Film Financing Today: The Best Way to Make a Profit with your Film In Today’s Marketplace

Hosted by Jeanette Milio

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Jeanette Milio

Webinar hosted by: Jeanette Milio

TV and Film Producer with a total production value of over $250 million

Over twenty-five years and working across three continents, Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of over 500 hours of content for film and television, with a total production value of over $250 million, and including Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Throughout her career, Jeanette was involved in financing over 45 film and television projects for HBO, Showtime, ABC, USA Network, Disney, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and others. Jeanette also managed a media fund for Far East National Bank, which funded 40 film and television projects, which lead to her structuring her own media fund that financed theatrical features with a production volume of $60 million. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the film industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance film content and make a profit. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

As an independent filmmaker or producer, you probably start working on a new project for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments so you and your investors can both leave with a profit.

The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but it's actually more possible than you think. No matter how big or small your film is, there are multiple ways you can find funding and multiple ways you can ultimately create profitability. And while it might not be second nature for creatives, once you get a handle on how to make this process work for you, you will also be able to create a business model that you can apply to your future projects, and eventually a portfolio of profitable assets (or films) that will serve as an effective and undeniable calling card as you continue to grow in the industry.

Over twenty-five years and working across three continents, Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of over 500 hours of content for film and television, with a total production value of over $250 million, and including Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Throughout her career, Jeanette was involved in financing over 45 film and television projects for HBO, Showtime, ABC, USA Network, Disney, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and others. Jeanette also managed a media fund for Far East National Bank, which funded 40 film and television projects, which lead to her structuring her own media fund that financed theatrical features with a production volume of $60 million. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the film industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance film content and make a profit.

Exclusively for Stage 32, Jeanette will give a realistic, accessible, and straightforward presentation of the best way to actually finance your film and make a profit in today’s market. She’ll go over the differences between the studio finance model and independent finance model and then delve into how distribution can work best for you and how you can take advantage of more options than you think. Jeanette will also lay out how you can establish profitability for your film by explaining the essential ingredients necessary for a profit, going over how to create a budget and teaching you how you can best align your interests with the investor’s. Jeanette will break down the financial sources available today and give you tips on how you should be balancing multiple sources and mitigate risks for investors at the same time. She’ll even walk you through the complicated “waterfall” process of recoupment.

Financing your film is more possible than you might think, even if you’re just getting started, and Jeanette will give you the tools and confidence to be able to take the necessary steps for your own project.

 

PLUS: Jeanette will provide exclusive and helpful documents to take home with you after, including:

  • Collection Account Management Agreement Example
  • Pay or Play Offer Draft
  • Finance Plan Template for Microsoft Excel

 

 

Praise for Jeanette's Stage 32 Webinar

 

“This was an excellent overview of all that is involved, and a great encouragement to reach out to people who do this kind of thing for a living, instead of trying to do it by myself for the first time.”

- Sarah D.

 

“Jeanette was so detailed about the how to's and why you need to take and research every step. I love getting the details that really feel behind the curtain.”

- Melissa B.

 

“I liked it. Specifically, the content. Jeanette was very informative and clearly knows her stuff.”

- Crystal B.

 

“Explanation of pre-sales and budget breakdown was very informative.”

- Roc R.

 

 

 

 

What You'll Learn

  • An Overview of the Industry Today
    • The studio finance model vs. the independent finance model
    • Why independent finance models are more transparent
  • Working with Distribution and Why the Devil Is in the Details
    • Different distribution options available today
      • Theatrical
      • Streamer
      • Network
      • Co-productions
      • Licensing
      • Buy-on
      • Much more that you might not have considered
    • Protecting distribution revenues
      • And the pitfalls of distribution agreements
  • How to Establish a Profitable Film Project.
    • Essential elements that create profitability for a film project.
    • Creating a feasible budget
    • Understanding essential financial elements to achieve profitability
    • How to align the interest of the investor and producer
  • Film Financing Today
    • Financial Sources available today
      • Bank loans
      • Mezzanine
      • Subsidies
      • Equity
      • Brand Integration
      • Deferments
      • In-Kind Services
      • Music Investment
      • More sources you might not have considered
    • How to balance more than one source of financing at the same time
    • Mitigating risks for investors and producers
    • Understanding the “Waterfall”
      • Who recoups what, when and why
      • Who gets paid what, when, and why
  • Q&A with Jeanette

