Filmmaking

Show me the money for movie making

I recently attended the Film Independent event ‘Where’s the Money’ (for making movies), and I wanted to share everything I learned. Then I remembered, that if you’re under 40, your attention span is probably about 8 seconds max, so I’ll just give you, nearly everything, summarized in a list. I love lists!

Advice on where to find money for your movie courtesy of:

Natalie Qasabian - producer, secured Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Common despite original investors dropping out, for ‘All About Nina’, also - ‘Searching’ with John Cho

Sev Ohanian - writer/producer, Searching made $75.5M in the box office

Seth Caplan - producer, 20+ production credits and an Independent Spirit Award

Suz (that’s me!) - helped raise $50M+ during her startup career

  1. There’s always money: the only thing this town is poor in is ideas.

  2. If you’re going small (under $100k), start with friends and family. Check out crowdfunding platforms. Inc.com has the list.

  3. If you’re going bigger, the story is more important than anything: director, producer. You’re not going to get the stars without the money.

  4. Let me repeat. The story will make or break your pitch. Rethink your lookbook: more script/story, less stars whom you’re not going to get until you have the money. Or at all.

  5. Logline, logline, logline. We’re all artists here, but read ‘Save the Cat’.

  6. 99% of independent movies don’t make money. To succeed, always assume you’re the one percent.

  7. No one invests in movies to make money. Try a tech startup for that. You’re selling adventure of a lifetime: attending festival parties, meeting movie stars.

  8. Do your homework: who invests in what kind of movies? ‘Cats? Here’s $1M for ya.’

  9. If your investor is not paying for lunch, will he pay for the movie? Due diligence!

  10. Don’t forget about actors with their own production companies looking for the next big thing.

  11. How about a producer with plenty of ideas who can’t write?

  12. Go where the investors are: festivals, hotel bars, Lyft’s IPO after party.

  13. For managing costs, look to practical and realistic directors, and tax incentives. Starting out actors will work for copy and pizza.

  14. Showing a short at Sundance et al? Be ready with a feature, because investors are watching.

  15. Don’t chase, get chased. Desperation stinks.