Each year there are hundreds if not thousands of films made worldwide. Somebody had to finance them. For most creatives, looking for money is not an easy task. You have the script, now you need the funding to produce it. And that search is a totally different world from yours.
- Your business plan needs to showcase your screenplay and most importantly, the business factors investors will want to know, as not everyone you approach for funding has any knowledge of the film industry. This is especially true for documentaries and low budget films. You have to spell it out because they are in the money business and you are in the film business. Yin and Yang.
- Must-have elements of your business plan need to include; a Film Summary, Executive Summary, your Company Overview, pertinent Industry Information, Distribution, Marketing and Risk Factors.
Earnings to Investors, all Financing Requirements, and a plan for the Return of Investment Principal are very important to the money people.
- As mentioned before, Reputation is Everything. Investors will want to know detailed information about the director, the producer, the writer, their notoriety, experience, awards if any, and history in the business. A budget estimate for production and one for distribution, because ‘money talks' is also required. The challenge here is to write this section of your proposal on just a few pages. A two or less page overview is a good thing.
Busy people don't have the time to read your script cover to cover. It's important to give them a one-page screenplay synopsis that is well written and describes the plot points that are key to the story.
- A brief overview of the financial information available on the industry today gives the reader a better understanding of ROI and theater box office success. Target your information in the same genre as your script/project. Sources should include IMDB, Hollywood Reporter, and MPAA. Don't forget to include projections for future DVD sales and any associated production pieces like prop/toys, used in the making of your film.
- Your Marketing Plan should be a consideration when determining your overall budget.
Social media has a number of start-up sites that might make good mining for money as well as smaller theater chains and even some cable TV networks.
- In just a few pages, distribution or any resources you have already in place or expectations for future sales of DVD's and theatrical release will allow investors to be impressed with the thoroughness of your presentation.
- Hire an experienced budget maker, usually a line producer who has been through the process (wars) many times. Someone who can articulate the above and below the line costs involved in all aspects of the production process. There are many. From crew lunches, to ‘on set' nurse, animal wrangler, camera tests, location costs and a whole lot more. On average, a feature film budget can run between 100 pages to 150. It's that thorough and why you need a professional to make it. Once the overall budget estimate has been produced, a top sheet summarizing your project start to finish should be included. Only Production Managers, your temporary accounting staff, and producers will read the whole thing. Ugg.
- Finally, create another 2-page document that details an overview of your plan. Many investors won't read your budget but instead will buy into a well- written summary that sells both the sizzle and the steak.
That's a wrap.