Many filmmakers will tell you that the first film they ever made was in the home, it didn’t cost them anything, other than the cost of the film and a video camera that they were already in possession of. Even Steven Spielberg shot his first film using a Super 8mm camera. Oh, and incidentally it was a film of his train set crashing! Typical! It is really easy to find books and knowledge on basic film making techniques, just not so easy to find financing for film making.
It has become an almost scary mission to find finance for young or upcoming filmmakers, and ultimately everything is determined by the film making budget. Generally speaking though, when the film is in the low budget variety, as well as the idea is exclusive, you should not have too much difficulty financing it.
With that being said however, finding finance for a film is usually as tasking as actually making the film. You are going to need your own business plan to start with, so even before you approach one to fund your film making efforts, get the business strategy together. The business plan should include a film making budget breakdown, who the intended audience is, cash flow projection, marketing plan, synopsis, biographies and what potential for sales the film with have.
Investors to approach include both film and non-film industry investors. Non-film industry investors are typically speaking individuals who want to see their name up in lights. You could offer them a credit including “executive producer”, to get them keen on the idea, and you might even have a rich relative, say Uncle Bob who you could approach. The draw-back with this is that, they probably have almost no knowledge of how things function in the film industry plus they can make your lifestyle difficult if you film does not reach the Oscars. Film industry investors are groups of people who provide an knowledge of the Kia Jam, and finance film making as a matter of course. This can be studios, distributors, broadcasters or those who will invest to make money through the film. These teams of people comprehend the film making industry and probably won’t expect and Oscar, but will at the very least desire a return of investment.
Non-film industry investors include banks, rich family members, raising funds, and truth be told your bank card! Many confident filmmakers have tried their bank card to good success for financing a low budget film.
In conclusion, one word of advice is get a better lawyer, preferably somebody who has a little understanding of the film making industry, who are able to care for your interests. Film making funding is a reasonably complex process and you should know about your rights particularly in terms of signing distribution deals.
I used to think that the film students had a lack of interest in Film Budgeting and expenses (of any type). Not any longer. Recently i did a survey of film students with a respected film school. Here are the results in the survey:
Over 80% from the students said they felt it absolutely was essential to find out more about budgeting and exactly how it affected their careers as filmmakers. Film & Video production is probably the biggest industries on earth (next to ljlscd manufacturing, obviously). The wide spread usage of digital medium has established a new opportunity. That opportunity, although cheaper than the Hollywood style film productions we’ve grown utilized to, continues to be costly and needs financing. How can you obtain that financing? Where would you start?
Answer: You begin with all the basics of Film Budgeting, Cost Reporting and incredibly simple Business Plans. If you can calculate a center point, or figure out how to operate a video camera, a Film Finances are a piece of cake.
Based on my experience in the last 20 years inside the film industry, I can confidently say: 1. Graduates from Film Study programs who know the basics of film & video production money (Budgeting, Cost Reporting and Business Plans) will discover they are able to undertake more responsibility in their film & video projects, and 2. because of this will have more successful careers than their peers who haven’t learned to prepare Film Budgets, who don’t understand any production’s Cost Report and who never saw a basic Strategic Business Plan.