When it comes to packaging your film, I think one of the places filmmakers get hung up in presenting their projects to Producers and Financiers is by employing the ‘kitchen sink’ method.
That basically means that when they are approaching producers or production/finance companies, they try to list out every crew member and every producer they’ve already attached and promised credit to… to the point that it feels like there’s no room for anyone else.
How Over Packaging Hurts Projects
Filmmakers forget that if a production company or producer is coming on board to help finance your film, THEY are going to end up the lead producers on your project and they will also want to bring and/or approve of crew and key positions. So as the filmmaker, even if you’ve done allll this work, you are likely going to have to take a back seat to producers once they come on board your project.
I see this a lot in the development consulting applications I receive – and sometimes I wonder, if all these producers are attached already how come you the writer/director are taking the lead and none of them are helping raise the financing? It’s as if the package has been ‘padded’ with names of crew but it doesn’t mean anything at this stage.
And sometimes filmmakers flat out say they are looking for a producer to bring the finance, yet all the key decisions have already been made….
The Delicate Balance of the Value Added Film Package
So I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to present your project to producers who are financiers or who can help package and raise finance for your film is to add as much value as you can in terms of securing the right material, and adding enough elements so some of the heavy lifting has started (ie: an appropriate level director, and maybe one marketable actor), but not so over the top with attachments to the point that you’ve now created something that no one else wants to touch or that a producer sees as too much work to have to undo everything.
Is it a delicate balance? For sure! And I go into this in greater detail in the Film Launchpad. With Cannes coming up and many of you scrambling to package projects for marketability, just take a step back and ask yourself – what’s the right amount of attachments to bring on board at this stage so a bigger producer or financier will consider this viable?
The Bottom Line
For me personally, I can tell you that the projects I respond to most as a Producer and tend to get involved in have some elements but not too many. And the elements that are there are meaningful – meaning a director appropriate for the budget level with a body of work I can sell to the right level actors for the budget to get them on board, which then I can take to my financing contacts.
What About You?
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this both from the filmmaker perspective and the producer/financier perspective…. let’s discuss in the comments section below…