About Your Instructor

Over twenty-five years and working across three continents, Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of over 500 hours of content for film and television, with a total production value of over $250 million, and including Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Throughout her career, Jeanette was involved in financing over 45 film and television projects for HBO, Showtime, ABC, USA Network, Disney, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and others. Jeanette also managed a media fund for Far East National Bank, which funded 40 film and television projects, which lead to her structuring her own media fund that financed theatrical features with a production volume of $60 million. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the film industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance film content and make a profit.

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A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Advanced Guide to Film Finance and Profitability- 6 Week Intensive with Business Pitch Workshop & Handouts

“I learned more from Jeanette in this class than I’ve ever learned anywhere else. This class is a must for anyone who wants to learn how to get a tv/film project financed step by step. Jeanette leaves no stone left unturned and no question unanswered. Now matter where you are in your career, you will leave this class knowing exactly what needs to be done to get your projects financed.” —Chantel C.   --Only 10 Spots Remain--   If you're considering producing your next (or first) project but are struggling to find the money or to understand the legal and financial steps that are necessary to take, this class is perfect for you.  Not only will you learn the entire film finance process and gain tips and strategies you can directly apply to your own project, you will also receive a variety of resources to help you on your way, PLUS work one-on-one with accomplished producer and financier Jeanette Milio, one of our most popular instructors!   Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of 500 plus hours of content of film and television for over twenty-five years across three continents, pulling in a total production value of over $250 million with Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Throughout her career, Jeanette was involved in financing over 45 film and television projects for HBO, Showtime, ABC, USA Network, Disney, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and others. Jeanette also managed a media fund for Far East National Bank, which funded 40 film and television projects, which led to her structuring her own media fund that financed theatrical features with a production volume of $60 million. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the film industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance film content and make a profit. Along the way you'll be able to stay in touch with Jeanette via email throughout the six week class. Jeanette will even conclude the class with an invaluable practice business pitch workshop where everyone can pitch to the class as if they were pitching to a potential investor and get personalized notes and suggestions afterwards.   Jeanette will ALSO provide in-depth case studies of recent projects, as well as exclusive and valuable handouts that you can take with you for your own project, including: Sample Business Plans Sample Budgets Sales Estimate Sheets Investor Pitch Decks Sales Agency Agreement Collection Account Management Agreements Pay or Play Offer Template Sample Option Agreement     Praise for Jeanette's Previous Stage 32 Class   "Thank you for organising this amazing class. It was eye opening and very inspirational. And Jeanette Milio is fantastic — so helpful and so open. She taught us so much within such short period of time." -Jevgeni S.     “One of the best seminars ever. “ -Elio B.

