Producing : Investing for a Short Film by Brian Bonardi

Brian Bonardi

Investing for a Short Film

Hello everyone. I'm currently in the very early stages of pre-production on a short film I wrote about a year ago and am currently going out trying to find investors for the short film. This would be my very first production as a Producer and would appreciate any tips or maybe even connections to Investors who would be interested in short films. I have a budget planned out and written that I did with a Line Producer this past October. Again any advice or even better, connections would be greatly appreciated.

Lindbergh E Hollingsworth

When the term "investor" is used it's implied there will be revenue generated, and the investor will recoup their investment. Most, almost all, short films do not make any money, and even if they did there's not enough to satisfy the investor. To make your short you'll need "sponsors" who will give a donation without ever expecting any money in return. These sponsors or other filmmakers can also help you make your short by providing services, i.e. deep discounts on camera package rentals, after hours/weekend hours use of locations for free/deep discounts. If you are going to go after investors, set up an LLC or LLP, and get insurance (definitely get insurance even if you don't use investors).

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Ditto LEH's comments. For me, you also need to 'flesh out' your proposal with a genre and synopsis of the story and who has committed to participating in your cast/crew. There are now a few ways to make money with short films but it is very, very challenging to do so. I'd also think about why you're making the short film. Is the film, in effect, a proposal for a feature? If so, you should have at least a treatment completed for that feature. Is the film to demonstrate what you can do as a writer-producer? If so, you should be working with a director in pre-production on the creative aspects of the story. Lots to think about. Good luck.

Allen Gandler

I'll echo the comments of the two posters above and add that seeking investors opens you up to securities laws and filing requirements. Not really a good idea to go this route for a first production. But it is just an opinion.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Allen raises a good point but I think with some extra care (you do the necessary research on the issues involved), you can avoid becoming enmeshed in securities problems. You might also look into Part 181 which is active this year.

Shaun O'Banion

I agree with everything the other commenters have said, but I'll go one further and boil it down: It's a short. Make a pitch video and get on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Seed & Spark and fundraise. Build a Facebook page. A Twitter page. Build awareness. Tell people what the story is and, more importantly, why it's a story YOU want/need to tell. Good luck!

Jason Kanjiro Howard

Yes, very hard to make money on short films. The best way to make money from it is to use it as a calling card for a feature film. If you can shoot the short and make it a standalone piece then you are leveraging it. Bottle rocket was originally done as a short and it caught the interest of investors to finance the feature. Yes you can use Kickstarter or Indie Gogo to raise funds. ALSO IF YOU MAKE A SHORT FILM, MAKE IT SHORT........5 to 10 minutes. DO NOT MAKE A LONG SHORT LIKE 40 MINUTES. The long short is unprogrammable. (By the way, I did that and it was a huge mistake.) The first rule of producing is spend as little as possible.

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