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Raising money for a 10 minute short film


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#1 Darrell Abney

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 04:27 PM

Most short films aren't profitable, so I am curious if anyone has had any luck raising money to make one?

I am in the works writing my next short and I think I could do the whole thing for 2k barebones (with "free" friends helping with some of the crew tasks)

I plan to have the whole film prevized (I come from a art/vfx background)with every shot planned out and taking this to a potential investor.

I realize this question is probably asked alot. Raising money for a feature you could at least say to an investor that it might get picked up at a festival but for a short I'm just not sure how to "sell" anyone on it, even tho I think it will be very cool.

Thanks for any info,

Darrell
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#2 Dominic Case

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 04:42 PM

Don't expect an "investor" to be interested.

You might find a benefactor or a gambler - but an investor will be looking for a return on his/her money, and even for $2k, I'm not sure where you are likely to find any revenue from a ten-minute short. Unless you hit the jackpot.

And if you are fortunate - I'm thinking of "Harvie Krumpet"" the animated short that won the Oscar a couple of years ago - it'll cost you a whole heap more than $2K to take advantage of your success, before any money comes back in.

"Very cool" just might not be enough;-)

And if you do hit the jackpot, ask yourself why your friends etc should have worked for no money, while the investor cleans up.

It's best to think of short film making as something that costs you money to do - like a night at the casino, or ocean racing, or installation art.
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 04:54 PM

The only funding you're likely to get for shorts is if there's a scheme run by your local arts council/film commission/film board for making shorts. You won't find people putting funds in as an investment, because the chance of making a profit is extremely remote. Personally, I only know of a couple of shorts that have made a profit.
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#4 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 06:32 PM

"Harvie Krumpet"

Amazing short film.

Edited by Edgar Edgar, 13 November 2007 - 06:32 PM.

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#5 Tim Hawkins

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 05:49 AM

Your best bet is to go the begging and blagging route - call around for shortends and re-cans and see if a camera rental company will loan you a camera for free. Getting film students involved who have access to their school's equipment is another good way of getting your hands on stuff
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#6 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:11 PM

"Profitable" when used in the case of a short film is extreme hyperbole considering that generally speaking, short films never even generate a penny. Even using the term profitable implies that there would be income which would offset the production cost when in fact there will be no income at all.
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#7 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 06:54 AM

On the plus side: Think of how lucky you are that it's a film that you want to make. If you wanted to make a big sculpture in marble - just the marble would be more costly than your budget and even if it turned out "well", think how hard it would be to get people to see it - a lot heavier than a DVD, tape cassette or reel of film to tote around.

Oh and it seems that you didn't realize that there are more festivals for shorts than for feature films though all you need to call yourself a festival is a wall and a projector.

Even if your film costs 4k, that is not a kings ransom. Sell shares in it for $4 each.
Don't think about profit, just make the best film that you can with the resources that you have.
It really is more rewarding than drugs or booze because you have something to show for your investment.
Try not to make mistakes but make them anyway. Write and shoot another film and make different mistakes.
Welcome to independent film!
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 07:37 AM

"Profitable" when used in the case of a short film is extreme hyperbole considering that generally speaking, short films never even generate a penny. Even using the term profitable implies that there would be income which would offset the production cost when in fact there will be no income at all.


One of the shorts I know of cost £18,000 and I understand has earned around £50,000. However, it won a number of awards, has a known comic actor as the lead, has a DP who would later be nominated for an oscar, a writer who has directed an awarding film of his own and a director has also made further award winning shorts and now works in the industry.

However, these are exceptions and although both of my own shorts have had sales through a distributor, this doesn't cover the cost of production.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 17 November 2007 - 07:38 AM.

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#9 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 05:10 PM

Most short films aren't profitable, so I am curious if anyone has had any luck raising money to make one?

I am in the works writing my next short and I think I could do the whole thing for 2k barebones (with "free" friends helping with some of the crew tasks)

I plan to have the whole film prevized (I come from a art/vfx background)with every shot planned out and taking this to a potential investor.

I realize this question is probably asked alot. Raising money for a feature you could at least say to an investor that it might get picked up at a festival but for a short I'm just not sure how to "sell" anyone on it, even tho I think it will be very cool.

Thanks for any info,

Darrell


Some countries have government led funding schemes for short films. Some local councils have their own schemes. The problem is often the judging process, since... well, what exactly are the qualifications for who gets to decide on what gets funded? If it's government funded, are civil servants likely to have good taste in films? And even the ability to read a script in the first place and be able to visualise it, is a rarer skill than you might imagine.

I spent several years in limbo trying to get funding for a short film after my first short (which was nominated for an Oscar, and funded by the Irish Film Board) and eventually got sick of reading polite letters saying "better luck next time". I think part of the problem was my previous short had been animated, and I was more interested in shooting stuff. But the consensus is that if you are an animator, you can't deal with "real" people. Meh.

So I said fu** THIS poop and decided I'd somehow pay for it myself. I put a chunk of my bank balance into it, and my friend who produced for me put some money in, and I finally shot a live action short. Eventually I got completion funding from the same folks that had turned it down in the first place. The short got me representation with CAA, and... well, we'll see.

If there are funding schemes you can apply for, go for it. But the cold hard fact is, you can't rely on anyone else to invest in you - you gotta make it happen yourself. Otherwise you can get locked into a neverending cycle of "maybe next year..."

I've often heard people say "don't put your own money into your film".

That has not been my experience.

Save up, and pay for it yourself. Then you have total control. And if you have enough money to get it SHOT, you may be able to get assistance in getting it finished - if its any good.

Best,
R.
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:22 AM

If there are funding schemes you can apply for, go for it. But the cold hard fact is, you can't rely on anyone else to invest in you - you gotta make it happen yourself. Otherwise you can get locked into a neverending cycle of "maybe next year..."

I've often heard people say "don't put your own money into your film".

That has not been my experience.

Save up, and pay for it yourself. Then you have total control. And if you have enough money to get it SHOT, you may be able to get assistance in getting it finished - if its any good.

Best,
R.



Yes, basically funders won't take risks, so you have to be in a position where you can say I've done it. Putting your own money into a short film is rather like learning to fly or buying a boat, the costs are similar.

I've had put my own money into films, usually at a time when I couldn't afford it. However, filmmaking is a character in a story: it's what you do, not what you say.

If there are funders like the Irish Film Board where you live, completion funding could be a possiblity.
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rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery