Indie film financing and movie distribution reminds of what it’d feel just like dancing nude on stage (much respect for exotic dancers at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club!). You show as much as 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 being an indie filmmaker seeking film funding. They need you to make a sellable movie which interests movie distributors so the production can make money.
Most investors I’ve met with are not thinking about putting hard money into indie art house films because those are tough sells to movie distributors and overseas film buyers aren’t usually thinking about 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 require subtitles for folks to check out the story is what I’ve been told by distributors. Talking head movies can make no sense to viewers that don’t understand subtle lines spoken in a foreign language.
Independent film financing continues to improve as indie movie distribution gets more financially shaky. The spot it’s hitting indie movie producers hardest is right at the source – film financing. Film investors today aren’t feeling worked up about putting money into movies that not need bankable name actors. This isn’t like so-called indie movies which have A-list actors or are produced for countless 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 have 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. This is where most indie movie producers are blown out from the water because they have a not known cast of actors. Plus there is a glut of indie movies being made because technology has caused it to be cheaper to produce movies.
The bright side is that entertaining indie movies are now being made that may not otherwise ever have observed 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 suits releasing independent films and they said they receive new film submissions daily.
These were honest saying they get very sellable movies and ones which are 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 definition of they used was “glorified showreel” for an indie filmmaker to show they could make a feature film. So, they acquire many of the movie releases without paying an advance or supplying a “buy-out” agreement.
Not building a benefit from a movie does not make financial sense for film investors that be prepared to see money made. When people put up money to generate a movie they need a get back on their investment. Otherwise it’s no more a movie investment. It becomes a picture donation of money they’re giving out with no expectations. I’ve been on the “dog and pony show” circuit ending up in potential film investors and learning invaluable lessons.
I’m in the habit now of talking to indie movie distributors before writing a screenplay to see what kinds of films are available and what actors or celebrity names attached with a possible project interest them. This isn’t like chasing trends, but it offers producers a sharper picture of the sales climate for indie films. Sometimes distributors will give me a quick set of actors or celebrities to take into account that suit an unbiased movie budget. Movie sales outside the U.S. are where a majority of the amount of money is made for indie filmmakers.
Movie distributors and film sales agents can let you know 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 sort of name is a great selling point to help your movie standout from others. Brief cameos of known actors or celebrities was once an effective way to help keep talent cost down and add 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 have a meaningful part in the movie as opposed to a couple of minutes in a cameo role. Cameo scenes can still work if you have an aesthetic hook that grabs the interest of viewers in some way. But having name talent say several lines with no special hook won’t fly anymore.
Another way to produce an indie film needing funding more attractive to investors is to add talent that has been doing a movie or TV show of note. ดูหนัง HD Their name being an actor mightn’t 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 absolute minimum to save your budget. Attempt to write their scenes for them to be shot in a couple of days.
When you’re pitching to serious film investors they will want to be given an in depth movie budget and distribution plan on what you want on making money from the film’s release. The Catch-22 that takes place a great deal is that many movie distributors that focus on releasing indie films won’t commit to any deal until they’ve screened the movie.
There is not built-in distribution like with studio budget films. Film investors that are not traditionally part of the entertainment business can get put off whenever a producer does not need a distribution deal already in place. They don’t understand the Catch-22 of indie filmmaking and distribution. This is where a movie producer really needs a good pitch that explains the financial dynamics of indie film distribution.
Most film investors will pass on an indie movie producer’s financing pitch that mentions self-distribution in it. From a movie investor’s business perspective it takes entirely too long for an indie movie to generate money going the self-distribution route. It’s such as the old school way of selling your movie out from the trunk of your car or truck at places, nevertheless now it’s done online using digital distribution and direct sales using a blog. That’s a lengthy grind that many investors will not be interested in hanging around for. Moving one unit of a movie at the same time is too slow of trickle for investors.
A possible way across the Catch-22 would be to reach out to movie distributors when you are pitching to film investors. With a firm budget number and possible cast attached you are able to gauge to see if you have any meaningful distribution curiosity about the movie. It’s always possible a provider will tell you that they would offer an advance or “buy-out” deal. They usually won’t give you a hard number, but a ballpark figure of what they may offer can let you know if your allowance makes financial sense to approach movie investors with.
I am aware one savvy indie movie producer that produces 4-6 movies annually on very affordable budgets and knows they’re already building a benefit from the advance money alone. The film royalty payments are a bonus. The producer keeps budgets extremely affordable and streamlined at every phase of production. After you have a background with a distribution company do you know what you are able to be prepared to be paid. Then you can offer film investors a percent on their money invested in to the production that produces sense.
Social networking with other indie filmmakers allows you to hear what’s happening with movie distribution from other people’s real life experiences. An awesome thing I’ve been hearing about is that there are film investors that won’t put up money to produce movie that will be self-distributed, but they will roll the dice on an element that will specific film festivals. Not the art house film festivals. Those that are very 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 areas of the entertainment business all filmmakers will need to deal with and study from each experience. I was in the hot seat today pitching to a picture investor. I’ve streamlined the budget as much as I could without making the plot lose steam.
The jam I’m in as a producer is you will find hard costs that can not be avoided offering a lot 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 do want to hire has an ideal appeal and name recognition for this indie action movie to rock viewers. There is nothing that may 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 likely to want to do rewrites to the screenplay to obtain action scenes. They’re selling points that may hurt sales if they are written out. But it’s my job being an indie filmmaker to balance a budget that interests film investors. We’ll observe how this goes. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing fade out.