I am in the process of fundraising for a feature horror film. A creature feature to be exact. I have recently hired a producer for it, the script is ready to go, we have a crew, and now a great financial plan with excellent ROI projections for investors. given to us by our sales agents. So now I'm looking to circulate the plan and try to generate some interest. Anyone have any advice as to a direction to go with this? We want to add some named actors to the package to make it more attractive, however without money at the moment I feel it will be really hard to get the talent. I feel like it becomes a chicken and egg thing. How do you get attachments without money, and how do you get money without having an attached talent to raise its awareness? Brad Rego 221 Films, Inc
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@Brad, you're ahead of the game with a sales agent already!! Congrats! Any MG from your sales agents? Can't the sales agents make some film finance agency intros? Rhetorical. You don't have to answer in a public post. That is probably private info that you should keep to yourself.
Hi Regina, Thanks for the reply. We actually don't have a signed sales agent for the film, what we have is ROI projections from a sales agent we have a connection to. Slight difference, which makes a huge difference. They were able to run the numbers based on the script and genre, and what they would sell it for both domestically and internationally, but there is no partnership or agreement in place. They would be interested in selling it, but I'm on my own in finding financing for it. I got some interest from another bigger production company that said they might venture into a co-production situation but I would need to have some of the budget or named talent already attached for them to step in and get us the rest of the way. It ends up being a different version of the same story, if you have money already, we'll help you, but I won't help you get money. Its maddening.
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@Brad, ah, I drew the incorrect assumption from your original post. Still, if the sales agent is a friend, ask him for an intro to a major talent agency's film finance and packaging depts. Can't hurt to ask! Could really make a huge difference for you. Otherwise, you're looking for equity and trying to package with talent just like every other indie film.
You are right, it can't hurt to ask. Side question: I have been thinking of contacting talent and trying to get a package together, in your experience do you think it's worth it to contact talent at this level to get a package, or would it be better to list potential talent in the business plan and try to get money with that?
I would try both, as I could not bank on either one.
Interesting, I would have thought it would be an either/or situation. I assumed once an loi from an actor is received I would be locked in.
I would describe it more like a juggling act and trying to do both without losing any balls. Unless there is a "piece" that you have already locked. For example, if you have a direct line to Kevin Bacon, and he says yes, then you build around that piece. If you don't have a piece to build around, I'd juggle all my options until I find the piece to build around. The anchor could be a star, an investor, a director, etc.
As you said, it's "chicken or the egg," and neither is right or wrong. Have to try all options until something clicks, and then it allows you to build upon a viable first piece.
Ha, that makes sense. Commensurate with the budget, we have a list of talent as potentials, I'll probably start reaching out to their agents next week and see if I get some traction there. That's probably our best shot at building around something as I'll be directing, and even though it will be my fourth feature film, I don't have the name recognition that an actor would.
Thank you so much for the input, that definitely helps.
@Brad, would it be completely unethical for you to ask your sales agent friends to sign on? That way, your offer letters may be more appealing to talent agents. You can name-drop the sales agent. A favor is a legit way of doing business as long as you're not lying.
Not sure, its a great idea though. The sales agent is a connection through the other producer I brought on board to manage the production. So I don't have a direct personal connection to them. Its definitely something I will look into though. as I can see the value in that, and I think you are right.
Producing = problem-solving. Um, creative problem-solving...
Haha, very true. The other producer came on board to manage the shoot, but unfortunately I'm still responsible for raising the financing.
I'm a little puzzled, Brad, as to why you'd need to bring a producer on board to manage your film. That's the job of a production manager. You might want to start over and bring an EXEC PRODUCER on board with a track record, contacts, and experience. How to find the best one? Do some research on imdbpro and other sources of who the exec producers are on films similar to yours in budget, genre, etc. and contact them. Any "producer" brought onto your project MUST bring with him one of three things: talent (contacts), money, or distribution. NO EXCEPTIONS! By the way, one of the best ways to get name talent on your project is to work through a casting director. You'd be surprised how for as little as 3k to 5k upfront they'll sometimes be willing to line up key LOI talent for you.
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Hi Erik, what you are saying makes perfect sense, and in a black and white situation I completely agree, but this is a little more grey area then what I described above. I started out speaking with a few Ep's about the project and couldn't find any that would come on board without having some money already. I then brought on this producer who was willing to put together a budget/business plan, had produced several movies in the low budget realm already, and who has some contacts and connections to sales agents and distributors, however the stipulation is I would be responsible for raising the financing. Once financing is secured he and his team of PMs and ADs would managed the production element so I could focus on directing. Also, I understand that working through a casting director is the preferred choice for this, that they can offer connections that are really helpful, and I know relatively speaking $3k-5K is so little compared to the production, however that just isn't an option for me to pay out of pocket up front. So I have to try and do a lot of this without doing any up front payments, which means I'm mostly on my own. The budget for this movie is at $350k, by the way. I never mentioned that. I hope that makes more sense of the situation, and thanks for the input. Brad
Yes, Brad, that makes sense. Once you've got your package together you might consider posting it on Slated.com for investors to see. Best wishes!
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Ha, already have it on there with the current people involved: https://www.slated.com/films/67127/ Hopefully as I get more people involved, I can raise its score.
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Our investor group typically likes seeing names already attached, but so often talent wants to wait until they know the project has funding before making a commitment, so in situations like that, I'd shoot for a LOI (Letter of Intent). On a number of occasions the LOI has sealed the deal for investors... And hey, if your project fits the bill I'd love to talk. Pilar Entertainment Group is seeking films with a budget of $5 million + in need of funding. REQUIREMENTS: 1) Budget of 5 million or above 2) A/B List Director 3) A/B List Actor As well as Films Already Produced seeking P&A Funding REQUIREMENTS: 1) Budget of 5 million or above 2) A/B List Director 3) A/B List Actor 4) Sizzle Reel Email me: Brian@PilarEntertainmentGroup.com
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Hi Brian, Thanks for the info! I'm going to start contacting talent this week in hopes of getting LOIs, while I'm still looking for investors. That way I can start establishing relationships and try to attack this from both ends. I appreciate the query, but I'm not quite there yet. My primary function is as writer/director, even though I'm wearing a producers outfit a lot of times(got to love low budget), so putting packages together is not my intentions. I do have a script that would meet that requirement, but its more of something that I would be interested in directing, rather then packaging and selling. And although I have directed three features so far, I am FAR from an A/B level director, and this latest one at $350k would be the biggest budget I have directed so far. Thanks again, and if you have any need for <$1million budget horror films, on the sales or distribution side, keep me posted! We would love to partner with someone as we begin production.