How to Finance Your Own Independent Television Series

The surge of television platforms, networks, and streamers in recent years has drastically opened up the world of television content production, spelling good news for aspiring content creators around the world. We’re not just talking Netflix and Amazon; countless other channels and streamers like Tubi, Roku, Snap, and many more are actively building their slates and looking for new content to buy outright. With these opportunities, it’s more than possible to create, sell and be profitable on your own independent TV series. Yet this does not mean it’s easy. Financing and recouping costs for independent television production requires a firm understanding of the constantly changing TV landscape and opportunities available to secure funding. With the rules and trends of television changing so frequently, it is difficult to be on top of where opportunities lie. Standard and subscription networks are losing revenue to streamers, and their acquisition budgets are decreasing. At the same time, streamers prefer buying all rights, and spend much less money on digital rights only, which disrupts the financial model. And many investors who are more used to funding films are resistant to TV shows without the splashy premiere and red carpets that they’re used to. These challenges and more stand in the way of fully financing your own television project, but they can all be overcome with the right approach and understanding. Over twenty-five years and working across three continents, Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of over 500 hours of content for film and television, with a total production value of over $250 million, and including Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Recently, Jeanette has focused on the development, financing, and production of television series. She co-created, co-financed and executive produced the beauty competition series GLOBAL BEAUTY MASTERS on TLC and its spin-off series THE LOOK ALL-STARS on The CW. She further managed the renowned dog series TV series and brand DOG WHISPERER WITH CESAR MILLAN, which aired for 9 seasons on the National Geographic Channel and sold in over 180 countries. In 2020 Jeanette co-created, financed, and produced two seasons for the new series DOG MASTERS, starring Laura Nativo and Alex Rossi, which is being represented by The Gersh Agency for the U.S. and international distribution. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the TV industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance television content and get it sold. Jeanette will lay out step-by-step how you can successfully finance your own content for television in today’s ever-changing ecosystem. She’ll begin by taking a look at the independent TV space today, what’s being produced, what’s selling and what opportunities are out there aside from Netflix. She will identify available funding sources and go through the rules of financing you need to understand. She’ll then go into what effective TV pitch documents need to include for investors and how to make your stand out. Next, Jeanette will give you tips on how to secure “free money” for your project by leaning into things like co-productions, subsidies, and tax incentives. She’ll explain how you can mitigate risks for yourself and your team and teach you how to create your own IP to attract audiences and therefore investors and distributors. Jeanette will explain distribution deals that are available today and help you understand how to determine which deal is right for you and your project. Finally, Jeanette will identify the biggest potential pitfalls for producers and investors that you need to avoid. It’s more possible than ever before to fund, produce, and sell your own independent TV content, especially if you can understand the rules to follow and the traps to avoid that Jeanette will thoroughly lay out.

The Tools You Need To Attach A- List Actors to Your Film (With Offer Letter & Sales Estimate Example)

Anyone who has ever tried to produce and cast a feature film is aware of the quagmire that attaching “A” List level talent represents. On one hand, you need the star power of a “name” actor in order to acquire funding and on the other hand you need the money in order to acquire the name talent. It's enough to drive even the most seasoned filmmakers crazy. Don't worry, there are proven strategies to solving this puzzle and assuring that your project is top of mind for managers, agents, and their talent. The reason why so many first and second time producers, writers and directors find themselves in this situation is simple. In most cases, they are attempting to approach “A” List celebrity talent to their film much too soon with the hopes of using that “name” to attract investors; a strategy that rarely works. The reality of the situation is that "A" List talent and the representatives get dozens of offers a month. And with more and more name actors working in television, streaming series, limited series and now even digital series, the competition is even higher. But you CAN compete and still attach "A" List talent to your project even if you don't have all your funds raised. Franco Sama has produced over 25 profitable independent films ranging from micro-budget to films up to $5MM. Franco is considered a pioneer in the world of film financing and casting. He speaks all over the world on the subject and has mentored thousands of filmmakers and producers on how to attach the best talent to their independent features. Just some of the actors Franco has cast in his films include: Gary Oldman (Oscar Winner, Darkest Hour, Oscar Nominee, Dark Knight) Christine Lahti (Oscar Winner) Christian Slater (Golden Globe Winner) Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) Chris Klein (American Pie) David Arquette (Scream) Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill) Dane Cook (Comedian) Franco has also been a consulting producer on many films with many more in active development. Many top producers in the game turn to Franco to get their films off the ground. And now he's bringing his over 2 decades of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Franco will teach you everything you need to know about attaching top talent to your film including a bullet proof method for ensuring that managers and agents not only put your script in the hands of "A" List talent, but that they read the material! He will show you how to make sure your script is attractive to "A" List talent. He will teach you how to turn a Letter of Intent into a Letter of Commitment. He will instruct you as to the proper timing to make your offer, so you assure that everything is in order and that you're in a position to answer all questions. He will dissect a physical offer so you know exactly what you should be presenting. He will discuss pay and play offers, deferred payments, using credits as currency and back end point deals and how you can identify which of these offers and strategies to deploy. He will go over proper etiquette and how to make sure everyone is happy so that you win the trust of the gatekeepers assuring you can return to the same managers and agents again and again. Franco will take away the fear, anxiety, and, most of all, doubt, that comes with the desire to attach name talent to your project. You will learn all the proper strategies and methods to assure success.   "I had the pleasure of seeing Franco speak live at one of Stage 32's live education events. He was so inspiring, so confident and so willing to help, this webinar became an instant signup. Even with my high expectations, I was floored by the wealth of information and the explanation of the strategies within. My fear, and let's face it, my insecurity of approaching talent was crippling. Not any more. I've put in 2 offers on 2 different features this morning and I'm already lining up my next move. Can't wait for the next one, Franco! And thank you, Stage 32!" - Pamela R.   "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S.   "This was a stunning presentation. One of the best yet." - Antonio H.   "I have seen the light and I am ready to make offers. Try and stop me." - Lydia W.   "Empowering. I'm going to watch it a 2nd and 3rd time just to make sure I got it all down. Then, I'm working the phones. Great job, Franco and Stage 32." - Reese K.    

