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How do I get studio backing for my project??


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#1 Jacob Van Balen

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 02:42 AM

My project is in need of some form of backing to get some money or resources, whether it be lighting or actual money. We need help on getting that studio backing, or any backing at all, for our project.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 08:38 AM

> Replying to How do I get studio backing for my project??

You don't, and in any case, you don't want to. Only in the most exceptional circumstances (for which requirement you do not qualify) will big operations back anything they didn't think of themselves, or rather pay someone to think of for them. You don't go to them; they go to you.

And you don't want studio backing in any case. Any production backed by a big operation will be more or less entirely taken over by them, rewritten by committee until it has neither coherence nor originality; they will replace everyone you have in mind and generally take it completely away from you.

Sorry.

Phil
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 01:30 PM

My project is in need of some form of backing to get some money or resources, whether it be lighting or actual money. We need help on getting that studio backing, or any backing at all, for our project.


Phil is right in many respects. There are 50,000 new filmmakers out there looking for backing for their projects, what will set you a part from all of them?

Most new filmmakers make films using their own money, or money from family.

I might suggesst you read Robert Rodriguez's book, "Rebel Without A Crew."

I would write a book about how I made my feature, but, no one would believe it, Mr. Rodriguez's story is at least believeable :D

R,
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#4 Lana Loukota

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 02:51 PM

Right now I'm making a no budget film with friends, but we'd like to get a sponsor or something for our next movie... there isn't money in our families...
My brilliant idea was to start a business and get rich, then use that money to make movies, but practical application of that plan gets tricky :P
So, is there any good way for poor people to get funding to make a movie with sound, a camera, and lighting that will be quality enough for the cinema? (the canon DVR, church microphones, and shoplights don't quite cut it.)
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#5 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 03:11 PM

The best way to get funding is through "leg work". You've got to get out there, meet many people with money, and pick yourself up when they mostly say "no". I have a friend who saved up enough money to not have to work for six months in order to seek out funding for his film full-time. That's what it takes - no short cuts, no easy one line answers. It goes back to a joke I have about "how long is a piece of string?" There's funding in this country from individuals or groups of venture capitalists. Or you might find folks outside the country that think the script will sell very well in their country. There are production companies that have deals with distributors. There's post houses that'll do the post work in exchange for part ownership. Etc, etc, etc. It's all very individual and no easy answer. Of the four features I've recently shot or am about to shoot, each had money raised in a completely different way and none of them got the money without lots of meetings and lots of rejections. But, they did get the money. You just have to get out there and learn what you don't know and find your own way.
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#6 Josh Bass

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 05:01 PM

Maybe this is naive, but I ask, seriously: why doesn't anyone ever consider grants?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 06:41 PM

If anyone here knew how to get lots of money to make movies, they'd be: (1) out there making movies right now, and (2) writing a best-selling book on how to get lots of money to make movies.

When someone has the answer to that question, please tell me.
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#8 Jacob Van Balen

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 10:17 PM

If anyone here knew how to get lots of money to make movies, they'd be: (1) out there making movies right now, and (2) writing a best-selling book on how to get lots of money to make movies.

When someone has the answer to that question, please tell me.


Thank you Mr. Mullen, after reading this, I think you put it quite well. :)
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#9 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 10:47 PM

to answer the original question:

there are many ways to get into a studio most likely... one way is to find a producer with a studio deal. you show him your script and attachments and he loves it so much he walks it into the studio for you. another way is to put a project together with funding, attachments, etc. and it's so great that someone involved in the project knows someone at a studio and you get a meeting.

an A list writer who posts on a message board i frequent also talks about writing the killer script. not many people on this site aspire to that goal, but if you write a great script, and by great, i mean beyond amazing, things will happen. he says you could drop it on the freeway, and things will happen.

there have been a number of articles in recent months talking about equity from Wall Street finding its way to Hollywood, comparing films to widgets (high risk widgets). but there are gatekeepers everywhere. for scripts. for money. for short films. you have to do something extraordinary. and then, (smile), you have to do it again.
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#10 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 11:04 PM

why doesn't anyone ever consider grants?


