Financing / Crowdfunding : My Drama/Horror/Thriller Film: One Year Later by Jeremiah Sayys

My Drama/Horror/Thriller Film: One Year Later

It's been over a year now working on my drama/horror/thriller. I've put together a few solid team members, but haven't drawn any interest whatsoever for financing. Had interest in some name talent, but with no financing in place was never able to get any further than that. Everyone that has read the script has given good feedback, even a couple of potential financiers, but nothing more. Going back and rewriting the script to try to bring the budget down. It's the only thing I can think of at this point. I've put in over $10k myself all going toward the business plan, budget creation, key art and other financing docs. It's been very discouraging at times, but I'll keep moving forward. Any advice or feedback?

Angie Baggett

Check for filmmaker grants- I've seen info posted about them on my Facebook feed. I've also seen something called the Horror Equity Fund, but I haven't looked into what that's all about.

Dan MaxXx

it's a long game. Plan 5 years. U already know - keep moving forward. Convince more Industry people to share your dream.

Vitaly Kozlov

As Dan MaxXx already said it's a long game and you already know it. Keep pushing and knocking at doors. Be super proactive, network. Its always a good idea to have a tight budget. Work with SA to vet your talent, your budget and your team. Good luck.

John Ellis

With key art and maybe a video of you and the solid team members, maybe a crowdfund (Indiegogo, GoFundMe)?

Vitaly Kozlov

Option one. If you can demonstrate on papers that you made money with your previous films there is no problem to find investors and funding parties. That is usually the deal. Option two. You can play with crowdfunding platforms like John already suggested and try to sell them your pie in the sky. Option three. Fund it yourself: mortgage your house, sell your jewelry, your car, max your credit cards or go through your friends and family. Option four. Go through private lenders on that site and smoke their pipe with up front registration fees. Lots of options. Really?

Doug Nelson

I see the Muskrat is still here. MODS - please slam the door on these guys.

Jeremiah Sayys

Option One: I've been trying for months to get the financial results from my past two films, but I've gotten no response from the distribution companies/"producing partners" I worked with on the films, which have led me to go down the path of retaining the rights back to the films. I'm currently getting legal advice on the matter. Option Two: I've tried crowdfunding before, but it led to wasted money and a lot of hard work down the drain with promises made by people and legitimate websites to help promote the project but in the end, just disappeared. I feel, if you aren't relevant in some way or have people that are able and or willing to back/support you through it crowdfunding won't work for you. Something I didn't have or couldn't find. Option Three: The past two films I made, I funded myself. Used up all of my inherited money to do so. And I have no family that support what I do and the few friends I do have that support what I do, can't afford to put money into a film. The so called "friends" I've met while working in the industry seem to disappear when I have my own project I'm trying to work on, but are strangely there when they're on another project and need help or a position needs to be filled. And the few industry friends that aren't so called friends do try to help, but are in the same boat I am. And I did have to sell my car to fund the rest of post-production on my film Of Silence. Option Four: Private lenders with loans are nothing but scams so I pay no attention to them, like Mr. Elvina.

Vitaly Kozlov

Thanks for sharing that journey, Jeremiah. Well, friend in need is a friend indeed, Know your "friends" and that wisdom usually comes by going through that strange thing called life . What were the budgets of your past self funded films? And what is the budget of your current project?

Dan MaxXx

I feel you, sir. Everybody I know is in same boat. We write scripts we can't afford to make ourselves.

Dorian Wright

Don't give up.

Vitaly Kozlov

Lots of questions. What is genre of your Woebegone? Did you raise any equity or its still on a script level? Have a LP, SA and CD on board?

Jeremiah Sayys

The genre is Drama/Horror/Thriller. And as I said in my post I haven't been able to raise anything. Investors that I've spoken to supposedly liked the script, but wasn't interested enough to invest. I'm experienced in budgeting and scheduling projects, so I don't need an LP at this point and I've talked to some casting directors, but the ones with connections with name talent want to be paid and rightfully so, but they still won't try to attach talent to an unfinanced project, because it's a risk. If the film never happens it could hurt their reputation and they could even lose their relationship with said talent(s). I wouldn't be able to hire one or SA anyway, because I'm pretty tapped out. I'm barely getting by myself, so unfortunately it's just me. I know all about attaching talent and adding value to a project yada yada, but that takes money and I've spent what I had with my personal funds to put the financing docs together to get in the position to look for investors. Everything that you've ever read about financing an indie film I've done, tried or couldn't afford to do. So, at this point what do you do when you have nothing left to put into the project yourself when you've done all that you could do? It's very discouraging. But like I said, I'm still moving forward and I'm not giving up.

Vitaly Kozlov

Maybe your investors do not want to invest with you bc they are not really impressed with the past performance of your last two films? And maybe you should put away that next 1,5 mill project on a back burner and concentrate on getting back your money first? You spent tons of money to make those films. Did you recoup any money? Domestically, in the foreign territories? I know from that post your SA didn't do well with your films. Who was your SA? Did you ask yourself why? Why it was a hard sale? Nobody care for that cast, story was too small, not so much for the production value? What went wrong?

Vitaly Kozlov

Jeremiah out of curiosity I just looked up on IMDB Pro at SA for your 280K movie. I did not see any of your movies of course but I think you could better than ending up in the hands of guys like Stuart and his huge catalog of 20-50K movies. And I know he took you for a ride and not just with marketing fees. I know you probably think you know the biz but sometimes its worth the time and money to build your team and to take that ride with someone (producers) who really knows how to package, who knows the world of complicated distribution contracts. Its not really a big skill to attach a talent with a hard cash in hand. And its not the only thing that producers do. Another thing. I wonder how do you package your films as a producer? How do you pick up a talent for you movies? Is it based on your likes, on what your CD suggested or your partner/producer offered or its based on the market intel, on what hot and who in not? Who was working with you in selecting your cast?

Jeremiah Sayys

The financial situations with both my films is a personal matter that I'm working on trying to get solved and I will leave it at that, because it's nobody else's business. As far as the performances of the films, everyone I know who have watched them, especially Of Silence, liked them. All the critic reviews on Of Silence were positive except for a couple that were mixed. The Legends of Nethiah got good reviews as well. I don't know what the producers I left Nethiah with were doing though. Distribution should have been a lot better than what they got. I had a hard time getting distribution for Of Silence, because it wasn't a commercial film. It was very experimental. I know a lot more now than I did back then, though, especially about distribution. And I wouldn't say I don't know the biz, I do know a lot about it, but I wouldn't say I'm an expert yet. I do strive to be one day. I didn't dive in, to make films, cold turkey. I did study the biz before I made my first film. And making those two films, I learned a lot more. I made a lot of mistakes, but I've learned from them and there's much more I strive to learn. I would love to work with an experienced Producer who knows how to package a film and get financing, someone I could learn from. I've been looking for exactly what you described in a producing partner for years. I've even contacted a few on here to no avail. I've went through a few producing partners, who each at some point walked away because they couldn't commit to what it takes to make a film from the ground up. I've just haven't found that kind of producing partner. I'm still looking till this day, so if you know of anyone please let me know. I would love to contact them. This is my first time raising money for a film, so I never put a financing packaged together for one, that's why I paid to have one put together for me. A Business Plan and all the financing docs, comparables, film financial projections, film revenue projections based on marketable talent, sales projections etc. I've had to educate myself on it all, because I'm having to go at it on my own. I have learned a lot from the financial package, though. And like I said, I know about adding value to a package, but I don't have the connections or financing to bring the kind of value I need to bring to a project as of yet unless I can find that person that can bring that value to it. But it's hard finding someone like that when you're a nobody. You can only move forward and try your best and never give up and just believe something will fall into place at some point.

