What Makes A Good FIlm 'Package'?

If you’ve ever gone out and tried to raise financing for your film, you know how important your film’s ‘package’ can be. Packaging a script for financing is a big BIG job and often takes the work of more than one person on your team (and the task is often outsourced to a consultant). The good news is that Packaging TODAY is much more creative than Packaging was even a year ago.  Meaning….as independent producers you have much more latitude these days with what is actually considered to be a package…..

It used to be that you needed A-list stars and an A-list director and that’s all that anyone ever cared about when deciding whether to give your project the time of day or not. Don’t get me wrong, Cast + Director are still the most important elements of your package. BUT, nowadays, potential financiers and partners also look at other things when considering whether or not to come on board. Things like:

• How big is your target audience

• Have you clearly identified your niche and how you are going to reach them

• Ancillary opportunities

• Social Media assets (like number of Facebook and Twitter followers). These are NOT to be underestimated in today’s market!

• Committed marketing partners

• P&A + Marketing commitment

• And probably a few other things I’m forgetting!

I have a client right now who has 50% of his budget raised and is out looking for the other 50%. He doesn’t have big cast names to throw around, nor is he a big time director yet (it’s only his second feature). BUT… here’s what he DOES have:

• A very marketable concept and genre

• Killer artwork + campaign (even though he’s only in Pre-Production)

• A built-in following from an affiliated graphic novel series (ie: a rabid fan base right from the get-go)

• Marketing partners with thousands of email addresses already lined up and committed to promotion

•  A Digital distribution plan and digital partners set to go

• Over 1000 Facebook and Twiter followers before he’s even shot the film

You get the idea….

So in short, PACKAGING your film is still very important in order to raise financing for your film. But the rules have changed…and what was once considered your ‘package’ has now been expanded into much more attainable bits and pieces. And don’t forget, this is all still part of your Distribution In Reverse strategy!

What are your thoughts on a film’s PACKAGE?  What are some of the creative elements of YOUR package that are helping you put together the financing of your film? Leave your comments below…. Thanks!

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  • http://www.lambentfuse.com Matt

    I think a lot of these are very good strategies to the pre-production process. We are doing very similar things, mainly in the generation of awareness through social networking sites. Not all of us have those connections and digital partners yet, and that’s one of our biggest struggles at this point. So, we’re creating a trailer, soon-coming interactive promotion series, and since it is a character driven story: character based content that will allow the audience to attach and care about the story before a minute of it is displayed on screen.

    However, I’d really like to lock in partners, sponsors, and investors which is all about the film package of which you’re writing on. Thinking about the “post” process is crucial in the pre-production planning methods, and any help from the film and art community is appreciated from every artist and that’s how we thrive in these more difficult times. So, thanks for the tips and help so far. Any further suggestions or connections you can share are greatly appreciated.

    Please feel free to check out the website to give us some pointers:

  • Brad Parker

    What’s the best way to get your film or script out to the public .I have its movie playing in my head for so long I just wrote it out maybe two month. So I was thinking to do i small film of the movie and put it on youtube just to see the responce to it. Do you think that a good idea?

  • http://www.thestudiocenter.com Frank Casanova

    Thanks Stacy… Now we’re getting to the Nuts&Bolts of treating a movie “project” as a real “business”. No longer is the filmmaker able to be just a filmmaker if you don’t want to simply rely on good luck in producing a successful movie project. Today, we must be total marketers…and that means Packagers! You’re on the right track.

  • http://www.pointzeropictures.com Miklos Philips

    I still think, in this day and age unless you have recognizable names in your movie you will have a hard time selling it in the marketplace. Movies even with names can be a hard sell if you’re an indie, but at least one has a modicum of hope of making the budget back. All those “packaging” options are good to have but they still wont’ guarantee any kind of return.

    • http://www.Echoes-the-movie.com Steve Felt

      How would you explain all the horror films with no names attached that have made $50million plus?

      • http://www.filmspecific.com Stacey Parks

        Like which films are you referring to?

  • Bill Cunningham

    What do you mean by digital partners? Do you mean a website like Dailymotion.com or Crackle has ponied up production monies, adspace and promotion for the film?

    Or something else entirely?

    Digital ‘partner’ could mean anything – I mean to be honest YouTube could be a digital partner…or for that matter, Bitorrent.

  • http://www.jbmovies.com John W. Bosley

    I really like this post. Especially the part about niche market and SM. No one would think that SM and the number of followers you have on places like Twitter would be seen as assets a year or two years ago. Everything is changing. I remember a few weeks ago, when I was in Office Max, at the counter, that I saw a magazine that asked if Ashton Kutcher was the next Media Mogul. It stated that Pepsi and another company (can’t remember the other one) was going to be some sort of sponser for his SM profiles. I didn’t read the article, but it stuck out to me.

    The filmmaker who made “Panic Attack” earned himself 1 million views on YouTube and a directing gig with Sam Rami. (some of this is probably marketing spin, but still good marketing spin).

    More people hear about a film on the internet than at a film festival, so seeing your SM profile as an asset to leverage as part of your film package is great. But only having followers, friends and fans means nothing if you don’t know how to utilize it/interact with them.

    Niche is great because a film with no name casts but speaks to an issue or topic of great interest to a fan base that are huge supporters of the content become a crowdsourcing version of marketing.

    My question: In a person’s biz plan, how should they discuss both of these in the best, most concise way that don’t just sound generalized.

  • http://www.vimeo.com/user2889023 brett sorem

    my name is Brett Sorem, I am going through producing and directing my first feature length film. I am just about ready to pitch my project. I shot a trailer for the feature film that you can check out here. http://www.vimeo.com/user2889023 I was wondering if anyone knew a good place to promote the trailer online besides youtube to get it seen or more hits. also would love feedback on the work. There are two versions of the trailer and a behind the scenes featurette. This may also be a go example for some people out there trying to get ahead of the game. thanks

    -Brett Sorem

  • http://thesleepingdeep.com Jeffrey B. Palmer

    Brett, I’ll be checking out your link. It’s a viable way to go, but not for the faint of heart.

    I took a similar route with my first film “On the Fringe” which was produced and available on DVD and my current project/screenplay “The Sleeping Deep” which at this point is slowly, slowwwwwly, making its way into the hands of Hollywood outsiders, insiders and the like.

    We shot some pre-viz scenes and a promotional teaser that can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/yze3ohc and my blog http://tinyurl.com/nnjzc2. With a 1-sheet, custom box art, posters, mailers, magnets and biz cards, I’m still in the throes of battle – and not yet ready to back down. It’ll take a while before I find a home for it, but I’m feeling good about my prospects. Stay tuned.

    Great topic!


  • Janine

    In your film package do you need artwork and what types of artwork do you need? And who are the people that supply that. Do you have names?

  • http://animex@caltel.com Mario A. Lopez

    Where can I find a packager?

    Thr First in the Annals of Animation Cinema:
    Mel Gibson’s “Apacolypto” and “2012” have made the world keenly aware of the Mayan civilization. My film is based on the most important legend of the Mayan civilization. It’s the first to bring the Mayan World (in animation), to the Silver Screen. Voice-overs by Hispanic Superstars (e.g. Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez), music score by Latin legends such as Carlos Santana. Coca-Cola corp. asked for a proposal… I need a Packager! Can anyone help me? I have the whole project, ready to go; just need packing.

  • Barry Hill

    Your opening line is NOT a sentence.

    If you’ve ever gone out and tried to raise financing for your film before you know how important your film’s ‘package’ can be.

    This taints the entire piece.


  • http://www.filmspecific.com Stacey Parks

    @Barry, Thanks for the head’s up so I could fix it :)