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-   -   Any advice on finding money? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/41680-any-advice-finding-money.html)

Heath McKnight March 23rd, 2005 01:03 PM

Any advice on finding money?
I have 7 months and $0 in my account for my next film. I'm willing to put some of my own money in, but that's a last ditch effort.

Any advice for raising at least $25,000? And don't suggest donations--I plan on making money with this movie.



Michael Wisniewski March 23rd, 2005 06:57 PM

Perhaps selling product placement in the movie?

Luis Caffesse March 23rd, 2005 07:02 PM

Do it the old fashioned way Heath... ask someone else for it.

If you do indeed plan on making money off this film, then I assume that means you have some sort of distribution plan already in place. With that in mind, it should be pretty easy to write a business plan for this venture... and then pound the pavement for local investors.

I would approach just about anyone who will give you the time to talk to them. Local business owners are a good start.

Being business owners they know what it's like to start something from nothing, and they seem to be more likely to listen to you. It's a tightrope act between coming off like part 'businessman' and part 'artist.'

Heath McKnight March 23rd, 2005 11:32 PM

I don't have distribution, but I do have a plan. I need to be aggressive.

Thanks, guys!


Luis Caffesse March 23rd, 2005 11:45 PM

"I don't have distribution, but I do have a plan."

That's all I meant.

Your business plan should outline how production and postproduction will be done, what your distribution channels are, and how the film will make money (basing this off any relavent market research on similar films would be helpful).

Of course, at the $25,000 level, your best bet is to find an 'angel' investor. Someone who is looking to be part of a movie, and happens to have a lot of personal money to put into such a project. The odds of turning of profit are slim at that level, and most business people will know that.

You have get out there and sell the dream, but still seem like you're level headed.

You know, just like Casey Kasem said, keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars.

Mitchell Stookey March 23rd, 2005 11:54 PM

You could hold an "investors party". Depending on how far along you are in pre-production maybe you could have posters made, and the actors present? Then you can invite rich people (business owners, dentists, etc) and sell them your idea. Convince them that this movie is going to make money and they'll make money by investing. I'm not speaking from experience here unfortunately (although in about a month I will be) but I expect it will work. I've heard of this being done and to great success. It all depends on how well you sell yourself and the project. Regardless good luck on raising the money!

Heath McKnight March 23rd, 2005 11:55 PM


Do you feel a higher budget will bring in more money?



Ken Tanaka March 24th, 2005 12:03 AM

Remarks not specific to raising funds for filmmaking:

$25,000 doesn't sound like a credible sum...far too small. If you asked me for that amount I'd assume (a) you're an embezzler, or (b) you've no idea of the costs you will really face and will be back on my doorstep in a month. You can't even buy a decent car for that amount today.

Even if you're confident of producing a feature remotely salable for that sum don't ask for it. Nobody who could give it to you will take you seriously. Set your sights on $2.5 mil., an amount still well within the reach of many individual investors. Even if you have to settle for 10% of that you'll be far beyond your initial goal.

You might be able to approach a "private equity" investment firm. Most such firms are constantly in search of good unique investment opportunities for their clients. But, in this case, you'll have to be looking for more like $25 mil to even get them to give you a return phone call and you'll have to present a very bullet-proof business plan. It would be quite a stretch but perhaps some West Coast shops would consider it.

In the 1980's I, and several of my colleagues, was approached by a firm to invest in a large feature film (that everyone here would well recognize). The firm's strategy was to gold mine a very specific pool of potential investors to raise approximately 1/3 of the production's budget. The strategy worked. Most of us participated and were well rewarded for the investment. But the amount of schmoozing and sucking-up required to raise the money was really something to behold. Presentations by the director, dinners with members of the principal cast members, yadda yadda.

So investment firms do raise such investments. But, at least in the case I cited above, they were representing a well-established film production partnership with a platinum-plated slate for cast and crew.

