Friday, August 28, 2009

Fundraising suggestions....

Here's a chat exchange I just had with a filmmaker that I will share with everyone because there was some good f*&^%ing advice in there, dammit!!

10:55am XXXX
Basically, im the only producer right now.. we just need to raise some funds...which ive never done!

10:55am Jacques
Holy tomatoes!

10:55am XXXX
i know!

Well, I never did it before when I first did it. Basically, you just gotta jump in with such things, learning to swim by being tossed in the ocean (as my older brother did to me - that mothaf^%$er).....

10:57am XXXX
i agree!

10:59am Jacques
It's a learning curve, but charm and common sense usually are the best guides. Target the potential investors. Figure out what they need to know based on what their goals might be. Tell them the facts good and bad (but dress them up nicely). Sound like you know what you're doing but don't be afraid to admit mistakes. Follow up until they tell you to stop. Move on to the next. It's a numbers game.

11:00am XXXX
right...i get cha

11:01am Jacques
Never bullshit them. They are usually too smart for it. But it doesn't hurt to play to their emotions. Film investment, for the most part, is a really dumb bet. They either do it because it is their job (as in a production company) or because they have an emotional attachment to the idea of being in films. It might be sexy for them or an ego thing or just fun...

...but they can't feel like they are pissing their money away, so you gotta have a nice, smart proposal...(not necessarily a real, detailed business plan)....

11:03am XXXX
That makes sense!! We have a preliminary marketing plan that im turning into a business proposal as we speak....did u contact any and all people with money? Or did u find a list of film investors?

Lists are meaningless. If one exists, it means 4 billion other people have it.

With production companies, it's all about the script...and relationships. And packaging, if you can do that...but that's hard without connections/cred.

11:05am Jacques
With private individuals, you gotta use degrees of separation. Who do you know? Who do they know? Never go farther than 3 degrees of separation...

11:07am XXXX
ok, The writer/director wants to aim high (insert big names) with prod. co's that I am sending the script to...BIG names! I feel its a shot in the dark...

11:07am Jacques
yeah. It's the common routine. It is a shot in the dark, but it works, sometimes. Like maybe less than 1% of the time. :) I certainly wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket....

With private individuals, set up as many individual meetings as you can. When you have people interested, wait until you have at least 5-10, then do a presentation or dinner for them to lock 'em in. The collective energy and enthusiasm often helps a lot. But if you can lock 'em in without that, so much the better.

11:07am XXXX
ooh good idea!!

11:10am Jacques
Make everyone invested in the project (not just involved, but emotionally and financially invested) - you, the director, anybody else - work up a list of investor potentials. And when I say investor potentials, I don't mean necessarily people with money, but also people who might know people with money....

Then attack the list with all your resources - a strong proposal, charm, intelligence and most importantly, gratitude and respect....

Okay. That's my mentoring for the day. Hope it helps.

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