with the SEC before doing that.

TRUST me on this one, because there are a lot of articles out there about indie filmmakers who took donations and stuff and can't do much with their films because of the legal problems.

heath
__________________
My Final Cut Pro X blog
Heath McKnight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 4th, 2005, 01:34 PM   #33
New Boot
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 11
Heath et. al,

Thanks for the great discussion on fundraising and filmmaking. I am in a very similar situation to Heath and looking for the same answers. Where do we find funding?? So far, it has been VERY difficult.

For about a year now I have been looking for funding for my next film with almost no success. I did try an alternate route though. I am working with Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco and they agreed to be my Fiscal Sponsor; basically collecting and managing funds which are tax deductable for donors.

My film is a 30-min narrative short and I have a business plan and budget in place, roughly $30k. I have the script written and submitted it to Zoetrope.com for peer review. It was selected as the Best Short Script for September. With my own money, I purchased an HDR-FX1, tripod, lights, (working on the sound gear now). I also have music royalty-free music lined up and a couple of interested actors.

So it feels anyway that the pieces are in place but I have run out of places to look for funding.

So, what do you guys think? This is only my second film so I don't think I am ready for a $500k film.

1) Are investors at all interested in Shorts? It doesn't seem so thus far but perhaps I am looking in the wrong places.
2) Is my budget too low? I didn't think so given that this was a short but maybe I'm wrong. I think my numbers are accurate.
3) Where else can I look for non-profit funding? Or maybe there is more money in FOR-profit. Thoughts?

Wouldn't it be great if there was one organization you could meet with, give your sales pitch to and then have THEM get the funds if they believe in your project? It doesn't seem like anything like that exists and that each step is piece-mealed together but if one exists, I'd love to pool resources with a group in the L.A. area if one exists. I'm still looking.

Thoughts?
-Douglas Equils
Wild Motion Films
Douglas Equils is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #34
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
You mention that you're not sure you are ready for a 500k feature. The thing you have to remember--all you need is confidence--and a good screenplay. If you are paying $500,000--you have to remember where that money is going. Not equipment, but people. If you have a $500,000 film in production, chances are it is going to run itself. You don't need to be an expert to make a $500k film--you need to be an expert to make a $5,000 film, or a $50,000 film even. Remember, at that level, you're paying people to do their jobs.

Matthew Overstreet
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #35
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 138
<< you're paying people to do their jobs.>>

Yes you are. Let me see, I need a good lighting tech, a DP with a good reputation and several other positions that could be filled by young ambitious fresh out of college kids. I know I was willing to to a whole lot more work for a lot less back when I had just finished school. Oh ya, maybe I could get a better camera and lighting package from a rental house while I'm at it. That sounds like what I need to do. So how much confidence is too much? And I since my wife is the one with the NBA, is it better to let her do most of the talking when it comes to meeting investors? I guess that would kinda make her the producer to a certain extent.
__________________
CLEVE-ij
Cleveland Brown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2005, 03:44 PM   #36
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 704
" You don't need to be an expert to make a $500k film--you need to be an expert to make a $5,000 film, or a $50,000 film even. Remember, at that level, you're paying people to do their jobs."


I know what you're getting at...but i have to disagree.
While it may be easier to hold people accountable when you pay them, it never gets easier to make a film, it just gets more complicated. You have to be an 'expert' no matter what budget level you're reaching for.

$500K is still not a lot of money.
And the thing is, as budgets grow, so do expectations.

People like seeing a $5000 movie that looks like it cost $500,000.

By the same token, $500,000 movies often stretch themselves thin trying to look like they were $50 million dollar movies.

In some ways it could be argued that if anything it is easier to make a $5,000 movie, because no one expects anything from you.

