Jump to content


Photo

Film Funding


  • Please log in to reply
99 replies to this topic

#1 Andrew McCarrick

Andrew McCarrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Other
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Posted 01 June 2008 - 10:14 PM

Anybody have any suggestions on how to start getting my film funded?

We have a completed business plan (done by myself), which is not registered with the SEC (because we can't afford to.). We've tried getting some actors to send us letters of intent to include with the business plan, but that never worked out with any of them.

We're looking at a budget of 20 million dollars (which includes 10% contingency, and 2 internegatives and 4 interpositives + sound track prints.); I'm thinking we'll be able to make back upto 4-5 million of that 20 million with tax credit and rebate incentives from the states we're filming in.

P.S. I'm trying to stay away from studio based funding.
  • 0

#2 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 01 June 2008 - 11:04 PM

Anybody have any suggestions on how to start getting my film funded?

We have a completed business plan (done by myself), which is not registered with the SEC (because we can't afford to.). We've tried getting some actors to send us letters of intent to include with the business plan, but that never worked out with any of them.

We're looking at a budget of 20 million dollars (which includes 10% contingency, and 2 internegatives and 4 interpositives + sound track prints.); I'm thinking we'll be able to make back upto 4-5 million of that 20 million with tax credit and rebate incentives from the states we're filming in.

P.S. I'm trying to stay away from studio based funding.


From the mouth of Dov Simens:
"Want to make a $20 million movie, shoot a $2 million dollar movie. Want to shoot a $2 million dollar movie, shoot a $500,000 movie. Want to shoot a $500,000 movie, shoot a $100,000 movie. Want a $100,000 movie, shoot a $20,000 movie. Want a $20,000 movie, shoot a $5,000 movie"

In short, you need a track record. I watched one hot new director spend the greater part of a year chasing $12 million for his feature before he finally accepted that he needed to shoot a smaller budget movie first. Now he's trying to prove himself with a $250,000 piece. If he'd gone for that 2 years ago, when he began for the $12 million, he'd have already shot, cut, and gotten distribution, and would be shooting a $1-$2 mil feature right now.

You can have the best script in the world, and it doesn't matter. You need to prove to those guys with money that you understand them, that you know how to make a money-generating product, in short, that you've made movies! That's it! No big secret, no big "you gotta be a player" you just have to have a proven track record in the movie industry.
  • 0

#3 Andrew McCarrick

Andrew McCarrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Other
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Posted 01 June 2008 - 11:10 PM

From the mouth of Dov Simens:
"Want to make a $20 million movie, shoot a $2 million dollar movie. Want to shoot a $2 million dollar movie, shoot a $500,000 movie. Want to shoot a $500,000 movie, shoot a $100,000 movie. Want a $100,000 movie, shoot a $20,000 movie. Want a $20,000 movie, shoot a $5,000 movie"

In short, you need a track record. I watched one hot new director spend the greater part of a year chasing $12 million for his feature before he finally accepted that he needed to shoot a smaller budget movie first. Now he's trying to prove himself with a $250,000 piece. If he'd gone for that 2 years ago, when he began for the $12 million, he'd have already shot, cut, and gotten distribution, and would be shooting a $1-$2 mil feature right now.

You can have the best script in the world, and it doesn't matter. You need to prove to those guys with money that you understand them, that you know how to make a money-generating product, in short, that you've made movies! That's it! No big secret, no big "you gotta be a player" you just have to have a proven track record in the movie industry.


That means I have to start another script from scratch after this first one took me 5 years to write. And I honestly don't have the energy to sit down and write another feature nor even a short. I've spent all the energy I had on this one script, and now I just want it shot and over with. So I guess that means what I've been thinking for the past 4 months is true... just give up.
  • 0

#4 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 June 2008 - 11:31 PM

So I guess that means what I've been thinking for the past 4 months is true... just give up.


Awesome...the more people give up the better chance I have to succeed! :D
It's that attitude that makes people not succeed...it's not that the film business is impossible to get into, it's just that you need to be diligent. I can't guarantee that I'll make it but I can guarantee that I'm not giving up...that's success in itself.
  • 0

#5 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 02 June 2008 - 12:04 AM

Hello Andrew,

You know what Faulkner said about writing, "Where's my honey!?!?!?" No, that's the Coen's version. Sorry. Script writing gets better with volume. After a while, each one seems more like wild flowers than precious roses. Then, you can put the inherently expensive ones off and write cheaper ones to get you going. I think the BBC's writers are the most brilliant at getting the most product out of the least money. Around here, we'll spot a scripting device that was obviously a lo-budg work-around and bark out, "they BBC'd that!"

