Earlier this week I announced my EP services and a call for 2018 projects. I received many and varied applications since then, thank you all for that!
From the round of applications I received, I thought there were a few things worth discussing….
For example, if we go back to basics – it’s all about building up value in a project to make something that is finance-ready. Neither I, nor any other EP, can just ‘find financing’ for a film without any value that has been built up over time.
In other words, many of the requests I got talked about me securing financing for a film with no attachments or value, and then taking a fee from financing secured. (despite that not being mentioned anywhere on the EP Services page)
I know its wishful thinking to imagine someone coming on to your project, magically raising money, and earning a fee for that later. And maybe you’ve heard stories of this happening somewhere out there. But it certainly has never been my reality.
The reality is you or anyone you hire has a lot of work ahead of them to build value in a project and make it finance-worthy in the first place. I have students of my Film Launchpad who have successfully done this themselves, and it’s why I created that course in the first place. Alternatively, I have also have been hired to do this for projects that are aligned with my skills and expertise. And I have hired others to add value to projects I’m working on and continue to do so where my own skills and expertise fall short. So it’s a constant and consistent building that yes, requires development money to get initial traction.
Obviously the bigger the project you have the more building that will be involved. If you are making a micro budget film and are a first time filmmaker, I understand why it wouldn’t make sense to spend much on hiring an EP and just get on with it instead. I’ve taken that tack many times myself in the last two years. Sometimes you just want to get something done with what you have in front of you!
But if you’re embarking on something bigger, let’s say in the $1.5 million range or above, then do yourself a favor and pull together some initial development funds that you can make a few key hires early on. I’m working with a client right now on optioning a book that we will adapt to a feature. In that case, there’s rights that need to be secured, lawyers that need to be hired to negotiate that deal, screenwriters that need to be vetted and hired, and on and on. It’s a process without a magic bullet in sight :)
So I guess what I’m saying is this – depending on the scale of what you’re trying to make, you may or may not need an EP in the first place but you will definitely need to build value in whatever you are trying to raise money for.
Hiring an EP is NOT a quick fix for ‘securing financing’. And no one I know will come on to a project, use all their contacts and relationship equity, sills and expertise, to build your project and get paid later. It just doesn’t work like that.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and your thoughts – small budget vs. big budget, development money or not, key early hires and putting in the work – let’s discuss in the comments below.
I look forward to discussing this further with you all and hopefully working with a few of you on building your projects in 2018!