Applying for film grants or contacting foundations that support cinematic endeavors for money will not be covered here. These avenues aren’t usually aimed to support filmmakers that are looking to make a movie that is for pure entertainment value.
But there are options to get your movie funded!
There is an entire industry built on finding and securing financing for movies. These companies or individuals offer producer representation services for films seeking financing. They typically have relationships with private investors, banks, producers or production companies.
Many times there is an upfront fee, plus other costs to go through this process you will have to pay out of your pocket with no guarantees your movie will get financed. Like in any business there are reputable people who are good at what they do, want what’s best for their clients and can secure money to finance a movie.
There are also shady characters that are out to prey on desperate filmmakers eager to make their dreams come true. When working with outside parties to find money use your best judgment. If the situation doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
The thing to keep in mind when working with producer representation services is you will most likely not have complete control over your movie. If you ultimately desire to write and direct your own film going this road might not make that possible.
Here are a few scenarios of how it might go if your project receives a production deal. The producer representation service did their job. They found the money for your movie, but there’s a catch. The producer or production company willing to finance your project wants to bring in another screenwriter to rewrite the script, recast from scratch, and hire another director.
You might be lucky enough to stay on as a producer in name only while being paid some amount. The first time filmmaker is often on the outside looking in; reduced to whatever role the producer or production company decides to give you. It’s a strong possibility you would be credited as a producer in name only never being involved in any part of production.
In some cases if they think you have potential as a filmmaker they will keep you on the movie as a producer and might actually let you “assist” in areas of the production or hire you to write a script for them or rewrite one they already own acting as a script doctor.
Very rarely does a producer or production company give a first time filmmaker any real creative control over their project. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, because it has and does. It comes down to how hot they are for your movie.
The total “buyout” is the most likely offer a first time filmmaker will receive. They will offer you a flat amount of upfront money to obtain the distribution rights to your movie. The buyout ends any and all further involvement in your movie. Learn more about securing financing and budgeting by reading The First Movie Is The Toughest. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing FADE OUT: