I was in a meeting with a financier yesterday and she was telling me from her perspective, what a financier’s biggest challenges are right now.
I leaned in….what gold! Plus insights to share with you guys :)
She went on to say that all day, every day they are pitched ‘naked’ projects – books, scripts, other IP….great projects in some cases but with no attachments. Years away from production. Frustrating for them as a company because although they understand film financing is a long game, they also need to be shooting things…in production… actually making movies… not getting caught in development for years on end.
So they prioritize packages over naked scripts that come through the door. But the problem is – so does every other film financier in town! So the competition is stiff for those packaged films with a clear path to production in the near term. Those projects when packaged properly get snatched up quickly.
I asked her where they get most of their projects from. She said the major agencies pretty much supply them with everything they need and then some. They have some direct relationships with producers (like me) where they also source projects from and in many cases prefer that since if it’s not with an agency, then it means they have a better chance of actually getting it since it’s not being shopped around wide.
My take away from that meeting was this….
Keep packaging and building out your team until you have a clear path to production before pitching financing companies. Personally I like to work on packaging and development for as long as it takes (6 months, a year, two years) and then when I can say – we’re going into production in 6 months (or sooner), then I like to take it out to my financing network and close quickly.
It’s why I emphasize actually doing the work with my development clients. People want quick results with packaging…it doesn’t work like that. When I’m helping a client package a project or act as an EP we’ll roll up our sleeves together and do the work, but valuable packages take time. No way around that in today’s market where every actor on the way up is locked into long term TV series or trying to get on one.
It’s a methodical process but it’s all worth it in the end when you’re one of the few projects that’s actually ready to go….not just pitching a script with a single actor which is destined to go to the bottom of the financiers pile of scripts. (this one I was talking to had a pile of 50!)
Why Film Markets Matter
The exception to this is for film markets like Cannes and AFM, I think it’s a good opportunity to introduce a project in development to sales agents and financiers and get it on their radar and see what intel you can gather on actors, budget ranges, etc. No one is going to be jumping on board and closing financing, but it’s a great chance to get a feel for the market and your project.
For that reason, I’m running my Film Market Consulting again leading up to Cannes next month.
For those of you who want to start the early stages of preparing a project for packaging and introducing to the market, this is for you.
This is also good for those of you with a film in post or newly completed looking to introduce to the international market for distribution….
So what do you think? Any thoughts on development, packaging, or naked projects? Let’s discuss in the comments section below…