Anything Goes : Starting a Independent Production company. by Patrice Francois

Patrice Francois

Starting a Independent Production company.

Hello All!! I was wondering if anyone had any advice to starting an independent production company/group? I basically want to get a group of friends together and create, but I've been told its not that easy and I should consider making an official business plan, and LLC and so on.

Lina Jones

That would be the best and safest way to go.

Laurie Ashbourne

You've been told correctly! At minimum do the LLC.

Charles G. Masi

My experience as a serial entrepreneur (with an MBA, by the way) is that writing a business plan is a good exercise, but you can get caught up spinning your wheels with it. It helps you identify all the ducks you need to get lined up to make any business work, but concentrate on getting those ducks in a row. The vast majority of businesses fall apart realquick, and its always the iffy duck that starts it unraveling. Committing the business plan to paper is useful if you haven't done it before, but don't expect anyone else to be impressed by it. So, the first rule is DO IT! The second rule is, when it falls apart don't get discouraged, but DO IT AGAIN! Finally, you need contracts (look online for forms) early, but you don't need an LLC until money starts changing hands. Again, you can spend a lot of time and money spinning your wheels over legal and accounting issues for a project that will never generate a dime of revenue.

Ashea Goldson

As a serial entrepreneur also, I have to agree with the last statement. Make sure that you figure out a few things first and at least outline your direction before spending money on the legalities. Do your research so that you know what you're getting into. Make sure that you copyright anything you create in the meantime, though. Then, if you're certain that you're up for the challenge and that what you want is more than just a hobby, then by all means do your LLC , business plan and so on.

Laurie Ashbourne

For filmmaking in particular, the LLC will take the personal burden off of you when and if deals fall through or hit inevitable snags. When shopping the material for investment and generating deal memos and LOI for crew and talent, the LLC will again take that personal burden off of you, much of this is done before money will ever exchange hands that is why it's crucial for a production entity.

John Charnay

First, get the right attorney and the right accountant.A business plan and an LLC should be among first moves...

Krishnapuram Subramania Iyer Nagarajan

I have a well researched story that can be made in to infomercial, feature for world wide audience tto leave a civilized world to our own children. I am looking for a producer. Every character has very impacting role. Every artist will get Oscar, get a place in the history of world cinema. It is Eradicate Malnutrition and those Causing it to awaken them democratically to the Law of Nature. I am 67, retired electrical engineer from ONGC, untiring reader, socially concerned writer. There can be three 3 characters that can become Hero to the film. Thank you, Yours sincerely, K.S.Nagarajan. Chennai, India.

Patrice Francois

Wow!! Thank you all for the great advice! Much appreciated. I think because we are in the early stages and most of the people in the group are new to filmmaking; lining up all of our ducks in a row sound about right... Would hate to go forward with the LLC and no one is really committed and/or is unsure of the business plan. A lot to think about...

Charles G. Masi

FYI, in case anyone cares .... To give you an example of how it seems to work. Last week I got interested in producing a short for the Philly film awards. I remembered a script a friend of mine wrote last year for a short supernatural comedy that could be made for practically no money. Yesterday I called him up and optioned the story. This morning I remembered that a VOD network that carries my Web TV series is hot for the paranormal, and wrote their principal in hopes of drumming up a small budget. That got my Director interested, and he suggested a location for the exteriors. His wife would be perfect for the female lead. Tomorrow night I'm going to a meetup where I hope to connect with someone to rewrite the script (so I can spend my time elsewhere) and some more cast and crew. I just finished the first drafts of a logline and summary and uploaded them to my Stage 32 page.... You get the idea.

Laurie Ashbourne

Awesome, Charles. More often than not, things align quickly when they are meant to be. Best of luck! And let me know if you need anything specific in Philly, I'm from there so may be able to help out.

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