Financing / Crowdfunding : Writing a Film Investment Package by Lauran Childs

Lauran Childs

Writing a Film Investment Package

I'm putting together a film investment package to fund my movie 'Killer Eyes' and am finding it daunting - any suggestions how to make it less so? Frankly I hardly know how to start estimating all the costs of making a movie. I've read the classic books on this and even have an example of a film budget on hand by someone I know, but I don't really know where to start. Thanks!

Lauran Childs

PS - The movie is

Regina Lee

I don't know Maura, but I'm a huge admirer of her movie Winter's Bone, and based on that, I'm betting her S32 class is tops!

Lauran Childs

Thanks Regina!

Anthony D Paul

I'd say get a good line producer. :)

Jack Binder

Hi Lauran, A small error in your film budget can create a large error in your film tax incentives calculation, and a massive error in your finance plan. creates all of these for you finance and camera ready. 25 year major studio & indie film producer on films from $100k- $100M+ These are some of the stars of the films I produced. Best, Jack

Sadie Dean

Hi Lauran, very exciting that you're getting the ball rolling on your film. When I first started out on budgeting for my own films, I would cold call places (either locations, catering, crew up places, gear houses) to get basic rates. That would give me the general idea of what my budget would be. Here's a resource I went to time to time - they have some great info in here for Florida as well: Best of luck!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Jack Binder. This is Beth from the Stage 32 team, please refrain from soliciting within forum threads—that's rather frowned upon. If you would like to promote your services please do so on your profile page wall or in "Your Stage." Thanks.

Lauran Childs

Thanks Jack and Sadie - Sadie that's a useful looking list. Jack, I think I'm going to do this myself but I do think your service looks very useful to people.

Michael Fitzer

Hire an experienced line producer to take you through the process. Film budgeting is a skill you need years of experiencing honing. Understanding tax credits, union vs. non, and of course anticipating every possible scenario before committing to a number in a line item. I've been doing this for 20+ years and I still hire a great line producer to review and revise my budgets.

Lauran Childs

Hi Michael - if we had any kind of finance for this yet I'd do that!

Rodney Wild

I agree with Michael, hire an experienced line producer. It will give you the best idea of what the costs are going to be moving forward and will give you a realistic budget that lessen the likelihood you will have to dip into contingency budget when in production. If will also give you a better chance when it comes to getting financing because the numbers will look more like what people would expect.

Michael Fitzer

Hi Lauran, please take what I am about to say with the understanding that I want to see you make your film. 1) If you do not have financing in place, you may want to save your own money to hire an experienced line producer before you do anything else. It has been my experience that most lower budget indie films ($1M and under) are financed through a variety of channels and about 10% of that typically comes from the filmmaker themselves (sweat equity does not count). If you hope to finance this with 100% private equity you may want to rethink. As an investor, why would I put my money into something that the creator is unwilling to invest in themselves? For my last narrative feature I had a tad more than 15% of my own money into the project. For my next one, already have about 5% of the projected $1.1M budget invested with paying attorney fees to look over and approve the PPM, talent offers, etc. I'm not a rich guy but I do make my living doing this and I know how to plan for these necessary expenses. 2) Since this is your first feature (and by the nature of your question I assume you don't have a lot of above the line experience) (Please let me know if this is an inaccurate assumption), you may want to consider taking jobs on other features before diving into this one. Get into the production office as an office PA and start seeing what makes a feature production tick. 3) This is a really important point... What qualifies you to produce or direct? Again... Not making judgements. Do you know about E&O insurance? SAG residuals? Etc... This is a tough and very detail oriented business. Get to know it from the inside out. There is no shame in learning from the bottom up. That is the least you can do for your future investors, and your project. Gaining that critical experience on other productions will instill confidence with your investors, your cast, crew, and if all the stars align... Your distributor. I sincerely hope this helps.

Lauran Childs

Thanks Michael - good points. Actually last night I was reading an interview with Clint Eastwood and his son in Esquire and Clint Eastwood was saying that's exactly what he did - he learnt to direct by sitting in on movie sets when he was starting out. Thank you for your good wishes.

Laurie Ashbourne

Lauran, if you are going to do it yourself, rather than hiring a line producer, you have to learn how to break down a script first. Search for that and you will have an understanding of page count (not the same as how many pages your script says it is) how many pages scenes can be shot in a day, what crew and cast is needed per day, locations etc. This all feeds into your schedule which you can build a budget from. And as mentioned, you need to look at insurance, completion bonds, fringes, state tax incentives, union requirements, etc. It can be done for sure, but not everyone has what it takes just like not everyone can do their own tax returnns.

Lauran Childs

Thx Laurie, yes still haven't got very far with this - for various reasons. Have been breaking down the script.

Erik A. Jacobson

Sounds like you're putting together a business plan. You can put that together yourself. But remember, the first question from sales agents/distribs will be "Who's in it?"

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