Indie film financing and movie distribution reminds of what it would feel like dancing nude on stage (much respect for exotic dancers at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club!). You show up to pitch your movie project and need certainly to be able to dance to a picture investor’s music. It’s their stage and not yours as an indie filmmaker seeking film funding. They desire you to make a sellable movie which appeals to movie distributors so the production may make money.
Most investors I’ve met with are not interested in putting hard money into indie art house films because those are tough sells to movie distributors and overseas film buyers aren’t usually interested in seeing them. The dialogue and scenes of certain art house type films don’t translate well to foreign buyers and movie viewers. Action, horror and skin does not need subtitles for individuals to follow along with the story is what I’ve been told by distributors. Talking head movies may make no sense to viewers that don’t understand subtle lines spoken in a foreign language.
Independent film financing continues to change as indie movie distribution gets more financially shaky. The place it’s hitting indie movie producers hardest is right at the source – film financing. Film investors today aren’t feeling stoked up about putting money into movies that do not have bankable name actors. This is not like so-called indie movies which have A-list actors or are produced for an incredible number of dollars. Those kind of indie film passion projects you possibly can make once you’ve caused it to be in the entertainment business at the studio level.
Indie film investors and movie distributors won’t expect you to have an A-list actor, but they do want producers to possess actors (B-list or C-list or D-list) with some name recognition or celebrity. The very first question film investors and movie distributors ask is who the cast is. That is where most indie movie producers are blown from the water because they’ve an unknown cast of actors. Plus there’s a glut of indie movies being made because technology has caused it to be less expensive to make movies.
The bright side is that entertaining indie movies are being made which may not otherwise ever have seen light of day before. The downside is meaningful movie distribution (getting paid) for indie produced films continues to shrink as indie films being made rises (supply and demand 101). I talked to at least one movie distributor that provides releasing independent films and they told me they receive new film submissions daily.
These were honest saying they get very sellable movies and ones which are significantly less than appealing, but with so many movies on the market they no more offer a lot of producers advance money against film royalties or pay a lump cash “buy-out” to secure distribution rights. Their business viewpoint is most indie filmmakers are simply happy seeing their movie released. The term they used was “glorified showreel” for an indie filmmaker to produce they can produce a feature film. So, they acquire many of their movie releases without paying an advance or offering a “buy-out” agreement.
Not building a make money from a film does not make financial sense for film investors that expect to see money made. When people set up money to produce a movie they want a return on the investment. Otherwise it’s no more a film investment. It becomes a picture donation of money they’re offering without any expectations. I’ve been on the “dog and pony show” circuit meeting with potential film investors and learning invaluable lessons.
I’m in the habit now of conversing with indie movie distributors before writing a screenplay to see what forms of films are selling and what actors or celebrity names mounted on a potential project attract them. This is not like chasing trends, but it offers producers a sharper picture of the sales climate for indie films. Sometimes distributors can give me a brief list of actors or celebrities to consider that suit an unbiased movie budget. Movie sales outside the U.S. are in which a bulk of the cash is good for indie filmmakers.
Movie distributors and film sales agents can inform you what actors and celebrity talent is translating to movie sales overseas at the indie level. These won’t be A-list names, but having someone with some type of name is a superb selling point to help your movie standout from others. Brief cameos of known actors or celebrities used to be a good way to help keep talent cost down and put in a bankable name to your cast.
That has changed lately from my conversations with distribution companies. Movie distributors now expect any name talent attached to truly have a meaningful part in the movie in place of a couple of minutes in a cameo role. Cameo scenes can still work if you have a visible hook that grabs the eye of viewers in some way. But having name talent say a few lines without any special hook won’t fly anymore.
Another way to make an indie film in need of funding more appealing to investors is to install talent that has been around a film or TV show of note. ดูหนัง HD Their name as an actor might not be that well-known yet, but rising stars which have appeared in a well known movie or TV show may give your movie broader appeal. If you cast them in a supporting role keep working days on the set right down to the very least to save your budget. Make an effort to write their scenes to allow them to be shot in one or two days.
When you’re pitching to serious film investors they will want to get reveal movie budget and distribution plan how you plan on making money from the film’s release. The Catch-22 that happens a great deal is that many movie distributors that cater to releasing indie films won’t commit to any deal until they’ve screened the movie.
There’s not built-in distribution just as in studio budget films. Film investors that are not traditionally part of the entertainment business will get put off when a producer does not have a distribution deal already in place. They don’t understand the Catch-22 of indie filmmaking and distribution. That is in which a movie producer really will need a solid pitch that explains the financial dynamics of indie film distribution.
Most film investors will give an indie movie producer’s financing pitch that mentions self-distribution in it. From a film investor’s business perspective it takes entirely a long time for an indie movie to generate money going the self-distribution route. It’s just like the old school method of selling your movie from the trunk of your car or truck at places, however now it’s done online using digital distribution and direct sales via a blog. That’s an extended grind that many investors won’t be interested in holding out for. Moving one unit of a film at a time is too slow of trickle for investors.
A possible way round the Catch-22 would be to touch base to movie distributors while you are pitching to film investors. With a strong budget number and possible cast attached you can gauge to see if you have any meaningful distribution interest in the movie. It’s always possible a vendor will show you that they’d offer an advance or “buy-out” deal. They usually won’t offer you a hard number, but even a ballpark figure of what they could offer can tell you if your budget makes financial sense to approach movie investors with.
I understand one savvy indie movie producer which makes 4-6 movies per year on affordable budgets and knows they’re already building a make money from the advance money alone. The film royalty payments really are a bonus. The producer keeps budgets extremely affordable and streamlined at every phase of production. After you have a history with a distribution company do you know what you can expect to be paid. Then you can offer film investors a percent on the money invested into the production which makes sense.
Social networking with other indie filmmakers lets you hear what’s happening with movie distribution from other people’s actual life experiences. A very good thing I’ve been hearing about is that there are film investors that won’t set up money to make movie that will probably be self-distributed, but they’ll roll the dice on a characteristic that will probably specific film festivals. Not the art house film festivals. The ones that are extremely genre specific like for horror or action films. Like Screamfest Horror Film Festival or Action on Film (AOF). Film buyers attend these events and meaningful distribution deals are made.
Independent film financing and movie distribution are aspects of the entertainment business all filmmakers must handle and learn from each experience. I was in the hot seat today pitching to a picture investor. I’ve streamlined the budget around I could without making the plot lose steam.
The jam I’m in as a maker is you can find hard costs that can’t be avoided offering lots of gun play including two rigging shots where baddies get shot and are blown backwards off their feet. Badass action films need experienced and seasoned film crews to pull-off hardcore action shots off clean and safe. The cast I wish to hire has an ideal appeal and name recognition for this indie action movie to rock viewers. There’s nothing that can get lost in the translation in this film for foreign film buyers and movie viewers.
What I think got lost in the translation with the potential film investor today is if I keep taking out below-the-line crew to save money I’m going to have to do rewrites to the screenplay to obtain action scenes. They’re selling points that may hurt sales if they’re written out. But it’s my job as an indie filmmaker to balance a budget that appeals to film investors. We’ll observe how this goes. That is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing fade out.
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