Indie film financing and movie distribution reminds of what it’d feel just like dancing nude on stage (much respect for exotic dancers at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club!). You show around pitch your movie project and have to manage to dance to a film investor’s music. It’s their stage and not yours as an indie filmmaker seeking film funding. They want you to make a sellable movie which appeals to movie distributors and so the production can make money.
Most investors I’ve met with are not interested in putting hard money into indie art house films because those are tough sells to movie distributors and overseas film buyers aren’t usually interested in seeing them. The dialogue and scenes of certain art house type films don’t translate well to foreign buyers and movie viewers. Action, horror and skin does not require subtitles for folks to follow the story is what I’ve been told by distributors. Talking head movies can make no sense to viewers that don’t understand subtle lines spoken in a foreign language.
Independent film financing continues to improve as indie movie distribution gets more financially shaky. The spot it’s hitting indie movie producers hardest is right at the origin – film financing. Film investors at this time aren’t feeling worked up about putting money into movies that not have bankable name actors. This isn’t like so-called indie movies that have A-list actors or are produced for millions of dollars. Those type of indie film passion projects you can make once you’ve caused it to be in the entertainment business at the studio level.
Indie film investors and movie distributors won’t expect you to have A-list actor, nevertheless they do want producers to own actors (B-list or C-list or D-list) with some name recognition or celebrity. The initial question film investors and movie distributors ask is who the cast is. This is where most indie movie producers are blown out from the water because they have an unknown cast of actors. Plus there’s a glut of indie movies being made because technology has caused it to be less expensive to produce movies.
The bright side is that entertaining indie movies are being made that will not otherwise ever have seen light of day before. The downside is meaningful movie distribution (getting paid) for indie produced films continues to shrink as indie films being made rises (supply and demand 101). I talked to one movie distributor that suits releasing independent films and they said they receive new film submissions daily.
These were honest saying they get very sellable movies and ones which are less than appealing, but with so many movies available they no more offer a lot of producers advance money against film royalties or pay a lump cash “buy-out” to secure distribution rights. Their business viewpoint is most indie filmmakers are only happy seeing their movie released. The definition of they used was “glorified showreel” for an indie filmmaker to display they could make a feature film. So, they acquire many of their movie releases without paying an advance or supplying a “buy-out” agreement.
Not building a benefit from a video doesn’t make financial sense for film investors that expect you’ll see money made. When people set up money to generate a movie they need a get back on the investment. Otherwise it’s no more a video investment. It becomes a film donation of money they’re offering without expectations. I’ve been on the “dog and pony show” circuit meeting with potential film investors and learning invaluable lessons.
I’m in the habit now of conversing with indie movie distributors before writing a screenplay to see what forms of films are available and what actors or celebrity names attached with a potential project attract them. This isn’t like chasing trends, but it gives producers a sharper picture of the sales climate for indie films. Sometimes distributors will give me a quick set of actors or celebrities to take into account that suit an independent movie budget. Movie sales not in the U.S. are where a majority of the amount of money is made for indie filmmakers.
Movie distributors and film sales agents can inform you what actors and celebrity talent is translating to movie sales overseas at the indie level. These won’t be A-list names, but having someone with some kind of name is a superb selling point to greatly help your movie standout from others. Brief cameos of known actors or celebrities used to be a good way to keep talent cost down and put in a bankable name to your cast.
That has changed lately from my conversations with distribution companies. Movie distributors now expect any name talent attached to truly have a meaningful part in the movie instead of a few momemts in a cameo role. Cameo scenes can still work when there is a visual hook that grabs the attention of viewers in certain way. But having name talent say a few lines without special hook won’t fly anymore.
Another way to produce an indie film in need of funding more attractive to investors is to add talent that has been doing a video or TV show of note. ดูหนัง HD Their name as an actor might not be that well-known yet, but rising stars that have appeared in a favorite movie or TV show can give your movie broader appeal. In the event that you cast them in a supporting role keep working days on the set down seriously to a minimum to truly save your budget. Attempt to write their scenes so they can be shot in 1 or 2 days.
When you’re pitching to serious film investors they would want to get reveal movie budget and distribution plan how you intend on earning profits from the film’s release. The Catch-22 that happens a lot is that most movie distributors that appeal to releasing indie films won’t commit to any deal until they’ve screened the movie.
There is not built-in distribution just as in studio budget films. Film investors that are not traditionally part of the entertainment business could possibly get switched off when a producer does not have a distribution deal already in place. They don’t understand the Catch-22 of indie filmmaking and distribution. This is where a movie producer really needs a great pitch that explains the financial dynamics of indie film distribution.
Most film investors will spread an indie movie producer’s financing pitch that mentions self-distribution in it. From a video investor’s business perspective it takes entirely too long for an indie movie to generate money going the self-distribution route. It’s just like the old school means of selling your movie out from the trunk of your vehicle at places, nevertheless now it’s done online using digital distribution and direct sales with a blog. That’s a long grind that most investors will not be thinking about holding out for. Moving one unit of a video at any given time is too slow of trickle for investors.
A possible way around the Catch-22 is to reach out to movie distributors when you are pitching to film investors. With a firm budget number and possible cast attached you can gauge to see when there is any meaningful distribution curiosity about the movie. It’s always possible a provider will show you that they would offer an advance or “buy-out” deal. They usually won’t give you a hard number, but even a ballpark figure of what they might offer can inform you if your financial allowance makes financial sense to approach movie investors with.
I know one savvy indie movie producer which makes 4-6 movies annually on very affordable budgets and knows they’re already building a benefit from the advance money alone. The film royalty payments are a bonus. The producer keeps budgets extremely affordable and streamlined at every phase of production. Once you’ve a history with a distribution company guess what happens you can expect you’ll be paid. Then you can certainly offer film investors a percent on the money invested to the production which makes sense.
Social networking with other indie filmmakers enables you to hear what’s happening with movie distribution from other people’s actual life experiences. A cool thing I’ve been hearing about is there are film investors that won’t set up money to produce movie that is going to be self-distributed, but they will roll the dice on an element that is going to specific film festivals. Not the art house film festivals. The ones that are extremely genre specific like for horror or action films. Like Screamfest Horror Film Festival or Action on Film (AOF). Film buyers attend these events and meaningful distribution deals are made.
Independent film financing and movie distribution are areas of the entertainment business all filmmakers will have to deal with and learn from each experience. I was in the hot seat today pitching to a film investor. I’ve streamlined the budget as much as I can without making the plot lose steam.
The jam I’m in as a manufacturer is you will find hard costs that can not be avoided including lots of gun play including two rigging shots where baddies get shot and are blown backwards off their feet. Badass action films need experienced and seasoned film crews to pull-off hardcore action shots off clean and safe. The cast I want to hire has an ideal appeal and name recognition with this indie action movie to rock viewers. There is nothing that can get lost in the translation in this film for foreign film buyers and movie viewers.
What I believe got lost in the translation with the potential film investor today is if I keep taking out below-the-line crew to truly save money I’m planning to want to do rewrites to the screenplay to get action scenes. They are selling points that may hurt sales if they’re written out. But it’s my job as an indie filmmaker to balance a budget that appeals to film investors. We’ll see how this goes. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing fade out.