The other idea, of course, would be to look for a grant.

Heath McKnight March 24th, 2005 12:13 AM

I need more time...


Glenn Gipson March 27th, 2005 07:14 AM

I burrowed money for my move from my mother. I donít know if you can do the same, but friends and family are a much over looked option by a lot of low budget movie makers. Probably a pride thing. But, this is not always an option for some movie makers.

Gary McClurg March 27th, 2005 07:49 AM

Half joking here.

Find someone who doesn't know what they're doing. In the last year my production partner and I have had two people come to us with close to half a million each to make a film (real funds in the bank).

Neither had made a movie before. They wrote scripts. Neither was any good.

They needed rewriting. One even said his cousin was a big time actor. After reading his script. I told him his big time cousin won't do it unless he rewrites it.

The last we heard of him he was mad at us and his big time cousin.

The other one was afraid he'd lose control of his project. The last we heard of him was that he approached someone else and they told him the same thing.

Just a little rant, but I've never had any luck in raising funds. Always been a producer for hire.

Actually this year we decided to fund it ourselves. Have friends who own restaurants for catering, a friend of a friend with a closed resort. The sound mixer will throw in his services, basically a lot of trading etc.

So, its off to make a horror film.

One person told me I was crazy trying to honest with these guys. He said take the money, change your name and go for it.

Christopher C. Murphy March 27th, 2005 07:52 AM

If you could incorporate some type of "non profit" thing into your film...you could possibily get a lot of "in kind" funds. Like if your story could have one charactor in a wheelchair...not even a main charactor, but someone that pops up once in a while. If you have that person be totally normal and helpful....that's a big thing for people in wheelchairs. (just using wheelchairs as an example)

I've had this idea for a while and I plan to use it. So, you go to organizations out there and ask for "help" so you can "help" them. It's very subtle and not something pronounced in the film, but you are helping to promote a solid and good view of people in plight. There are so many things to choose from, but your movie in particular might even benefit from a charactor with an efliction? I think it's a good idea because so many people are left in the dust when it comes to films...if anything they are mocked more than anything else. So, even putting someone in a wheelchair in just to add some interesting weight isn't a bad idea. There are others too...blind people or whomever.

It's just an idea...that's all. In-kind donations...whether cash or food, or anything is all the same on a production anyway. It's all cash on the budget if you don't have to pay for it. We've got a saying around here..."if it's free it's for me". :)

Heath McKnight March 27th, 2005 11:14 AM

Can't legally do non-profit and for-profit, but I do know that I can get a 100% write off, as can other investors, this year on investing in a movie that creates jobs. It's part of the Job Creation Act Congress created, with a little help on the film and TV side from the DGA and SAG. I read about it in the latest Filmmaker magazine.

Also, if filmmakers cast minorities and women into roles, SAG can be very helpful, and they're already helpful. More can be found Sag Indie's site.


Aaron Shaw March 27th, 2005 11:34 AM

Depending on the topic of the movie you may be able to find private groups who would invest. For instance, you could probably get a decent amount of money if you were working on a movie about the horrors that occured in Kosovo during the late 90s. Lots of special interest groups would see that as something worth funding.

Cleveland Brown March 29th, 2005 10:06 AM

I heard that there is a venture capitalist group that meets monthly in my area. Depending on what area you are in, there may be something similar. I think the trick is, have your elevator speach down, your numbers in order, and make at least one of them a believer. Not saying I have actually done that and been succesful but I am in the very same situation and have read stacks of books over the last few years.


Just to get clarification, how much of your project do you have to already have accomplished before you can even beging to think about talking to potential investors? For instance it may not be a good idea to show up to a venture capitalist breakfast and not have the whole package ready. On the other hand, is it better to get the capital first so that you can actually afford a decent producer, dp, cast & crew? At which stage do you start requesting the venture capitol?
Treatment & script complete, movie proposal in hand, or, actors, director, producer already attached.

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