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Adam Orton

How do I get funding?

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So I have a killer, feature length script that I believe can be done for a relatively low amount of money ($20-30k).

 

I plan on shooting in a state that isn't very familiar with the film business, and I want to do this as an cheap independent feature shot on digital with non-union crew and actors.

 

Obviously this would be treated as an investment opportunity, but most investors I'd be dealing with are more familiar with stocks and bonds...not movies. How do I convince them I can return a profit? How do I return a profit? (have fun answering that one)

 

Where do I find investors who are interested in independent film?

 

Most of the experience I've had has been financed through school, my relatives, or on my own, so I'm really in the dark about this.

 

I guess this post is more of a "how to break into the indie biz" question more than anything, but any advice you guys have to help would be great. (My problem is probably that I just need a really good producer. So how do I do that :-) )

Edited by Adam Orton

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All I can offer is that in most places, soliciting investment is subject to legal controls concerning, at the very least, what sort of entity you are, how you present yourself and your project, how you account for the money involved and how you plan to pay your investors back.

 

It is overwhelmingly likely you won't make more than a tiny amount of your money back, making no profit at all. Since you will probably be required to disclose this to your "investors", it can be extremely difficult to make films using private finance unless you have high profile people involved, hence the term "bankable star".

 

Sorry, this usually doesn't work.

 

P

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I had a friend who made a feature for $35,000 or so. Shot on miniDV (XL1), actually flew some people in from Los Angeles to shoot in OK for some reason. It wasn't bad. Very bare but decent production values, DP'd/directed/edited himself, etc. etc.

 

 

Anyway, he told me that to fund it, he threw a party, invited friends and family, and just hit everyone up for around $500 apiece.

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So I have a killer, feature length script that I believe can be done for a relatively low amount of money ($20-30k).

 

I plan on shooting in a state that isn't very familiar with the film business, and I want to do this as an cheap independent feature shot on digital with non-union crew and actors.

 

Obviously this would be treated as an investment opportunity, but most investors I'd be dealing with are more familiar with stocks and bonds...not movies. How do I convince them I can return a profit? How do I return a profit? (have fun answering that one)

 

Where do I find investors who are interested in independent film?

 

Most of the experience I've had has been financed through school, my relatives, or on my own, so I'm really in the dark about this.

 

I guess this post is more of a "how to break into the indie biz" question more than anything, but any advice you guys have to help would be great. (My problem is probably that I just need a really good producer. So how do I do that :-) )

 

Richard Boddington (the wealthy and tasty Canadian) has achieved the best results in this category of any of us. While there are more than a few ways to make money in "the biz", he's got a proven product that he humped from soup to nuts. He'll respond to PMs. Consider doing a search on his name. He shared every step of the project with us. It's a good read and very informative. His posts include references and links to useful stuff.

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The fund-raising party works well on occasion; but it also costs you money. Sadly, though, chances are there will be a large balance on your credit cards after the shoot.

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No I was more thinking of getting my dad's band to play. But I'd feel bad not paying them. I can sing if you really want me to tho, except that's prolly not the case. :huh:

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I would invest in your movie, I don't think it would be more that $500 as I'd be experminenting with movie investment. But at least it'd be something.

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I'd suggest picking up a copy of Film and Video Financing by Michael Wiese. It'll introduce you to the basics of acceptable business practices. It, like any book on the subject, frequently will leave you with more questions than answers, but the reason for that is that there's no one way to do it, and what works one time may not work a second time. The producers who are successful at putting together financing over careers are invariably very intelligent and adaptable people (despite what we think of them) who are capable of navigating uncharted waters on every project.

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I'd suggest picking up a copy of Film and Video Financing by Michael Wiese. It'll introduce you to the basics of acceptable business practices.

 

acceptable business practices 20 years ago...

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Go to strip clubs...

 

It's a true but funny story, but I know someone that met a potential investor in the strip club...

 

But weird stories aside, get legit (LLC etc,) get an attorney, and find the rich...

