by Milos Itic on January 27, 2011
Do Independent Filmmakers make any money! The main way to make money out of filmmaking is by selling it onscreen or on dvd. However, getting the films noticed and accepted by a distributor is very hard. Finding a company or individual to invest in your project can be a lengthy process
The formal way to raise money is to make a script proposal: A short synopsis of the story, budget for the movie, the backgrounds of the people making the movie and a time line and how any income from selling the movie will be distributed – who gets what percentage and when.
Most raise their money personally. Either by saving over time or taking out personal loans. Obviously this isn’t ideal – as you will probably end up out of pocket.
They are many fund raising sites like Indiegogo, KickStarter, RocketHub and many others, but actually if you don’t know anyone personally it’s been difficult to find even one dollar for your movie. Fundraisers are a great, and often fun, and often impossible way to make money for your film.
Another way to raise money is already have determined product placement. You can go to a handbag retail business and ask them to sponsor your film if you will use one of their handbags in the film. Then you do furniture, clothing, vehicles, cell phones, etc.
The best way to raise money for an independent film is to not spend money in the first place. Get actors to act for free or for a percentage of profits. Everybody who likes the movies will volunteer for free. The most expensive item sometimes is food.
A novel way and Ed Wood way to finance an independent film is to charge people money to participate in the film. After all their blood, sweat and tears, at the end of the project they get a producer credit in the film, and they own a percentage of any profits that the film makes.
Start the fundraising process!!!
- Raising finance for independent productions is getting increasingly difficult, with both international sales and television licenses generating less revenue than before. In these market conditions, most independent producers have to give away most of their potential upside in order to get their film financed.
Financing Independent films is becoming more difficult with loans from the banks.
Once you decide on a project, it is imperative that you immediately choose your distribution platform (i.e. film, television or cable) and not wait until after the project is shot. This decision not only effects your budget, but it effects your equipment list and shooting plans. The next step is to memorize your distribution plan, which will become part of the pitch to your investors. This means that you will have to do research. You will need to find out the requirements for gaining distribution whether it be through a major, mini-major, independent studio, television or cable station. It is also a good idea to find out what type of films are regularly acquired by your potential distributor. By showing an investor a concise and detailed game plan along with enthusiasm, you will make them feel more comfortable in investing in your project.
The most obvious choice for famous filmmaker is industry financing. For example, there are studio development production deals, independent distributor financing, talent agency financing, end-user financing, and completion funds.
End-User financing is when a theater, cable or television station will put up money in exchange for equity percentage participation in the film’s revenue stream for specific markets. This method is very similar to pres-ale financing. With pres-ale financing, the end-user does not put up any money until after the film is delivered.
However, there are many other ways filmmakers fund their film — through grants from foundations (especially for documentaries and educational films/videos), individual and/or corporate investors, and, very often, out of their own meager pockets.
You will need to give them something to see. So create a video trailer of your idea. Why? That’s simple: because 99% of people need something visual to represent an idea.
One of the most difficult parts of pre-production is determining where your funding will come from. “Who can I get to do this for free?”
Many companies are willing to donate “samples” in return for a “thank you” in your credits. Try special effects companies, video and film manufacturers and anything else you may need. It never hurts to ask, and all it takes is a quick email.
Really, the most important thing to remember in the process is to keep trying. You may have to hold 3 or 4 presentation parties before you find your ideal backer/s, but don’t give up! Don’t get discouraged and remember that every little bit that is donated is that much you won’t be donating yourself!