X

Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

February 18 at 8:15am

The New Model Of Indie Film Finance, v2011.1 Domestic Value & Funding

By Ted Hope

This was once going to be a single post.  Today is part three.  There will be at least two more to come.  I started it here. And then yesterday we tried to determine the factors for accessing foreign value.  Today, let’s look stateside.

Until the double whammy of Toronto 2010 & Sundance 2011, it looked like the US acquistion market for feature content had fully collapsed.  No reasonable P&L would have shown more than a modest six figures for US acquisitions.  Hybrid & DIY models have not been developed yet to consistently deliver returns in excess of this amount (or even at these figures).  Perhaps this is now changing, but it would still be foolish for any filmmaker or investor to expect this and we can’t budget for such expectation.

How many of the 7500 films produce in the US annually return 20% of their negative cost from US licenses?  Although it puts emerging filmmakers at a great disadvantage, I think the surest determining factor for predicting US acquisition potential is the filmmakers’ track record.  If you have found buyers previously, you are well suited to find them again — and even still exceeding that 20% is the exception and not the rule.

When the US market was depressed, I often had sales agents & finance experts challenge me with the claim that the market wasn’t down; it was just that there were no good films.  People like to think that good films sell for good prices.  If 7000 American films can raise money to fund their works and no films are selling, what are those investors thinking when they fork over their cash?  They can’t be thinking that are actually helping their children or nephews and nieces when they give them money only to recognize their failure?  They must be thinking that they are making good films, and all 7000 can not be 100% wrong.

Clearly we are at a point in US film culture where the infrastructure is not serving either the investors, the creators, or the audiences.  Good films are getting made but not being delivered to their audience.  Last year I went to a film investor conference. Several other producers were invited and we all asked to pitch projects.  None of us left with funding, but the investors said to me that I was the only one that addressed how we would deal with the reality of not just getting our film to market, but bringing it to the ultimate end-users — the audience.  As artists build communities around their projects in advance of actual production, they are developing a plan to give domestic value to their films.  It is hard to imagine that any artist will be able to do enough pre-orders to predict 20% of negative costs from the USA — unless they are working on microbudgets — but taking a step forward is still a better plan than surrender to the unknown.

So where are we now in the process of getting your films funded?  If you’ve gotten your foreign sales estimates, and you can somehow reasonably anticipate a 20% of Negative Cost US Acquisition License, you are in great shape.  That is, you are in great shape if you have foolish investors.  The wise ones will still be wondering about how they cover sales fees, sales expenses, and the opportunity costs on the money.  Those numbers are still routinely ignored in many business plans for indie film I find.  If you are working with semi-literate investors, you will still be scrambling to find another 25% or so of your negative costs.

How will you fund your film if you can not predict full recoupment from the combined US & foreign licenses?  Fortunately, if your film is set in America, you can pull in some tax credit relief.  Otherwise, I hope you carry a foreign passport, and qualify for foreign subsidies.  If you plan on cash flowing any of this soft money, don’t forget to discount them and budget for the additional legal expense.  From personal experience, I find it hard to justify the costs of cash flowing soft money on the type of budgets we are talking about  – but that’s good news.  In the NMOIFFv2011.1 you are wise to treat this soft money as revenue towards the project so that such aforementioned costs will be covered.

If you are fortunate enough to have all of these rare qualities (foreign value, US acquisition potential, strong team with a track record, soft money qualifications, and cash flow partners) inherent to your project, you probably are still wondering where’s the upside.  How do we get to profit?

I think we now have a subject for tomorrow’s post.  Stay tuned.

  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print

115 Comments

leave a comment
  1. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this blog.

  2. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the finest blogs online. I will recommend this web site!

  3. web page / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and individually recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this site.|

  4. Suggested Browsing / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Every weekend i used to visit this site, for the reason that i wish for enjoyment, since this this web site conations in fact good funny information too.|

  5. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    I like reading a post that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  6. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Good info. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!

  7. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    After checking out a few of the articles on your web site, I seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and tell me your opinion.

  8. web page / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Hi there, yes this paragraph is in fact pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it about blogging. thanks.|

  9. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your content. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

  10. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your web site.

  11. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    I’m more than happy to find this page. I need to to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely liked every little bit of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new stuff on your blog.

  12. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Good blog you have got here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  13. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Excellent blog post. I certainly love this website. Stick with it!

  14. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Excellent post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Stick with it!

  15. www / Feb 18 at 8:15am

    Your style is really unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!