How to Strengthen Your Supporting Characters & Subplot in Your Script

Writing the hero or main characters of your story is always fun. You typically have an immediate sense of who your character is, what they like, where they live, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they relate to the world around them. What may not be as easy and might be considerably more difficult is writing your supporting characters - particularly when it is a large ensemble of characters that you need to introduce. It is just as important to develop your supporting characters as it is your main ones. Your supporting characters add tremendous value to the arch of your main character’s journey and therefore require a sincere investment to their development. A supporting character can be a sidekick, sibling, or best friend of the main character. Whoever they are, they have an important role to play in your story. The last thing you want is to leave the potential of the supporting character sitting on the back burner. It’s time to bring them up front and really brainstorm what they can bring to the table of your script. A supporting character can greatly enhance your subplot and move the general plot forward if you truly understand how to utilize them. We have the tools to help you master this exactly. Jordan Barel is a seasoned filmmaker, television coordinator, an award winning publisher, and business owner who founded Loaded Barrel Studios, publishing graphic novels and obtaining international awards, including the Independent Publishing Book Awards (2012, 2013), The LA Book festival, the Geekie Awards ®, and many others. He has optioned his incredible books and screenplays with producers such as David Uslan, Brendan Deneen who has done work for MARVEL Entertainment and DC, Jeffrey Erb, and Aaron Berger who has contributed to projects like TURBO and CRIMINAL MINDS. Jordan will demonstrate the effective approach on how to utilize your supporting characters to enrich your storytelling. Jordan will discuss how your supporting characters can be utilized to bring depth to your story and connect it to the Hero’s Journey of the main character in your script. He will also touch on using supporting characters as a unique element to deliver key exposition and tools on ways your supporting characters can deliver a subplot. Jordan will break down case studies of various film types and how they use supporting characters & sub plots in story. By the end of this webinar, you will feel well-equipped with ideas on how to strategically use your supporting characters to magnify your story to its fullest potential. Jordan is thrilled to deliver this exciting material to members of the Stage 32 community.   Praise for Jordan's Stage 32 Webinar    "It was absolutely excellent information." - Gerri G. "Great speaker, lots of great info. Thanks!" - Ron H.  

