Hi Film Folk!
As Film Doctor mentioned before, part of the team are cooking up a feature film project. So, for those of you who’ve been scratching your heads about film funding, let us talk to you about money. Where does one get the funds to make a film? And, more importantly, what does one need to have in place before even making the first inquiry?
Despite the structural changes that took place in the UK film industry since the closure of UK Film Council in 2011, there are still primarily two ways of raising your project’s budget – go public or go private. Whatever the route you choose, you must have a presentable package of a project – a completed screenplay to start with. Other things, that would be attractive to a potential investor and increase your chances of getting funding, include having either:
- A low/moderate budget – and a breakdown of predicted expenditure, to show the investors how much you’d expect the project to cost
- Genre-friendly script (horrors, comedies and action movies do well, because they’re easily recognizable and packaged)
- Sample artwork to help visualize the project – e.g. preliminary storyboards of key scenes, sample posters – anything that would help investors picture the end product
- At least one recognizable name in the cast – or, if no cast attached yet, ideas or ‘wish list’ of names
- At least one of: The Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, are experienced and/or well known.
- Sales estimates – do a bit of extra homework and compile some figures that would show your potential investors how much profit they can expect in return. You can either look around for sales and box office stats for films similar (in budget or genre) to yours, or call up a few sales agents and distribution companies and invite the relevant person for a coffee chat.
Recession times might’ve hit the UK arts sector hard, but there are still some key bodies offering filmmaking grants. If you are willing to handle a lengthy process with extensive amounts of paperwork, then try your luck with the following:
Note: When seeking public funding, it helps to be an officially registered company – even if it’s just a 2-people team. Film Doctor have previously discussed the need for Plc creation in ‘Monday Prescription No.15’.
Now, this includes both individual investors, e.g. professional Angel Investors or companies that offer production finance. Private investment also includes sourcing out money from associates, friends and relatives.
Whether your private investor happens to be a City banker or professional media financier, they will all want to see a well-prepared batch of presentation documents, outlining your project’s financial viability and profitability – so figures, figures, figures. You’d need to show that you know what sells and how to sell it.
As companies go, key names to learn are:
Ingenious Media – can help match suitable projects (£4m + budgets with 75% of investment already in place) with interested investors (Ingenious Media acts on behalf of their investor clients). Contact directly to discuss any potential opportunities for your films. Past Projects Include: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Water for Elephants, The Descendants.
Goldcrest – currently only considering British-qualifying projects with preferably a minimum 80% spend in the UK. Feature films should have budgets between £1.5-10 million, of which 80% of the finance is already in place, and with key elements attached. Past Projects Include: The Iron Lady, Wuthering Heights, Revolutionary Road, The Uninvited.
Scion Films – part of the Scion Investment Group, has been involved in the finance, production and distribution of some of the highest profile film projects in the UK and internationally since its formation in 2002. Contact directly to discuss any potential investment opportunities. Past Projects Include: Atonement, The Constant Gardener, The Bourne Ultimatum, Pride & Prejudice, In Bruges, Senna.
Off The Beaten Track
Recently, a lot of first-time filmmakers have undertaken a slightly different approach to production finances for their projects – the crowd-funding route. There are number of platforms through which this could be achieved, e.g. Kickstarter.com, Sponsume or Artspire, Although you shouldn’t expect huge budget contributions from crowd-funding, this option could be very complimentary and an excellent publicity vehicle, if done right. It is also great for individual writer/directors and projects without production companies attached – as long as you know how to build an audience.
One thing that you must bear in mind when looking for film funds is that you can’t ask for the whole production budget investment from one source – i.e. if you know you’ll need £1 mil for your project, don’t approach investors/funding bodies with request for £1 mil. Make several applications, to different sources, asking for various portions of the overall production budget – e.g. £100k here, £20k there. This way you don’t ‘put all your eggs in one basket’, increasing the chance of actually getting any funding. Anyone who’d invest in a film is essentially taking risk (that’s just the way our industry, and business, is) and no one likes to be the sole ‘risk taker’ or gambler – it is always more reassuring when you know that other people have come forward as well. So if your prospective investor sees that you’ve already approached other financing parties, and maybe even have some funds in place (even if it’s just 1/16 of what you need), it would put him/her at ease and install more trust in your project.
‘Monday Prescription’ No.19 – There’s always money available for films, you just need to look in the right place. Mix and match your investment sources – don’t rely on just one funding option.Join us on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and sign up to our emails on the right hand side for articles straight to your inbox. Any questions/thoughts/experiences of your own??? Leave a comment below! Have a great week! The Film Doctor Team Check out our previous MONDAY PRESCRIPTIONS
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