Vitaly Kozlov

Sad but very typical story. Hey, everyone makes mistakes. Learn and move forward. About your films. Reviews are good but you need to get more traction than that. Did you try to go through the festival circuit with your films and get some meaningful awards? If your films do not have commercial elements it will a tough sell for distributors to get it to buyers. And buyers are picky these days. I am speaking from my own experience - 25 plus years is a distributor/buyer. You said you know distribution and still believe in your films - try DIY distribution, place it yourself to the different platforms, drive the traffic and see if people really want to pay to see them. That will be a good test. Re: producing partner. Its not easy. Its personal connections and usually years of knowing that person. And not too many people are willing to share it and recommend strangers. I know some producers and directors for 20 plus years. I distributed their films so for me that marriage preposition is natural. And even with my track record in the industry its hard to get into producing big budget movies with them bc I still did not achieved that level of financial success yet as a producer. But I know what I am doing and I am steadily climbing to that level with smaller budget producers and directors (very successful by the way). My suggestion again - forget your million dollar project, go back to a low budget film and achieve a financial success with 100K film first. Become somebody. I think its a more responsible approach and respect for yours and people's money. Makes sense?

Dan MaxXx

truth. I follow a low budget horror director, Lou Simon. She's made 3 feature films in 3 consecutive years. Won't be long before she jumps into 1-mil++ budgets.

Vitaly Kozlov

I just check her name on IMDB. Yeah, she is climbing. She is making 100K and less movies, has a SA on board and I noticed that list of distributors getting bigger and bigger with each film. Definitely on a rise.

Jeremiah Sayys

It's all about perseverance. I appreciate the opinions and advice. Good luck to everyone on their projects.

Sam Borowski

Jeremiah, DON'T get discouraged - it's the nature of the beast. A very wise man once said to me, "There's always another deal to be made, and if you're not willing to walk away from a bad one, this is the wrong business." I've had financing fall through on past projects, we all have. The key is to NOT let it beat you down. There are ways you can invigorate new life in your projects - you can submit the screenplay to many film festivals and do your best to get some laurels and awards on the script. Attach talent. yes, this can be dicy, BUT it can be done. Especially in the horror genre. In fact, I know some actors that are very big in this genre and willing to attach - if they like the script. It sounds like you've gotten good feedback on the script. Also, $10k IS A LOT to put in to your business plan and artwork without anything left over in the bank. All of the advice I've read has been excellent - STICK with it! And, if you ever want some advice - or to talk sometimes, feel free to reach out to me and I'd be happy to have a conversation. I'd have to know all the particulars - and I've seen some of them - to give you the best advice. But, as Dan MaxXx said, I feel your pain. We all do. I heard Martin Scorsese say that making a film is akin to attacking a giant monolith and it says. BUT, oh, how satisfying it is. Don't give up! And, reach out me, if you ever wanted advice. - Sam B ;)

Derrick Damions

My personal experience: Besides building warm relationships, data mind deeply for worthy sites on the net. eg: most financiers won't read but a condensed treatment the first couple rounds, have serval budgets, have an polished color emotive show bible, you'll hear no a few times then the financier hands ur script back 2 the readers. If its a sticky script you'll certainly get financed.
Authentic human Emotion sells it always has and always will.

Mark Sonoda

J - looked over you IMDBpro page on your project. A few quick notes, you need to trim up you summary it should be 2-3 sentences max and create a sense of intrigue. Also, on a macro level here, story wise, based on the summary, you have way too many story elements going on, that don't carry the project through. Good thrillers / horror films are rooted in worlds the people easily relate to or live in, and then suddenly one inescapable / unsuspecting event occurs that triggers action and story movement. Simplify the story, complicate the characters in the depth of their layers. Build backstory for these people and immerse us into a "slice of their life" and let their character quirks and personality unravel with the story. If you get stuck, remember this time honored adage of storytelling: "Meet Jack, put him in a tree, throw rocks at him and then get him down"

Also professional investment decks for films should be done by companies that have actually access to equity or have captive equity funds in place for financing. Money spent on development can be the make or break point of your project, but if you are not spending it with the guidance of a skilled, connected producer, might as well set it on fire and roast marshmallows over the flames.

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