VEEP Script Coordinator Breaks Down Expectations of a Comedy Writers' Room

The writers’ room is the beating heart of any scripted television show and the area where writers find their footing and voice within this world. Being a successful writer in the world of television is only possible if you’re successful in a writers’ room setting and breaking into a writers’ room as an assistant or coordinator is often the springboard needed for writers to build their career in the television space. For these reasons, it’s critical to understand how writers’ rooms work and how to best to perform and stand out in one to positively contribute and get noticed for the right reasons. While each show’s writers’ room has unique characteristics, there are specific expectations of a comedy show’s room in particular that differ from their counterparts. You’re not just breaking story in these rooms, but jokes too. This process brings with it a different rhythm and understanding. Finding success in a comedy room requires different skills than others. If you’re an aspiring comedy writer with hopes of breaking into a show’s writers’ room, it’s crucial you understand how exactly these rooms work and how you can best fit in and stay in. Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them. Jon will break down how a leading TV comedy writers’ room works and outline how you can break in and find success in one as a script coordinator. He will begin by going through the basics of how a writers’ room runs and the different key players. He’ll show you how to get a job in the writers’ office and delve into the culture of the room and you can navigate. Next Jon will break down the duties of a script coordinator in the room, including, taking notes, scriptwriting, distribution, investigating clearances, using the white board and more. He’ll also give tips on the technical side of the script coordinator, including typing etiquette and using specific software. He’ll go through the art of pitching in a room and how to handle “big personalities”. Finally Jon will give you tips on how to take next steps from the script coordinator position, how to put together writing samples and use your connections to move up. If you’ve always wanted to have a career in TV writing but don’t know where to start, start here.

An Indie Producer’s Guide to Working with VFX and Special Effects

In today’s climate, independent filmmakers and producers are expected to make their movies on lower and lower budgets. This is hard enough for a simple or grounded drama, but what if your film includes supernatural elements or other aspects that require effects? How can you keep the budget low while still including the monsters, explosions, illusions, and other that can only be made possible special and visual effects? As it turns out, it’s more possible than you might think, especially with the right preparation. Whether you need to work with practical special effects or include visual effects in post, the key is always careful planning ahead of time. There are many pitfalls that producers and filmmakers can run into when working with effects, including going over budget and not getting the result your film needs, but these can always be overcome with the appropriate preparation, research and understanding ahead of time. So how exactly do experienced indie producers prep for effects? What can be done in early pre-production and throughout? And how can you make sure that, even on a low budget, your effects are, well, effective? Let’s explore. Micah Gallo is an award-winning writer, director, cinematographer, producer and post-production expert who has been making films for over ten years and has worked on effects and post-production for over 40 feature films. A filmmaker from an early age, Micah’s fascination with visual composition and technology inspired him to cofound the award winning post-production facility Lit Post where he built the company up and collaborated with other top artists to design new cutting-edge effects previously unavailable for independent films. As a filmmaker, Micah has earned several Best Director and Best Cinematography awards as well as the Emerging Cinematography award for Achievement in Cinematography from the International Cinematographers Guild. Micah most recently served as writer, director, producer and post production supervisor on the celebrated cult creature feature ITSY BITSY, starring Bruce Davison (X-MEN) and Denise Crosby (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION). Micah’s excited to bring his experience both as a writer/director and as a post-production expert to the Stage 32 community. Using his experience both as a filmmaker and an effects guru, Micah will walk you through the steps you need to take as an independent filmmaker to include visual effects and special effects into your film at any budget. He’ll go through the process of analyzing your script with an eye for effects, how to research and get bids from vendors, and incorporating effects into both your shot lists and storyboards. Micah will also give you tips on how to handle the critical lighting and video testing phase of effects and how you can work with your DP, AD, and production designer to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Micah will also lay out how to handle effects while on set and how you should be shooting for VFX. He will also teach you how to navigate effects shots in post-production. Throughout, Micah will be providing specific examples from his own award-winning film ITSY BITSY, which heavily used both special effects and VFX, and using this as a case study you can take back to your own project.

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