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-   -   Some advice when raising money for movies, etc. (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/44103-some-advice-when-raising-money-movies-etc.html)

Dennis Stevens January 11th, 2007 03:47 PM


Originally Posted by Heath McKnight
Lastly, you want to designate (incorporate, LLC, LLP, etc.) a SEPERATE company with a Federal Tax ID number, because of the extra protection. Also, you'll soon learn that having a seperate company secures the fact that investors are investing in your indie film, NOT your company. Or at least the seperate company making that particular film. A friend of mine made a film without a seperate company producing it, and one of his investors said he now owned a part of my friend's company. And guess what, he did. So my friend let the company expire to get out of it and created a new deal for the film investors.

I was wondering about this - do you usually form say, an LLC as production company, or videography biz, then create a new entity (like an LLC) for each movie?

I created an LLC as a production company, and here in Massachusetts it's a $500 fee to register an LLC. For each new movie I should create another one? Is that the standard practice?

Jacques E. Bouchard April 18th, 2009 02:12 PM

I realize that I'm replying to a post that's over three years old, but I thought many people could benefit from this. Since it's for the purpose of general interest, I've left out the name of the OP.


As we all probably know, artsy fartsy types staff most of these government agencies. With this in mind its almost impossible to get funding for something the general public might enjoy, the funds nearly always go to films that suit the obscure tastes of these controlling minorities. My point is, that after a year or so filling out forms and waiting around for funding, these once enthusiastic students get totally disillusioned and most just disappear back into regular work force.
I read scripts for such an agency that funds film productions. They're loans (not grants) that the producer has to pay back from the profits of the film, but commercial viability is never a major criterion in allotting or refusing funds to a project if it has artistic merit (man does not live from Bruce Willis or Steven Spielberg films alone).

However, I can tell you that 90% of the projects that get rejected have only the writing to blame. The "obscure tastes of the controlling minorities" is a boogey man conjured up to project blame, when the blame should rest squarely on the filmmaker who put more attention on imagining cool and hip visuals rather than writing a strong script.

So to anyone who has difficulty finding investors (public or private) or getting into a festival, I say forget about conspiracy theories and take a good, hard look at your writing - or better yet, get someone else who isn't your mother to do it.


Jacques E. Bouchard April 18th, 2009 02:24 PM


Originally Posted by Andrea Miller (Post 552414)
Please, have fun with shorts, save 50K, use your own money, but if you wait for somebody to give you anything, oh my god, you will waste your life, and please, do not bother coming back at me with TWO examples you know. what matters is the number of people who failed, not the TWO that succeeded.

I agree with your views on funding for new filmmakers, but not your last sentence above. Most projects (commercial or independent) never find funding. People have to BELIEVE they'll be the exception, or no one would ever make movies.

So yes, by all means people, offer up examples that DID get money, against all odds. We all need the encouragement.


Jacques E. Bouchard April 18th, 2009 02:36 PM


Originally Posted by Jason J. Gullickson (Post 555246)
It's really amazing, or at least it was to me that in the course of a month I was able to find a confident, competent cast and crew to shoot a film who were willing to work for nothing more than the experience and credit. I think if more people realized this we'd be seeing alot more great films come out of the independent cinema space and alot less dependency on money from people who's only vested interest in filmmaking is a return on investment.

It's not quite that simple. Great films come from experience, and you can only build limited experience by shooting projects over weekends with casts and crews that work for free. Eventually people expect to receive payment for their experience - directors and producers included.

However, I hate to see productions with inflated budgets. My last two short films were made for about $500 each, out of my own pocket and were both picked up by a distributor. I see short films that cost ten times as much to shoot in one location with one or two actors and list as many as SIX producers (exec., ass., etc.). The credits run almost as long as the movie itself. That, to me, has no right to exist because it drives budgets up by creating dangerous precedents.

Part of the appeal of filmmaking to me is creativity and ingenuity - how to get a certain shot, how to employ the visual language to tell a tale and how to stretch a dollar to do it all. A monkey can throw money at a problem, that's not filmmaking. So when I have to choose between studio space at $1,200 day, or a commercial loft at $1,200 a month, I won't take the studio even if someone offers to finance it for me - that's just obscene to me and it goes against everything I hold dear about independent filmmaking.

I think every filmschool student should have to take $1,000 of their own money to make a film and be graded on it as part of their curriculum. Teach them the value of a dollar and the importance of deciding where (and how) to spend that dollar.

Charles Papert April 18th, 2009 05:22 PM

This is slightly tangential but I think it should be a good reminder to all.

Once a recent low-budget shoot, one of the three EX3's we were using was damaged (possibly destroyed--still awaiting Sony Repair's verdict). Without going into the details, there was no production insurance in place and this created some disagreement about who was liable for the damage. It will all work itself out on this one but it should be a reminder that on a production where people are helping out for little or no money and bringing their kit along, there should be an explicit understanding in place of who is liable for damage. I will go further and suggest that production insurance is very important, but it is so expensive that I imagine that many short low budget projects forego this. In this instance, it turned out that having the insurance would have been less expensive...

To those producing, remember that if you "wing it" and mount a shoot without insurance, you are gambling, plain and simple. To those who go on low budget shoots with their gear even to help out their friends, be aware that you are doing the same unless you take steps to cover yourself. It wasn't my gear that was damaged on this shoot, but I had a good $10K of my own gear there and from now on will be adopting a strict policy on a signed agreement of liability when I help out people.

Chen Ming-Yu November 11th, 2009 09:05 PM

More is Less

Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst (Post 558975)

The author also makes a point that sometimes another million bucks actually reduces risk - if you can hire a name actor with that cash, and/or up your production values, your likelyhood of making your money back (and then some) increases. The risk goes down, even though the investment/exposure goes up. That's the sweet spot."

Yes, I was given the same information from a Hollywood producer. I am packaging a production in Taiwan that originally had a budget of less than 10 M. Which I had considered was a monstrous budget compared to the 2 M budget films we usually make here. When I handed over a detailed copy of my budget for evaluation (75 pages long) I thought he would say ' This is way too much'. Instead he said - "Your budget is too low .... nowdays 20 M is considered low budget. More is Less for investors." Good God I thought. But there you go.

Steve Childs May 10th, 2010 06:10 PM

This has been a really useful thread, thanks for this.

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