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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Investing in Entertainment


As an independent filmmaker it can be a tough task to get your idea into motion, and one of the biggest roadblocks is always financing.  I have recently put a script together, and before I start pre-production I needed to come up with some ways to overcome this. The biggest question is who will invest in entertainment?

The first thing to consider which is the easiest and safest bet is to ask your family members.  Maybe you get lucky and have a bored wealthy aunt who wants some excitement that comes with the red carpet. The best thing when it comes to financing using family and close friends, are the expectations can be more realistic and they won’t chase you down at the first sign of trouble.

Although if you are like me this is easier said then done, so where else could I go for help?  To answer this I decided to take a look at traditional methods for getting finances to start other projects or businesses.  This led me to a couple investors’ doorsteps.

That’s right traditional investors may be just as interested, or more so in investing in your film just as much as taking a risk investing in a more conventional business.  The thing that needs to stay the same however is a proper business plan for your film before you can knock.

Finding these investors can be tricky, and even when you do they will only have a limited time where you can capture their attention.  That’s why its important to know exactly what to show and say before you even walk in the door.

To help you with your business plan development I have come across a couple of experts in the field of writing and reviewing business plans who can help shed some light on the key components investors are looking for.

Dave Lavinsky and Jay Turo of growthink.com have been helping companies and individuals develop business plans and capitalize on those ideas since 1999.  Dave and Jay graduated from UCLA with an MBA from the school of business. 

First think of your business plan as a film treatment, which is very similar.  Give a sample script that highlights major scenes and plot details, as well as describes the main characters.  After that it should look like any other business plan, which includes your finances, competition, demographics, and other research pertinent to showing why they should invest in you.

Make sure you focus all your time telling them why they should invest in you using supporting examples from the above key factors, like explaining what you need and what their return on investment will be in terms of time and a percentage. You will be lucky to get more than five minutes before they already have made up their mind so prioritize your information.  This will still be a difficult task to find enough people to finance your film, so don't be discouraged just continue to be passionate! 

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