Grants have been a wonderful vehicle for documentary filmmakers and many grants are out there. But you'll be hard pressed to find grants with few strings attached for narrative projects. In a lot of ways grants are commissions for a work, i.e. they'll give money to a project that has a message that the grant issuer wants to get out or promote. Grant issuers are often more insistent and focused when it come to content than say an investors. That's not to say that investors won't try to dip their hand in the making of a project (everyone wants to be a filmmaker). But with grants they'll want to make sure you include in your script all the key points that got you the grant in the first place and they'll want those points say in through to the final cut of the project.

Still, grants are a good suggestion and it definitely should be something to pursue if you're looking for money for a project - I would never want to sound like I'm dissuading anyone from any possible funding source. Who knows you might finds someone offering money that fits the content of your script.

Edited by Eric Gustavo Petersen, 02 July 2007 - 11:05 PM.

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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 11:38 PM

Obviously people do find financing for movies, but in the independent world, there is no repeatable formula that one can follow, no giant ATM, no slot machine that always pays. People seem to find a new source of money each time (partly because movies tend to be such a risky investment that often a rich person tries funding a movie once, and once is enough, so you can't go back to that well.)
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 03:41 AM

Jacob, care to elaborate on what kind of project this is? If it's a documentary or something somewhat philanthropist and/or truthful that won't need a HUGE budget. You can find grants and sponsorship from various non-profits.

Look around your area and see what's available to you.
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#13 Nate Downes

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 06:17 AM

So, is there any good way for poor people to get funding to make a movie with sound, a camera, and lighting that will be quality enough for the cinema? (the canon DVR, church microphones, and shoplights don't quite cut it.)

Ahem, what's wrong with church microphones and shoplights? Some of my best pieces were shot with just such equipment.

As for a camera, get a DP interested with his own gear. If your script is good, you should be able to get someone interested with the next step up in gear.

Heck, I'm sick of working for free, but for the right project, I'll do it.
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#14 rik carter

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 01:12 PM

My project is in need of some form of backing to get some money or resources, whether it be lighting or actual money. We need help on getting that studio backing, or any backing at all, for our project.

A few questions you will need to answer before anyone can really help you:
1) What format is it being shot on?
2) What is the budget?
3) What's the intended market and what is your distribution plan?
4) What ROI are you offering?
5) What funding do you have in place already?
6) What names are involved in the project?
7) Is there anyone involved in the project who has successfully taken a film to market and produced a profit for investors
8) What existing feature credits does your primary team have -- ie writer/director/producer.
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#15 Jacob Van Balen

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 01:48 PM

A few questions you will need to answer before anyone can really help you:
1) What format is it being shot on?
2) What is the budget?
3) What's the intended market and what is your distribution plan?
4) What ROI are you offering?
5) What funding do you have in place already?
6) What names are involved in the project?
7) Is there anyone involved in the project who has successfully taken a film to market and produced a profit for investors
8) What existing feature credits does your primary team have -- ie writer/director/producer.


1) MiniDV

2) Low and No budget, that's why we need help from something or someone

3) Anybody, we plan to use a free facility (WFTV) to get them from the tape deck to editing then to DVDs. We can distribute the film during the day by any means, self-selling, giving to a business for a percentage(CONTRACT) or selling to a business. We might be able to aquire help from the Mayor (she knows us well because of how much we fought for public acsess televison.)

5) It is possible for us to use the local High School and My own house, but other than that, we would have to invest time into scouting out more locations. If we can't find one I have a studio in the back-up that we can use, but it's exspensive for us $150 an hour.

6)What do you mean, the creators and actors are known around town, but we are unknown in the city (Portland.)

7) We have created a documentary before, but we have not yet taken the final cut to market.

8) The writer, director, cameraman, lighting, director, producers, DP, and Actors are only known in our town, sandy, but are unknown in Portland and other areas.
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#16 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 04:00 AM

2) Low and No budget, that's why we need help from something or someone


You didn't answer #2 correctly.

If you need some form of backing, then you obviously need to have some form of budget in mind, or an idea of how much things are going to cost.

Labor you can get for free if enough people believe in it and you have enough friends who are willing, but you're going to need to spend SOME money. Whether it be camera & lighting rentals, expendables and FOOD for the crew.

So, how much are you going to need? You have to know this in order to submit a proposal.

