Making Movies Without Losing Money

A review of a new book on financing independent films by Daniel Harlow

Tom Farr

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Filmmaking is an expensive endeavor, and unless you happen to be extremely wealthy or know someone incredibly generous offering to fund your film, your hopes of making a film and launching a career making multiple films are dependent upon your ability to find investors for your project. The problem, however, according to Daniel Harlow, author of Making Movies Without Losing Money, is an alarming trend of budding filmmakers getting investors for their first film only to find themselves having to find new investors for their next film because they weren’t able to generate the revenue to repay the investors behind their earlier film.

And, unfortunately, if you lose money once, you lose credibility with future investors because who would want to give money to someone who has already developed a track record of losing investor money?

A Hero’s Journey for Filmmakers

If you’re a filmmaker, you’re likely familiar with the concept of the Hero’s Journey, popularized by George Lucas with his 1977 film Star Wars, which borrowed the idea of the Hero’s Journey from Joseph Campbell’s exploration of the universal way stories are structured across cultures throughout history in his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces. The Hero’s Journey focuses on a hero that leaves the comfort of his everyday world in order to go on an adventure that will test and change him so that, ultimately, he can bring something back to help those he cares about at home.

Making Movies Without Losing Money is a new book about the ins and outs of film finance, written to give filmmakers practical tips for getting their films funded and building a successful filmmaking career. Filmmaking books, whether about writing, directing, producing, or the many other aspects involved in making a film, are notoriously written from the perspective of someone merely theorizing about the subject with limited firsthand knowledge. The screenwriting book written by someone who once had a film script optioned but who has never actually had a film produced, for example. They might have some good ideas, but nothing compared to the advice from someone on the front lines of writing multiple…

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Tom Farr

Tom is a writer and high school English teacher. He loves creating and spending time with his wife and children. For freelancing, email tomfarrwriter@gmail.com.