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I'm asking this, cause the poster and I work together.

 

Anyway, my question was about legal documents. Do we need to get a lawyer or can we make or find legal documents that insure us that ppl who give us money can not sue us later if they don't make a profit? So let's say that someone gives us 10 grand and we only make him 9 grand back, then we need to have him sign some document that states that he can not in any way sue us for not making money in return. Where would we find a document like this? And do we need a lawyer to do this kind of transaction?

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What I'm thinking we're going to do is open an LLC then allow people to contribute in exchange for a percentage of ownership. We'd be asking for investments in the area of 500-1000 dollars each...nothing that might get us into too much trouble from any single person. And we'd ask people we already know who we have good relationships with. I've actually got some experience and help with the legal part of all this...my father-in-law owns a successful LLC that does its business primarily on the internet.

 

Aside from the challenges of making a kick-butt independent film, what are some DIY marketing strategies? Or, should we just rely on the hope that its going to be good movie? I mean, theoretically, if any movie is good enough, the audience will find it, right? I suppose this is just to reassure investors or something. I'm just curious what all of your opinions are.

 

Anyway, thanks for the advice so far. I'm definitely going to check out that book! Maybe go to the strip club too :-)

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I'm asking this, cause the poster and I work together.

 

Anyway, my question was about legal documents. Do we need to get a lawyer or can we make or find legal documents that insure us that ppl who give us money can not sue us later if they don't make a profit? So let's say that someone gives us 10 grand and we only make him 9 grand back, then we need to have him sign some document that states that he can not in any way sue us for not making money in return. Where would we find a document like this? And do we need a lawyer to do this kind of transaction?

 

I might not have told you this earlier but I actually have some legal advice I'm planning on discussing this with.

But thanks for asking for me anyway :-) You just keep hitting up your family for some cash :-)

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Get a producer.

 

I got a producer for a short I'm doing soon as writer/ director. She's trying to get me $40k from investors. Don't go to just one investor, look for multiple producers to give you smaller amounts.

 

If you say you can't do it, I'm a 20 year old second year college student. I didn't have a script, just a treatment for a script.

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I might not have told you this earlier but I actually have some legal advice I'm planning on discussing this with.

But thanks for asking for me anyway :-) You just keep hitting up your family for some cash :-)

 

Oh yeah I forgot you told me that yesterday. Sweet. :)

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Get a producer.

 

I got a producer for a short I'm doing soon as writer/ director. She's trying to get me $40k from investors. Don't go to just one investor, look for multiple producers to give you smaller amounts.

 

If you say you can't do it, I'm a 20 year old second year college student. I didn't have a script, just a treatment for a script.

 

Nice! Yeah, we're looking for a real producer as well. Do you have any advice there?

Edited by Adam Orton

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To get a real producer, you'll need to get a real script and also you'll need to get real serious. Also cross replying here to each other makes you appear juvenile. Just hope your prospective producer dosn't find this thread

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If you are serious about this, you will have to get legal help at some point. If you are sued at any point by one of your backers and don't have airtight paperwork, you will lose the case. A lawyer's job in that case would be to find any and all holes in your paperwork and lawyers are good at it, especially when it means money.

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To get a real producer, you'll need to get a real script and also you'll need to get real serious. Also cross replying here to each other makes you appear juvenile. Just hope your prospective producer dosn't find this thread

 

Oh, I just have to get serious about it? Wow, I should have been trying that all along. What with the 50+ grand I've put into my film education and all...I'm glad to know I wasn't 'serious' before.

 

Seriously, if you have no real constructive advice, why waste the time to post on this thread? (I apologize if I'm misinterpreting your tone.)

 

Also, the cross-posting was never intentional. I did it because a friend asked a question that made me look like as if I was completely clueless (or "juvenile", as you call it) to the LLC legal process -- so I had to address it.

 

I would hope my prospective producer would choose a writer/director based on the script, director reel, and experience... not some comments on a forum.

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