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raising money for a film


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#1 Natalie Saito

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 06:55 PM

I have limited knowledge of the producing side of film. When it comes to preparation and paying attention to detail I pretty much got it down. But my biggest concern, probably everyone is this business, is how to get the money to fund/make this film. How should I go about raising money. People tell me that "the producers [investors] follow a good idea/concept.. a good story." I got a story that seems to get good feedback from different people. How would I go about getting funds/help from professionals?

thanks for reading!

--Natalie
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 01:12 AM

Are you talking about a feature film?

It appears you are a still a student and few if any producing professionals will invest in young un-proven talent. If you only need $20,000.00 you might find a partner, if you need $500,000.00, that is a different story. Some one would have to be either so rich they did not care about their 500k and like you a lot, or very sure that they will earn a return on their 500k vs just leaving it in the bank and collecting guaranteed interest.

The most important thing any director has when it comes to acquiring financing is their track record. No track record? Tough to find investors.

Many first time filmmakers find financing from outside of the film business from people that have money to invest. Experienced film producers know what to look for in a project, people outside of the film biz usually do not. I'm not saying you should rip off a doctor or dentist, I'm just saying they may be more approachable and open to your ideas as a newcomer.

If you're talking to producers just having a script is rarely enough, you need to bring an entire package to the table. If you can show people that you have the locations, actors, and crew, and all they have to do is write the cheque. It's much better than just shopping your script around town, as there are literally thousands of people doing this. And I mean thousands!!

Going to distributors for cash is pretty much a waste of time. There is such a glut of finished indie movies on the market, that your script would have to be pretty incredible for them to invest in a project that isn't made yet.

As a wild card you can post an ad on Mandy.com for free, and see if you can find a partner. It usually helps if you tell any potential investor that you will be putting in "x" amount of dollars of your own money.

When you say:

"When it comes to preparation and paying attention to detail I pretty much got it down."

What are you basing this on? Your past experience as a feature film director? If so that's fine. However, many students and young people usually vastly over rate their abilities. Filmmaking is wrought with pitfalls, and only experience can get you through.


R,
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#3 Natalie Saito

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 05:26 AM

actually a short film. $20,000 is common for senior thesis films at my school. When I said paying attention to detail I meant the tasks the producers do to prepare for the shoot (equipment needed, location/permits, crew needed, props, set props, wardrobe, casting, shot lists, scheduling, etc.) My experiences was to prep for the shoot and working on sets but I never dealt with having to raise money and budget films. I either worked as a hired crew or made super-micro budget projects using my own money. I will have a packet to show when I'm finished..synopsis/treatment, exact shot list, breakdown of the budget for each dept. and people involved/basically crew.

would professionals actually bother to look into investing "student" films..especially those that have no prior recognitions/awards under their belt?

thanks!
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:33 AM

would professionals actually bother to look into investing "student" films..especially those that have no prior recognitions/awards under their belt?

thanks!


Short answer, no.

Even if you only want 20K, how on earth will an investor make their money back? There's no money in short films. A few festivals have cash prizes for the winners, but it's small amounts, and the competition will be fierce to say the least.

All of the thesis student films I've ever seen made are financed by the student or family of the student. It's an expensive part of film school.

Grants might be a way to go? Looking for a professional producer to invest money will be a waste of valuable time, they are business people who want to see a return on their investment.

I've heard of more than one film student who has sold their plasma to pay for their film. At least you have that option in the USA, can't be done in Canada.

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#5 Natalie Saito

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 03:57 AM

I do here that at least many student films do get donations of equipment/film at least..I assume because the company wants us to be regular customers later on. perhaps I can strike donations or discounts with rental houses/film companies, etc. film is a business like any other field. I met a guy who got a couple grand donations on equipment because they liked his story; but of course he has a strong background in business which he said helped him a lot. I guess i'll have to see. thanks for your advice! -Natalie

Edited by NSFilms, 27 November 2006 - 03:59 AM.

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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 12:07 PM

All rental houses have student rates, so getting your gear cheaper than a commercial operation should be quite easy. "Free" is not entirely un heard of.

If you're shooting film, use re-cans and short ends, do not pay retail. Tell the post house you're a student and they'll cut you a deal on the transfer.

If you're shooting Mini DV, why do you even need a budget? I'm sure your school has Mini DV cameras you can use for free, a one hour tape costs $7.00. Editing costs nothing on a computer using Premiere or FCP.

I'm assuming as a student you'll avoid shooting things like a period piece, or a setting that requires an expensive set to be built. Write to what you do have, and work backward.

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#7 Natalie Saito

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 07:56 PM

Mini DV? in film school? I'm shooting 16mm color and b&w, not sure kodak or fuji. which is a better artistic choice? my film focuses on the visual interpretation; I'd need film stock(s) that can handle rich colors and low light. I heard kodak is better with subtle detail. which stocks would be good? thanks for reading!

Edited by NSfilms, 29 November 2006 - 07:57 PM.

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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 10:45 PM

The which is better, Fuji or Kodak, debate could go on for hours. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

Shoot a 100' of both and see what you like.

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#9 Nate Downes

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 10:46 AM

Mini DV? in film school? I'm shooting 16mm color and b&w, not sure kodak or fuji. which is a better artistic choice? my film focuses on the visual interpretation; I'd need film stock(s) that can handle rich colors and low light. I heard kodak is better with subtle detail. which stocks would be good? thanks for reading!


if you're on a budget, don't care about the brand, look at the cost, pure and simple. Check with the recan companies.
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#10 Matthew Buick

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 04:25 PM

How about Super 8, I've heard that in the hands of a Professional Super 8 can be made to look like 16mm, I shot a Kodak Vision 200T, and it was very nice, rich and silky is how I would put it.
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#11 Michael Collier

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 04:35 PM

Well seems like you have a few choices in film stock. Kodak and Fuji are very similar in sharpness, though kodak seems a bit sharper, though its a minimal thing. You need low light? how low light were you thinking? You can get by with 7218 which is a beautiful stock, but doesn't really have 'rich colors' (by which I assume you mean saturated color) since its a lower-contrast stock. If your posting digitally then that might not be a problem. You can turn up the saturation in post.

Also try 7217. It doesn't really do low light, since its a 200T film, but the colors are great. I don't have any experience in fuji MP stock past a little bit of testing, so I hesitate to comment on their stocks that might work for you. Test them out though, see what you like. The way you phrased is missleading 'which is a better artistic choice?' thats a very subjective question, and we don't even know the story. That will be an artistic decision you will have to make (since your the artist) testing can be fun too, and will tell you alot about the stocks you want to use (make sure and abuse the exposures when you test so you can find the limits)
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