As I understand it from a book or two, the common Hellywood approach is to get some start-up capital from foreign investors, often Asian, in exchange for specific distribution rights in their country. Then, use that Mil or so to woo bigger bucks off of Hellywood. It's just stuff I read.
  • 0

#6 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 06:37 AM

That means I have to start another script from scratch after this first one took me 5 years to write. And I honestly don't have the energy to sit down and write another feature nor even a short. I've spent all the energy I had on this one script, and now I just want it shot and over with. So I guess that means what I've been thinking for the past 4 months is true... just give up.

I've heard all these words before, by the above mentioned writer/director. He sucked it up, and wrote another script, his $1 million one. Took him 8 months. Then he wrote his $250k script, took him 4 weeks. Now he's written a total of 8 scripts, ranging in budget from $250k to $45 million. It's taken him 2 years to do it. The more he wrote, the easier it became, the less mistakes he made, the tighter they became, so much so that he's now re-written his original $12 million script and turned it into something far tighter than his original draft I'd originally read 5 years ago.

If your attitude is just give up, do it. This is not an industry for the faint of heart. This is an industry of heartbreak, of pain, of absolutes. It is painful, damaging.

Have you ever been on a set? If not, I can talk to people in NY to see about getting you on one as a PA. Infact, you should have been the first person asking for such work.
  • 0

#7 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 06:39 AM

As I understand it from a book or two, the common Hellywood approach is to get some start-up capital from foreign investors, often Asian, in exchange for specific distribution rights in their country. Then, use that Mil or so to woo bigger bucks off of Hellywood. It's just stuff I read.

20 years ago you'd be right. However, the foreign buyers got burned by too many projects, and now will not fund directly, only pledge to buy if you deliver. Which leaves you still trying to raise the money.
  • 0

#8 Andrew McCarrick

Andrew McCarrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Other
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 06:42 AM

Have you ever been on a set? If not, I can talk to people in NY to see about getting you on one as a PA. Infact, you should have been the first person asking for such work.


Yep... went to a Preforming Arts High School for Film/Television. I've done crew work on over 20-30 projects, and directed two or three shorts myself, but we had horrible lighting and audio equipment, so the quality of just about all of the finished projects was horrible.

Edited by Andrew McCarrick, 02 June 2008 - 06:44 AM.

  • 0

#9 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 06:53 AM

Yep... went to a Preforming Arts High School for Film/Television. I've done crew work on over 20-30 projects, and directed two or three shorts myself, but we had horrible lighting and audio equipment, so the quality of just about all of the finished projects was horrible.

{{looks over at his lighting setup, three Lowes clamplamps and homemade bounce, diffusors and filters, then over to his audio deck, which was built in 1964}}

Warning, Minor rant, not directed at you, just about general attitudes I run across.

Something I learned a long time ago, when you are given lemons, make lemonaide. (double points for making lemon cookies) Audio gear not up to snuff? Focus on silents. Lighting gear weak? Adapt the shots accordingly. There's too little imagination out there in the world for problem solving nowadays. I happen to have the case of top audio, but my camera does not sync, so I shoot a ton of voiceovers. That's what you do! Horrible has nothing to do with the gear, but with those operating that gear. I bought a camera that the previous owner said was "total garbage" and produced pieces with it that look great.

Ok, Rant over.

A production high school in my experience (seen the people that came out of them before) does not teach you a movie set any more than high school musical teaches you how to perform Don Giovanni. The positions are there, but nobody there has the experience to pass on save the teachers, and they have so many students that they do not get the one on one lessons needed. I would suggest working on a full feature set.
  • 0

#10 Andrew McCarrick

Andrew McCarrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Other
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 12:21 PM

From the mouth of Dov Simens:
"Want to make a $20 million movie, shoot a $2 million dollar movie. Want to shoot a $2 million dollar movie, shoot a $500,000 movie. Want to shoot a $500,000 movie, shoot a $100,000 movie. Want a $100,000 movie, shoot a $20,000 movie. Want a $20,000 movie, shoot a $5,000 movie"


I would do this but I doubt I can even find 5k for a film. Plus, I have no camera, no audio equipment, no lights, nothing...
  • 0

#11 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 June 2008 - 12:35 PM

Audio gear not up to snuff? Focus on silents. Lighting gear weak? Adapt the shots accordingly. There's too little imagination out there in the world for problem solving nowadays. I happen to have the case of top audio, but my camera does not sync, so I shoot a ton of voiceovers. That's what you do! Horrible has nothing to do with the gear, but with those operating that gear. I bought a camera that the previous owner said was "total garbage" and produced pieces with it that look great.