5) It is possible for us to use the local High School and My own house, but other than that, we would have to invest time into scouting out more locations. If we can't find one I have a studio in the back-up that we can use, but it's exspensive for us $150 an hour.


Same with 5...he didn't ask what locations you had. But if there was already some money coming in from another source.

:)

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 04 July 2007 - 04:02 AM.

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#17 Matthew Buick

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 05:03 AM

If people are going to work for free they should get a share in the profits from the movie.

Personally, I would raise money in part by working as a DP, Editor, Production Designer on other movies. It would give you a chance to meet other similarly minded people and gain skills in the fields you are working in. Then it may be possible for you to do the jobs you've learned about on your film, thus saving more money/ retaining greater ownership of the profits that your film makes.

Good luck. :)
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#18 Jacob Van Balen

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 01:58 AM

You didn't answer #2 correctly.

If you need some form of backing, then you obviously need to have some form of budget in mind, or an idea of how much things are going to cost.

Labor you can get for free if enough people believe in it and you have enough friends who are willing, but you're going to need to spend SOME money. Whether it be camera & lighting rentals, expendables and FOOD for the crew.

So, how much are you going to need? You have to know this in order to submit a proposal.
Same with 5...he didn't ask what locations you had. But if there was already some money coming in from another source.

:)


Ah, sorry. We have a budget in mind, I have it written down but I can't attach it. We do have SOME, but limited free labor, we have 2 free cameras, 2 free lights, 2 LAV mics, a boom mic, and a handheld, all thanks to certain connections from our teacher Ms. Scaife(she works at WFTV and has a degree in filmmakning and another in editing.) Since this discussion seems to have turned from Studio to just backing in general, i'm just gonna change to every type of backing.

As for food for the crew and other provisions and expendables, we have almost NO money for that, we can use the editing suites for free(once again thanks to Ms. Scaife) but we have NO studio.

As for #5, we have NO money except for mine and my friends TINY, TINY, TINY, bank accounts(mom and dad aren't that supportive, they want me to be a musician :P .) So in those we have about, hmm, 100.00 dollars or so... :(

Once we figure it all out, we will have a quote, but we can't drive, we can't walk, we can barely talk except for MySpace and the phone(yeah, i'm young.)

So do you think that we are more or less screwed and will have to 1) dump the project 2) beg for money 3) wait until we're older? I really don't wanna dump it because I worked on the script for way to long to dump it.
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#19 rik carter

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 06:19 PM

In order to get any kind of financial commitment you need to have better answers to those questions.

As Jonathan pointed out "Land and No Budget" isn't the answer people with money are going to be able to work with. Do a budget - you don't need to attach it here, you simply need to know the exact number down to the last battery, bag of chips and Band-Aid.

3 - "Anybody" doesn't do it. You might want you intended market to be "anybody" but that's not a good answer. "Selling it to a business" isn't a good answer either. Does a business that specializes in recycling tires need to buy copies of your movie? Does a business that tests water quality in Africa need to buy your movie? If you to find backers you need to be specific. You need to know who is likely to buy your movie. Do the research.

You skipped number 4. Why? If you don't understand the question this is a great place to ask for and get an answer. We are here to help you - not trip you up.

6 - What I mean is what name talent do you have involved in the movie. People are more likely to pay to see a movie with an actor they have heard of. If you don't have a known actor then just say so.

Jacob - you have a long road to travel. This is a great place to ask questions and learn what to do before you ask someone for money. It sounds like you don't have the experience to get a studio to back you and it seems like you don't have the experience to get investors looking to make a profit to back you.

In this case you are going to have to approach people who know you. People who believe in YOU and are willing to spend their hard earned money to help you. The first one is always the hardest - though the second, third and forth can be pretty hard too, if the first one doesn't make a pretty good profit.

So how about making sure you have the following things to give to people who know you:
1) The line item budget.
2) What your plans are with the finished movie. 3)
3) A short bio of the people involved.
4) The amount of days you will need to shoot and edit.
5) A copy of the script.
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#20 Josh Bass

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 01:37 AM

I'm sorry, I should have thought of this before.


A friend of mine raised money for a feature simply by having a little party with family and friends and asking for donations. . .somehow managed to raise $35,000 to shoot a miniDV feature. I know it ain't much, but it's an idea.
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