One of my projects is a feature we’re prepping for a summer shoot. Budget is in the $1-$2 million range and we’ve spent close to two years putting the package together (yes, it takes a lot of patience to package an indie in today’s environment!).
So now that we’re putting the financing together a few interesting things are happening….
First is we’re entertaining pre-sales on a comedy, something that wouldn’t have been available to use two years ago when we started this process.
Second is, we’re even getting sales agents involved in discussions. With Cannes coming up in a few months they are all looking for full packages they can take and start selling – so we’re playing right into the Cannes market demand, something I always recommend doing (present fully formed packages when they are hungry for product!).
And finally we’re figuring out how to handle the tax credits. On a lower budget film like this it usually doesn’t make financial sense to use debt to cash flow the rebates, since they you’re adding a few. hundred grand to your budget just in fees and then oh yeah, you probably have to add in the cost of a bond. Luckily there are some players who will work around these requirements for the right projects, but you have to really know the intricacies of all that.
It surprises me how many people think tax rebates = financing. They do not automatically equal financing. They are either part of recoupment to your equity investors or collateral for a loan that will have a lot of requirements you may or may not be able to meet, for instance a large portion of your budget must already covered with equity.
Such is the ebb and flow of the indie film finance world. Always shifting, changing, but it’s like putting together the pieces of a puzzle and eventually they all fall into place.
I intend to take you on this journey with me and will document the process as much as I can leading up to production so you can learn alongside me as all these things fall into place.
Film Finance Essentials 2017
If you’re looking to get a basic overview of today’s current film financing landscape. The real deal truth on how to finance lower budget films like this and what it takes from your end (because it’s not automatic, you have to put in the work), then you should join me in the 2017 Film Finance Essentials course which starts next week.
The course is 100% virtual and you will receive weekly video modules to your inbox for four weeks and I’ll walk you through the basics of financing your film.
You can save $50 on registration until tomorrow 3/30 only. Price goes up on Friday.
Plus when you register you get 3 free months of FS membership (value $105)
To be clear, this is an overview course for beginning/intermediate level. We also will have dedicated class forums for answering all your questions along the way.
I look forward to working with some of you throughout April in this program!
If you have any thoughts on financing films in the $1-$2 million range, we can continue this discussion in the comments section below…