I totally feel you on this one, my friend. You have to work with what you have.

I don't care for Robert Rodriguez but I respect what he did by making El Mariachi. Andrew should watch Rodriguez' 10 minute film school to see what can be done for almost nothing.

I would do this but I doubt I can even find 5k for a film. Plus, I have no camera, no audio equipment, no lights, nothing...


You don't need even 5k...take the key condensed sentiment out of your full script and make it into about a 8-10 minute short script. Save back about $600 and hire a DP who has a decent digital
camera like a DVX100A/B...many would be DPs have these and I guarantee they'll shoot your short with camera rental for a bulk deal of about $250. Advertise on Craigslist for actors but dont offer to pay them anything. I guarantee you'll still have so many inquiries that you have a good crop to choose from. Advertise for any crew this way too. For my last short I advertised for open positions for 2 weeks and in that time I had: About 40 actors ask about the 3 needed roles, 5 grips, 2 boom operators, and about 10 DPs ALL of which were ready to accept $0 in pay. Some had decent resumes too.

Complete your film, edit it, polish it, and go on the 2009 fest circuit. If you are really as good as you want to convince investors you are, your short will wow them enough to give you the financing you need to make your feature. Good luck.
  • 0

#12 Andrew McCarrick

Andrew McCarrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Other
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 12:43 PM

I don't care for Robert Rodriguez but I respect what he did by making El Mariachi. Andrew should watch Rodriguez' 10 minute film school to see what can be done for almost nothing.


Actually I've already seen the 10 minute film school, actually I've watched 4 or 5 times.
I really don't think I could shot a short from this film. Here's the synopsis:

Twelve high school students spend their first day back to school in a not so normal way. The twelve young adults (ranging in age from 14 to 18), are followed by a crooked, double agent of the J.I.A./J.S.S., named Diamondson. Diamondson observes how the kids are behaving, and feels they're perfect for a particular assignment the organization is currently working on. Unknowingly to the main agents of the organization and the kids, Agent Diamondson is the wife of the very foe (Dr. Spade) they are trying to capture. By not knowing, the kids walk right into the set-up and agree to join the organization. Their mission is to invade Dr. Spade's island, and prevent his overall plan from unfolding.


  • 0

#13 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:29 PM

Twelve high school students spend their first day back to school in a not so normal way. The twelve young adults (ranging in age from 14 to 18), are followed by a crooked, double agent of the J.I.A./J.S.S., named Diamondson. Diamondson observes how the kids are behaving, and feels they're perfect for a particular assignment the organization is currently working on. Unknowingly to the main agents of the organization and the kids, Agent Diamondson is the wife of the very foe (Dr. Spade) they are trying to capture. By not knowing, the kids walk right into the set-up and agree to join the organization. Their mission is to invade Dr. Spade's island, and prevent his overall plan from unfolding.


I don't see how it's a $20 million movie unless you've casted all stars. This looks like a $50-$250k, maybe a $500k movie, from the synopsis.

I've helped a few guys in your position before. message me and I'll see what can be done, ok?
  • 0

#14 Andrew McCarrick

Andrew McCarrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Other
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:46 PM

I don't see how it's a $20 million movie unless you've casted all stars. This looks like a $50-$250k, maybe a $500k movie, from the synopsis.


We're shooting 4k (Dalsa), with 6 cameras, half our cast is A or B list stars, 85+ person crew because of the amount of cameras. We need hotel rooms in 6 different states (40 day shoot + weekends), we're running a Digidesign Live Venue System (straight into protools) for audio, and DMX board/dimmers for the lights (which all scenes in the sound stage will be pre-lite before the first day of principal photography). Sure, we could ditch the excess equipment, but then we move up to an 80-100 day shooting schedule if we only use one or two cameras (script is 157 pages, which has been cut down from 200 pages.).

Edited by Andrew McCarrick, 02 June 2008 - 01:48 PM.

  • 0

#15 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:58 PM

We're shooting 4k (Dalsa), with 6 cameras, half our cast is A or B list stars, 85+ person crew because of the amount of cameras. We need hotel rooms in 6 different states (40 day shoot + weekends), we're running a Digidesign Live Venue System (straight into protools) for audio, and DMX board/dimmers for the lights (which all scenes in the sound stage will be pre-lite before the first day of principal photography). Sure, we could ditch the excess equipment, but then we move up to an 80-100 day shooting schedule if we only use one or two cameras (script is 157 pages, which has been cut down from 200 pages.).

You're shooting a 3 hour epic?

I fear that you might be throwing off the wrong vibes to anyone that looks at it.

I'm now curious as to the script, to see the budget I pull up.

Edited by Nate Downes, 02 June 2008 - 01:59 PM.

  • 0

#16 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 June 2008 - 02:36 PM

We're shooting 4k (Dalsa), with 6 cameras, half our cast is A or B list stars, 85+ person crew because of the amount of cameras. We need hotel rooms in 6 different states (40 day shoot + weekends), we're running a Digidesign Live Venue System (straight into protools) for audio, and DMX board/dimmers for the lights (which all scenes in the sound stage will be pre-lite before the first day of principal photography). Sure, we could ditch the excess equipment, but then we move up to an 80-100 day shooting schedule if we only use one or two cameras (script is 157 pages, which has been cut down from 200 pages.).


Wow, I can see now that you don't get it. If you can't make a movie without all of this, what good are you? Hollywood doesn't need more commercial flops or poorly budgetted movies. I have written feature scripts that I could shoot on 35mm for about 250,000USD total budget. If I had to, I would shoot my feature on 16mm with 1 CP-16 camera for about 20,000 USD. Napolean Dynamite was made for about 250,000 USD and it made $60Mil + at the box office.

To be completely honest, it's hard to take you seriously with a post like that. You sound like a pipe-dreamer who hasn't even researched what previous Directors have went through to get where they are at.
  • 0

#17 Andrew McCarrick

Andrew McCarrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Other
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 02:40 PM

Wow, I can see now that you don't get it. If you can't make a movie without all of this, what good are you? Hollywood doesn't need more commercial flops or poorly budgetted movies. I have written feature scripts that I could shoot on 35mm for about 250,000USD total budget. If I had to, I would shoot my feature on 16mm with 1 CP-16 camera for about 20,000 USD. Napolean Dynamite was made for about 250,000 USD and it made $60Mil + at the box office.

To be completely honest, it's hard to take you seriously with a post like that. You sound like a pipe-dreamer who hasn't even researched what previous Directors have went through to get where they are at.


I don't necessarily need any of those things I listed to make a film... It would just make my life eaiser and things would faster if I had them. The only thing I'm getting from current hollywood films is they're expensive and take a long amount of time to make, because they're not shooting as effeciently as they could be. Not to mention 90% of the films that come out in theaters these days are pure crap.

Edited by Andrew McCarrick, 02 June 2008 - 02:43 PM.

  • 0

#18 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 June 2008 - 02:47 PM

I don't necessarily need any of those things I listed to make a film... It would just make my life eaiser and things would faster if I had them. The only thing I'm getting from current hollywood films is they're expensive and take a long amount of time to make, because they're not shooting as effeciently as they could be. Not to mention 90% of the films that come out in theaters these days are pure crap as far as plot.


Well, I could drive faster if I have a Lamborghini but it's not in the cards for now. You have to work with what you have, not what you want to have or what you think even. The system is the way it is. I'm sure there are a lot of great Directors out there that would do great if given a chance but we can all use a growing up period. I guarantee that you are not as good of a filmmaker as you will be if you do some low-budget work and more writing. I realize how frustrating it is to work on a little budget but it really makes you more creative and resourceful in the long run. If you can't make your film now for less than 20Mil, you won't ever be able to make a LOTR type epic for 300Mil like Peter Jackson did. And if you watched 10 minute film school, you'd know that Rodriguez said not to just throw money at your problem. Work through your problem creatively. It may be the difference between you having a film career and not having one.
  • 0

#19 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 03:13 PM

I don't necessarily need any of those things I listed to make a film... It would just make my life eaiser and things would faster if I had them. The only thing I'm getting from current hollywood films is they're expensive and take a long amount of time to make, because they're not shooting as effeciently as they could be. Not to mention 90% of the films that come out in theaters these days are pure crap.

Ok, first off, if you think more gear makes your life easier and faster, you're in the wrong business. More cameras + more crew == slower. As I said, let some of us here take a look, after you've protected yourself, and then you can get honest feedback as to what is needed.

And Matt, I'll do ya one better, $12k for Super8!
  • 0

#20 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 June 2008 - 03:19 PM

And Matt, I'll do ya one better, $12k for Super8!


That would be glorious to make a feature on Super 8 with the right camera setup and DP. If I ever do make a feature on Super8, I'll remember to ask you if you'll DP.

Not to mention I love your philosophy and attitude...it's a marvel to me that you aren't already working on million dollar pictures.
  • 0


CineLab

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

CineLab

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Opal

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC