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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old March 30th, 2005, 01:30 PM   #1
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Companies, Investing, Financing, etc.

I'm curious as to everyone's thoughts on how a movie shoot should be organized, businesswise. I hear a lot of recommendations that when you begin a movie, you should form an LLC around the production. This is so you can protect each movie you do individually, in case anything bad happens, you can't be sued for everything you've made. Now--this seems great and all, but what if you want to have an actual ESTABLISHED production company? How would that work? How can you establish a company name if you are opening a new LLC each time you start a movie. Could you maybe have a central LLC production company somehow attached to the others? I'm not sure how that works.

Also, how do you go about getting investments for a motion picture, legally. Are there any third party middle men that handle contracts and investments? For example, if I were making a movie, and I needed $200,000 in funding, and an investor was willing to hand that over--what would be the legal way to do that? Do you go through a bank? And, would that be considered buying share in your company? I know this is a lot, but I'm really curious and I haven't been able to find any information on this topic. Thanks.

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Old April 3rd, 2005, 12:58 PM   #2
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Don't produce your film under your company, set up a seperate company, maybe as an S-Corp or an LLC (I don't think it makes a difference--9:04 AM Productions, Inc. is an S-Corp). My company, MPS Digital Studios, owns the copyright to 9:04 AM, my next film, but 9:04 AM Productions, Inc. is producing it.

WRITE A THOROUGH, GOOD BUSINESS PLAN! Need help with it? I found that the Action/Cut stuff was good, but I added much more to it with a well-researched marketing plan, etc. Or you can check out this book. This is the most boring, but most important, part of filmmaking. I believe 70% of films fail to get made because money couldn't be raised.

Be a SMART businessperson, research everything, be a salesperson! You're selling your dream.

It's tough to raise money, and I'm not much of a "hey, wanna put cash into my film," especially when I live in the hottest real estate area in the nation. People want to drop money on homes and land, not a film. But hard work, determination, believing in yourself and your film, and thinking up creative ways to find money (and LEGAL, can't stress that enough), and you'll do it!

Some banks will drop money, but only if you have distribution set up and some money is in place. But I'm not 100% sure of this; the last thing I read about that was a MovieMaker article circa summer 2001.

heath
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Old April 4th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #3
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By distribution, what do you mean? I have a distributor "interested" in my film, but by all means there is no actual business deal in place. Thanks.

Matthew Overstreet
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Old April 4th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #4
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Strong legal representation should be involved. Them Laywer types know more ins and outs, than any 10 artistic or video guys. Things like "Non-disclosure forms" might pop up, just to help you "C.Y.A.".
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Old April 4th, 2005, 10:23 PM   #5
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Distributors are interested, that's good. That's a BIG first step! Now, MAKE THE MOVIE after getting a plan, etc.

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