5 tricky questions indie film financiers hesitate to answer
Year by year investment figures in the film industry get higher and higher, while the number of films per investor increases every second. The growth of investments leads, of course, to higher revenue and by 2020 it is expected to reach $49.3 billion. In such a competitive field, no wonder that filmmakers fight for the right of making their film shot and for the attention of investment companies.
While investors meet with hundreds of film producers, directors, screenwriters, etc., only a few individuals actually receive financial support. And the fair question is why someone gets your money for their film! The answer can be explained in a PhD thesis, but the shortcut of it is that they are prepared for communication with film investment experts, and you might be not. Below we prepared seven tricky questions that, for instance, Red Rock Entertainment film financing company always asks its potential beneficiaries.
Questions about the market moment
This can be a group of questions that will clarify to the investors why your particular film idea will be popular and get famous in the market. questions about the topic and the main idea of the film as well as the main character, his/her life and presented situation — all of these questions may be asked for the same reason.
In order to explain to investors why your particular film will be a hit, you need to consider current market trends and tendencies, audience mood and social unrest. For example, in 2018 horror films will lead the market due to the great success of IT by Andy Muschietti. At the same time films closely related to emancipation and with strong and charismatic leading actresses will be on top due to the #MeeToo movement that swept Hollywood in the past year. Take into account such popular and very important current social issues to explain your film’s relevance.
Questions about the target market
Princess films or psychological thrillers have a much narrower target audience and so target market than romantic comedies or family films. In order not to hide your eyes from investors when they ask about the target market make sure that you research the tendencies and expectations of your target audience. And when you try to answer the question of how you will be cracking the market, ensure that you do it with confidence.
Besides target audience in the film industry marketing questions are also related to the trade channels for a film. This means that you need to consider whether the film will be in the cinemas in one country or several, whether you plan to enlarge marketing over the eastern market, whether you plan DVD release if you want to sell any rights to the TV channels, etc.
Without any doubts, budget questions will be asked at any film investment meeting. However, the questions will include not only the fixed sum of money you need for it but also the detailed descriptions of your calculations. Of course, not all investors are interested in such details during the first meeting with a potential beneficiary, yet, you need to be ready for everything. Besides the planned budget you need to also have a smaller “backup” budget figure because frequently investors are also curious about the plan B.
Let’s say that at some point one of your investors decides to stop your cooperation and as a result shortens your budget. Your goal is to calculate what cuts you will be able to do in this case without losing the quality of your final product.
In the latter case, when the world falls, you need to ensure that you know about de-risking methods in the British film industry. Garry Collins from Red Rock Entertainment explains that there are three basic tools:
a. If you’re dealing with a British investor who pays taxes to the country, then you can opt for attractive tax incentives under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
b. Include famous actors into your cast, they will be one of the best guarantees that your film will sell (however, The Lone Ranger is a perfect example that his sole point can’t give any guarantees).
c. Stick to the genre once you have one. If you don’t expect your film to be a high-budget project, then ensure that it’s a genre-specific one.
Keep in mind that only the combination of three de-risking methods will be of use at the meeting with your potential investor.
Mistakes are not shameful, every filmmaker makes them. However, after each pitfall, you should learn the lesson and avoid making the same blunders in the future. When your film investor asks about your previous fails, don’t hesitate about answering the question truthfully. By confessing and accepting your experience, you prove that nothing of similar nature will happen in the upcoming project. Honesty is always appreciated, keep that in mind.
Social media profile
Yes, social media profile is extremely important to other businesses than the film industry, yet the past year has proven that it’s equally vital everywhere. Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey are the participants of the loudest scandals in the industry. Your and your crew’s social profile is essential as well. If you’re a well-known anti-feminist and sexist, then selling your film will be a much harder process. Always take care of what you say, do, and post online because you are a media personality and it’s your job to care about what society thinks of you.