What you will learn:
- Illustrating the films you plan to create
- What to say to film investors
- How the film industry works
- Understanding where your company and films fit in the film industry
- How to talk to film investors
This area of the film business plan dives deeper into the film or films you are pursuing.
The Right to Know
As a future partner, the investor has the right to know with some level of detail what it is you are trying to make. Just saying, “it’s a movie” isn’t enough. You’ll want to give them a clear if not accurate portrayal of the project you are planning to create in order for the investor to make an informed decision. Communicating with ambiguous responses to your investors questions will leave them frustrated. If they ask you, “what type of films do you plan to make?” and your response is, “Good ones”. Is that really going to convince the investor to pull out their check book? I don’t think so.
A lot of filmmakers are afraid their ideas will be stolen which is why they leave out a lot of details about it. It’s no wonder why nobody will want to finance it. Nobody in their right mind will ever give a stranger their hard earned money (even if their wealthy) to someone who just says, “My movie will be awesome, it’ll be a guaranteed box office hit. Trust me, this is a great investment.”
Now I have heard horror stories of filmmakers who revealed their ideas in detail, only to find their ideas stolen by someone else. So, it’s up to you to do your due diligence and find trustworthy investors before spilling out details about your films.
Your goal as a filmmaker is to provide enough solid information to estimate revenues and give the investor a real opportunity to agree or disagree with your projected forecast of the potential success of your film.
The objective of the Films section is to provide enough information of all the essential areas without going into too much detail.
Within a paragraph or two, write a synopsis that tells enough of the story and genre of the film you plan to create.
Typically, you’ll want to protect yourself anyway you can from possible theft of your ideas. Now you can’t copyright ideas but you can copyright your project. Most writers register their scripts with the Writers Guild of America (or Canada). Doing this proves that your story existed as of a particular date, and you can feel free to give it to others. But, do keep in mind that simply registering your script will not prevent theft; it simply helps you prove ownership in the event of theft.
Here’s a quick quote from Michael Donaldson, in his book Clearance and Copyright, says:
Copyright law only protects “expression of an idea that is fixed in a tangible form.” This means that written words are protectable; the ideas behind them aren’t. You can’t copy something that is just an idea in the air.
Attachments and their value
To further advance the value of your project, include well-known actors, sets or things who are attached to the project that may help convince the investor to invest. Look at every aspect of your project for any perceived value it may have that can influence an investors decision to want to invest.
Breakdown the script and calculate the entire amount. A paragraph or two is normally enough to state the size of the budget.
Too much is too much
The goal of your film business plan is to have potential investors read your proposal with enough information to make an informed decision without making your business plan weigh ten pounds that includes every bit of detail about your project. Keep it as concise and clear as possible.
Strengths & Weaknesses
It’s a very good idea to point out all the strengths including weaknesses of your company. Don’t shy away from pointing out the weaknesses. Your investors are not stupid and if problems arise during production, they’ll discover those weaknesses inevitably. So, being upfront about it may actually prove to be more worthwhile and your investor may be able to provide additional assistance.
At the same time, let your strengths outperform your weaknesses. Point out valuable skills, experience or history among your team.
When discussing the motion picture Industry, keep in mind that each area of film distribution is a separate industry in itself. For example, DVD, cable, pay-per-view, the internet, the domestic and foreign markets. All these areas affect your business plan in terms of their potential revenue source.
When writing your plan, think about what your prospective investor wants to know, for example:
- How does the film industry work?
- What is the future of the industry?
- What role will my company play in the industry?
Always assume the investor your speaking with has no previous knowledge of the industry. Things are constantly changing and you want to make sure you and the investor are on the same page at all times.