The Financials of Horror

If you can stand the incessant popups and ads, Forbes.com has an article looking at the financial state of Horror films. The horror genre has always been pegged as the go-to genre for profit, simply because you can more easily make low budget horror and the audience is not uncomfortable with the low budget trappings of bad acting it seems!

But, digging into the numbers there is a feeling that it is not the gold mine it once was – which will be very interesting news for low budget filmmakers.

Top 5 mistakes when trying to get funding for your doc

Another good article from over at FilmmakingStuff!

Just the other day I was having a conversation about this very topic. People in the filmmaking business just fundamentally don’t seem to understand a) business or b) raising funding (and often c) filmmaking!).

This filmmakingStuff article should point out some possible pitfalls. And really, at this stage of the game these ones are so basic it is painful that people still make them! Do your research!

Here’s your research for today:

Avoid the middle ground – in budget and viewpoint. 3 Tips from Oz.

Over at IF.com.au – which I assume to be Independent Film, not a website dedicated to the 1968 Lindsay Anderson film – they have a good article about planning the budget for your film.

To summarise (though I strongly recommend you read the whole thing) they say:

  1. Avoid the $5mAUD-$15mAUD (about $4m USD – $14m USD) budget range. To secure that funding you will have to take great risk.
  2. Go higher by partnering with other production companies
  3. Go lower and bolder to see a higher return on investment

There’s other things in there – especially in point 1 – that are very valuable.

There’s lots of great stuff on this site, especially if you are based in Australia. But production tips and info is valuable to all of us, regardless of location.

Film financing terms explained

Often filmmakers have a bit of a knowledge gap when it comes to the terms used in the financing models they might have to incorporate into their fund-raising strategies.

Over at Barcodefilms.com they’ve put together a great little article that summarises the different aspects of film financing, explained in friendly non-banker terms. All of these options may not be available to you, but, it is always best to be educated in these things!

As a side note, these guys at Barcode have a great looking film called ‘Dear Sidewalk‘ that I want to watch!

See the trailer here

A lawyers’s eye view of Film Finance

Ok. Wake up. I know… financing is boooooring. But, no money, no picture.

Over at Casting Exchange they’ve managed to get an attorney to put something in writing. The attorney is John Cones and the article, while dry, is interesting reading for those of us who sit in production offices.

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but, John (or, perhaps I should call him Mr. Cones) covers the pros and cons of using debt vs equity as a financing option.

Sorry, I nodded off there for a second.

Also of note is the fact that it’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone describe ‘His current legal domicile’.

Here it is:

Filmmaking in Eastern Europe

This article from indiewire contains a very interesting headline: How To Make A Movie In A Country With Virtually No Film Funding.

This implies that really all filmmakers need public money to get the job done. Coming from the software business, I find this a bit bizarre. I don’t ever remember hearing someone saying things like ‘oh, I’d love to write this piece of software, but, I can’t get a government grant’. Software is expected to sink or swim on it’s own. Just like everything else.

Filmmaking is a commercial practice. Most films – even documentaries – probably have a producer behind them that is hoping, secretly or otherwise, to actually make some money. Or at least not lose money. Too few indie filmmakers that I have met think about it like that. Their films often end up being precious babies that have no broad (read: commercial) appeal. Perhaps as a first-time filmmaker you shouldn’t try to make a $1 million movie.

This is not how tax money should be spent.

But, back to the article.

Jasmila Žbanić’s real problem was not (just) lack of public money but the fact that in Bosnia there are not too many professionals to call on to crew a film. Or, I would imagine as it wasn’t stated in the article, equipment to rent! But she persevered, and now the world has ‘Love Island’!

Merging Venture Capital and Film Finance

Ben Yennie over at ‘The Guerilla Rep’ blog really speaks my language! He talks a fair amount about the need for a new model in the film business and often references Silicon Valley as an inspiration.

This post of his, linked below, is a good start for one vision of a changing independent film world. And it’s pretty compelling reading, especially for those of us coming at it from the software world.