The Film Business

10 Tips to Getting Investors

In my workshops on indie film producing and at every speaking engagement I have ever done on this topic, the number-one question is, “How do I get investors to invest in my film project?” I got asked the question so often that I sat down and wrote a short booklet that focused solely on this question. I came up with valuable tips. Here is a brief summary of the booklet:

Photo by Mark Strozier

1. Mine your own network of people. Call everyone you know and tell them exactly what you are doing – and make a request!

2. Do more networking. Go to events and get to know more people and tell them what you are up to (be clear, brief, and specific).

3. Find other great people who can help you. Have friends and colleagues introduce you to potential investors, get to know them and see if they are interested in reading your business plan package.

4. Offer a bonus: an executive producer credit. Offer this credit on a single card in the main titles and on the DVD cover and poster to people who buy and/or sell a larger number of units (i.e., our number was six units). Many people who are looking to start their own film company really liked this opportunity.

5. Credibility is key: partner up . . . way up. If this is your first film or if you are moving into a bigger budget arena and have done only low-budget films, team up with a powerful partner. Having a partner who has more experience and more credibility will help give potential investors a better feeling of security.

6. Hold a fantastic sales presentation. Have some of your team/key attachments there if possible: for example, your director, line producer, DP, or anyone on your team with great credits.

7. Talent means money. If you can get talent on board early, that is great. But make sure the talent is worth something from a domestic and/or international sales point of view. Always check names that you are considering with a sales agent to get a sense of whether they are really going to help sell your film when the time comes.

8. Buy a unit yourself. It really means a lot to investors that you have invested in your own film. (Buying just one unit is fine.)

9. Get educated on state and provincial incentives. And think globally. It’s important to know all of the state and provincial incentives. It can save you a lot of money and it’s great information to include in your business plan. And remember that there is a lot of money out there in the world. My first few films ($5 to $10 million) were coproductions with different countries. It may mean teaming up with a producing partner in another country but this is well worth it if it means getting your movie made.

10. Talk to sales agents. Ask if they know anyone who might be interested in investing in films or if they themselves are interested in buying units. One of our sales agents was interested in purchasing two units on one of our films.

Excerpt from Indie Film Producing: The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking by Suzanne Lyons © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Routledge authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.