The pressures and complexities of making a movie never get easier with money... only with experience.
__________________
Luis Caffesse
Pitch Productions
Austin, Texas
Luis Caffesse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #37
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,308
<<<-- Originally posted by Luis Caffesse : " You don't need to be an expert to make a $500k film--you need to be an expert to make a $5,000 film, or a $50,000 film even. Remember, at that level, you're paying people to do their jobs."
-->>>

I think this should be the correct statement:

In making a $500k film, you only need to be the expert at one thing. In making a $5k film, you need to be the expert in EVERYTHING.

How's that?
__________________
Need to rent camera gear in Vancouver BC?
Check me out at camerarentalsvancouver.com
Dylan Couper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2005, 08:09 PM   #38
MPS Digital Studios
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida
Posts: 8,531
It's all relative--$500,000 is cheap for a movie, but expensive for a house and so on. But I do agree, a director has more responsibilites as the budget drops.

heath
__________________
My Final Cut Pro X blog
Heath McKnight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2005, 07:32 AM   #39
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,707
I think any production that gets *completed* takes hard work. Every completed production takes some level of knowledge - you can't just whip something together and hope it floats. Usually you have resources based on comparable experience - meaning, who has 500k to make a movie? The personal "in charge" of that 500k probably got it because they showed how a 25k movie took on a 500k in quality cinematic story. (note how i said story)

In my personal experience no one gives money to anyone without a proven track record. You have to prove to investors you are consistant in your work. If you look around at all the filmmakers working they all have one thing in common - they made lots of shorts and at least one feature with no money or very cheap money. They get that experience and can understand the meaning of an invested dollar - hence, they won't give producers a hard time when asked to change the film because of budget concerns. (ever notice that A-list filmmakers always talk in interviews about coming in under budget? they sometimes even emphazize it over and over)

That guy on the latest Project Greenlight is the biggest A-hole I've ever seen involved at that level of a production! He was such a bad choice, but we still have a few episodes to see if he pulls through. I know they always cut out a lots of stuff from those reality-type shows, but from the looks of it the guy has no ability to think outside his own bedroom projects. (and he's 46 years old too and lives with his daddy???!!!)

My personal experience of being the Director of Production at an entertainment company "Celebst" had me in charge of a lot more than 500k. I had to spread out money to develop shows, film shorts and other content. (I was in charge of about 15 people.) I learned a HUGE lesson about squeezing production value out of limited resources and time. We needed sets for all the shows and shorts that were about to go into production for and I'm freaking out because there was no time to build sets. So, the owner of the company Alan Mruvka (who started and sold E! entertainment) starts telling me how E! didn't have ANY sets when it started. As a matter of fact, if anyone here thinks back to the first 8-10 YEARS of E! there weren't any sets! It's amazing...but, if you remember they had the "gossip" people sitting at their desks and the camera was just sitting on a tripod in their office. They didn't even use lights! It was the flouresents from the office! That channel operated on a shoestring, but had money to spend. They made so much money and people accepted the low production value because that's what they gave them...lol. I always remembered the "feel" of E! being pretty low-budget, but when he told me that the content was the value...I said, "Right! I see!" So, we went about doing it in a similar way. I shot interviews againts brick walls, in hallways etc. We did entire shows on the street - using the busy street as the "set". That's a cheap set!!!! We sat on a park bench for certain segments, then on "Hollywood and Vine" for certain segments. Whenever we had a celebrity to interview I'd just have them in their enviornment or place them in a place that made it look good. I'd take them on Rodeo Drive and go for walks, or window shop. They do this now all the time with reality programming, but in 2000 it was right at the actors strike and there was no reality programming yet!! That genre didn't really exist in the minds of everyone yet.

Anyway, I'm all over the place with this today. But, I'm just saying that even with 500k you could STILL shoot it with 25k and use the remaining money for marketing your film, or getting a name actor (probably a better idea) - so, maybe thinking about shooting a budget of 25k and overtly making it a 500k movie, but spending the rest on a very hot "up and coming" star??

If I had 500k - I'll write something very "indie" and get a "up and coming" star. I'd make it dirt cheap, but obviously something releaseable....24p production. But, I'd limit locations and bring it in way under budget so you can tout this for your next film you pitch. You had a name actor, came in under budget and the film got *completed*. Whether it got released or not isn't important to a studio - that's not something you can control.

Also, another tip I know I've mentioned before. If you somehow get a budget for say....10k, or 25k or 500k...doesn't matter the amount. Always ad DOUBLE to the budget. Yes, it's a trick used in Hollywood I learned. If you walk around saying, "I'm doing a movie for 25k" that's great, but instead walk around talking to investors saying "I'm doing a movie for 50k". Afterwards when you do the movie for 25k you can walk around saying, "We came in 25k under budget." Now you're the star of the film just like the actor.

If you think that isn't how Hollywood works..you're wrong. It's all about the money and bringing in something "under budget" is HUGE for producers. It's currency for their next project and everyone talks about it.

Just my 2 cents!
__________________
Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
Christopher C. Murphy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2005, 05:10 PM   #40
New Boot
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 11
Hey guys. Good discussion here about production philosophy, role of director, etc. but I am afraid we are getting a little off topic, at least off my topic. :)

Regardless of the budget ($25k or $500k), what specific places can we filmmakers go for money? Specifics like links, names, groups, people, sources of information, etc.

Also, is a feature more likely to get funding that a short?

And for the $5k vs $500k issue, perhaps a little background is necessary. So far, I have somewhat limited experience in film, although I have written 3 screenplays, have one film completed, and two in pre-production; and although I do have 4 degrees, I have no "film" education to speak of. :)

Do you know anyone who would give someone with this experience $500k? If so, PLEASE tell me! I am very confident and I have a great script but people I have spoken with want to see your "portfolio" of movies and I have one, which I feel was good but hey, it was my first.

So, again, seems like the focus so far has been on "When you have the funds, this, this, and this". How does someone like me get funds in the first place? Please help! There must be somewhere for someone like me to pitch my idea to someone who would be in the position to help me.

Thanks for the responses,
Douglas Equils
Wild Motion Films
Douglas Equils is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2005, 05:47 PM   #41
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 704
"How does someone like me get funds in the first place?"

Douglas, this is one of the most frustrating things indie filmmakers have to deal with. It's frustrating because there is no formula for success, and there is no specific advice to give (that I can see) short of what's already been said here.

Here is just one direction you could go:

If you feel you have a great script, then put together a budget for it, or work with a producer to put together a budget. Once you have a budget, you know how much you want to raise to make the movie happen.

At that point, put together a business plan outlining where the money will go, how it will be recouped, and how investors will be paid back.

Then you just start pounding the pavement.
Talk to anyone who may have some money. Pay attention to any indie films shooting in your city, and try to find out who is funding them. That might give you a good place to start. Basically get in front of anyone that will listen to you, even if they say no at least you got the practice. One of the hardest things about raising money is actually asking for it. You have to be able to do it, and do it with confidence.

Personally, I think the plan I outlined above probably works best for feature films raising a more significant amount of money ($100K+).

I've never tried to raise money for a short film, but I imagine it is harder that a feature film. It's very difficult to make back any money on a short (harder than a feature). So I think it's a tougher sell.

The key here is to have a strong script that you believe in, and surround yourself with talented people. I honestly think that getting the money has less to do with your experience and more to do with the potential people see in you.

I have friends who have shot several features, and never rasied a dime from anyone (paying for them out of pocket).
I have another friend who did a few shorts, and then raised $500K for a feature because he was able to sell himself, not just the script.

So, there really isn't one way to get it done.
Yes, a lot of it is luck....being in the right place at the right time. But you have to be ready when opportunity knocks...so just keep moving forward.

As the old saying goes ...
"luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."
__________________
Luis Caffesse
Pitch Productions
Austin, Texas
Luis Caffesse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2005, 01:23 PM   #42
New Boot
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 11
<<<-- Originally posted by Luis Caffesse :
If you feel you have a great script, then put together a budget for it, or work with a producer to put together a budget. Once you have a budget, you know how much you want to raise to make the movie happen.

At that point, put together a business plan outlining where the money will go, how it will be recouped, and how investors will be paid back.

Then you just start pounding the pavement.
Talk to anyone who may have some money. Pay attention to any indie films shooting in your city, and try to find out who is funding them. That might give you a good place to start. Basically get in front of anyone that will listen to you, even if they say no at least you got the practice. One of the hardest things about raising money is actually asking for it. You have to be able to do it, and do it with confidence.

Personally, I think the plan I outlined above probably works best for feature films raising a more significant amount of money ($100K+) -->>>

Luis, thank you very much for your reply. Actually, I do have a budget and a business plan that I put together to secure Fiscal Sponsorship from Film Arts Foundation so those pieces are in play. And the script has been peer reviewed and is "Great!", "Groundbreaking" and "Wonderful", according to those who have read it and like I mentioned, it was selected as the Best Short Script of September. Also, I have been talking with people, foundations, and others who might be interested in funding my film. But I am coming in from the outside and I don't have experience or connections in looking for money, especially for a short. And given my relative lack of experience, people are hesitant. I know the project will be great but the well is dry.

There MUST be a "money seeking" organization of some kind that will find funding for projects they believe in or projects they feel will make money. Someone with connections and the knowledge and experience needed to get money. But where are they?

Your best advice is probably to look at who is funding other shorts and follow the path backwards to the source. I'll try that and let you know how it turns out.

Anyone else have comments or ideas on the subject of raising money for indie shorts?

Thanks in advance,
Douglas Equils
Wild Motion Films
Douglas Equils is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2005, 11:57 PM   #43
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
If it is a short film, I really can't see MANY people investing in it. It may be a very good idea, but truth of the matter is--HOW would you make money off it? They don't screen shorts theatrically. At best, I'd imagine you could sell the short off to some distributor that has maybe a compilation DVD of some sort--but even that wouldn't make much money. I can't remember the last time I paid to see a short film.

If it was a feature film, I could see it being a lot easier to raise finances. About me saying you don't need talent at the $500,000 level, that was obviously an exaggeration. You need the talent to convince investors to give you money. You need to convince them that you can and WILL make them money. You have to convince them that you can complete a film. You need to convince them of a lot of things. But overall, if the script is great, I think that is all that matters. Just get word out of what you're doing. Post classifieds, call lawyers, and--I think the best thing to do is find someone to act as an executive producer. I'm sure having someone totally dedicated to raising money for the film would benefit you greatly--of course, they'd have to believe in you first.

Matthew Overstreet
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2005, 01:59 AM   #44
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
Maybe one possible route is this:
-Produce a short film that is like a mini-version of your feature script. For example, the feature-film Cube came out of the short film Elevator which director made while at the Canadian Film Center* (the CFC may be an exception to film school).

Anyways, you could do a short film and hope it gets film festival success and gets noticed. At those film festivals, be sure to schmooze with (the right) industry people as some of them may be producers who may be able to find funding for your feature-length film.

Production values don't have to be high at all as you are just trying to get attention. Low production values may even be a good thing because people will have lower expectations and will be harder to disappoint (and are setup to be pleasantly surprised).
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2005, 06:34 AM   #45
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Plainfield, New Jersey
Posts: 927
>>My film is a 30-min narrative short<<

This is 70% of your problem right here. Shorts are not business projects, they're learning/showcasing projects. You will only get gifts and or donations for such a project. There is no money in shorts. Hell, it's hard enough to make money with a feature, much less a short.

Also, people are genrally not that motivated about shorts (cast & crew) like they would be with a feature. While a short might be an OK step on the ladder for YOUR career, it rarely is for others that work on it. If you have any experience doing shorts in the past (which is almost a MUST before doing a feature,) then I would highly recommend you move on to doing a feature.
Glenn Gipson is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:50 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network