What you will learn:
- Think like film investors
- How to write a successful film business plan
- Writing an executive summary
- Define your company
Think like film investors
If you are looking to get film financing, you have to think like film investors, not as a filmmaker. You will have to put aside your ‘creative’ hat and throw on your ‘business’ hat. Essentially, you want to THINK like your film investors. You need to have all the answers a potential investor may ask. Now what would those questions be? A good place to start is by understanding how a film business plan is written. Why a business plan? Well, it lays out pretty clearly what the business is, who is involved and how they plan to run the business that will ultimately generate a profit.
Now, why do I say business instead of your super creative artistic independent movie that will change the world? Because in the eyes of film investors, that is what your movie is, a business, a product they want to invest in that will “hopefully” generate a profit. That is the hard truth. Of course, there are investors out there, who love movies, especially creative artistic independent filmmakers they want to support. However, at the end of the day, your movie is still a business, a product. And let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you’re serious about filmmaking and you want to turn this into a lifelong career. If that’s the case, you’ll have to start thinking about your movie as a business, like any other business if you want to successfully get film funding over and over again.
You need to start speaking the “business language” so film investors understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish in their language and THEN you sweep them off their feet with your incredible creative talent. But first, understand the business.
Now that you’ve got your business hat on and you understand your movie is not this fancy art piece, but a real physical product that needs to get funded and then sold for a profit like any business to continue operating and growing. Let’s dive deeper into the mindset of a potential film investor.
The Business Plan
If you’ve ever seen a business plan or perhaps even written one, there pretty damn boring and super long, anywhere from 20-50 pages. There flat out facts about who you are, what you are trying to do and how you are going to do it. Nothing creative or fancy about it.
But, the business plan I’m going to suggest creating is not your typical business plan. This business plan is designed specifically for you. Hell, you might not even show this business plan to anyone. So why even bother making one? Simple. It’s to understand the mindset of your investors. If you can understand every aspect of the development of your idea/script from conception to distribution, you will have a greater chance of landing that film funding because that investor knows you have your shit together. Any question they throw at you; you have a solid answer.
There are so many intelligent creative filmmakers out there who don’t do this part at all. They completely neglect the business side of making movies. They just believe they have this amazing idea or script that is going to make millions and will make everyone rich and famous. Or that their movie is for everyone, everyone will see it and it’ll be a huge box-office success.
How many times have you heard people say, “Oh, I just thought of a million-dollar idea!”? I know I heard it all the time. Ideas are a dime a dozen, there everywhere and not hard to come by. If ideas had any real worth, everyone would be successful, rich and famous. But, it doesn’t work that way does it? It’s not the ideas that makes people super successful, rich or famous, but the EXECUTION of the idea. So many people have ideas or a great script, but wonder why nobody is investing in their amazing idea or movie script. Isn’t it obvious? Don’t they understand? They say. It’s not that your idea or script is bad (maybe it is), it’s that you are not communicating it correctly, you are not speaking the same language as your investors. You need to spell it out to them clearly, so there is no misunderstanding.
That’s why creating a film business plan is a good starting point to getting your movie financed.
This is the basic outline of most business plans:
- Executive Summary
- The Company
- The Films
- The Industry
- The Markets and Marketing
- The Financial Plan
Write the executive summary last. Typically, investors will read the executive summary first, nevertheless, it is the section you want to write last. Think of it as the hook that pulls readers into the net, and it must represent the future outcome accurately.
After you have written all the other areas of the business plan (The Company, the films, the industry, etc.) you will want to create a quick summary of each of those areas as your executive summary.