Basic Film Funding Introduction

Matching Products to Demographics
From what you may have gathered from my bio (if you read it) is that I have a bit of experience with wrangling product placement in films. It sounds glamorous and appealing when you explain your occupation at cocktail parties but the harsh reality is that it isn’t easy. In fact, it can be a roller-coaster ride of uncertainty. I got into this industry through dumb luck after finishing a post-grad marketing degree.

I recall my drive home after meeting with my first executive producer and being so excited about the possibility of my oncoming fortune while singing along to Kanye West. I then remember reading my first script and thinking, “Here we go, this week a script and next week I’ll be dating Amy Stone.”

Reality soon set in and it became an uphill battle of finding qualified companies, getting my foot in the door and trying to make that value connection. As time progressed deals were made and I’m now writing for Film Army in an attempt to help filmmakers on any scale dodge the bear traps that ended up snapping on me.

Instead of a long-winded explanation of what skills I have acquired through my time working with filmmakers, I will immediately explore how one can set up some facets of their film fund generation plan to acquire private (ranged) funding for their film.

The first thing that you need to figure out is the target audience of the film:
• Where do they go to eat?
• What kinds of clothes do they buy and who makes them?
• What do they read?

By understanding the market (demographics) of your film you’re able to come up with a list of consumer products they associate with. These are the initial product types that are made up to generate your first list of prospects for general funding. But, before you can even do any cold calling or networking, you must decide their compensation for aiding you in your rise to stardom.

What are some of the things that companies need? And how can you give it to them at a small to no cost? Your biggest weapon here is the ability to speak directly to their customer bases. This can also be bolstered by enhancing your product with entrance into festivals and appealing to media outlets that also speak to your shared market.

Coca Cola/Bill Cosby Product Integration
Bill loves his Coca Cola.

Plan Package
Your plan package should be broken down into a few parts, usually starting with production house information, directors, location and planned shooting start/end time. This can be followed with a short logline or synopsis of the film. This way potential prospects immediately know what sort of genre they are getting themselves into. If you have done a good job qualifying your potential leads before this time, you should be able to muster some interest based on your film’s content.

Now for your meat and potatoes – the breakdown of your sponsorship/placement packages available for sale. This is where you will value aspects of your offer. It’s common to see packages set up in a tiered system of gold, silver and value. With variable pricing based on what you plan to incorporate in each section. It’s important to remember to be flexible in these tiers.

This is also an opportunity to link your ideas of awareness and other forms of PR generation. Example: Film X has a plot linked with a lot of action scenes and “gun fights” (for lack of a better term). This gives you the opportunity to add a section to your placement package stating any shooting ranges who agree to a setting placement agreement must include an afternoon package for two at their shooting range. With that option, production can leverage that by including it as a possible raffle item for a top donator on an donation package.

Media Partnerships and PR
This is a great way to sell your film to prospective donors. Local media (if you are working on a smaller geographic base) makes for a quick cheap way to inform the community about your film, as well as allow for plugs of your sponsors. This, in essence, is a large discount for these businesses, as opposed to buying regularly priced radio ads. It is also possible to invite these media bodies to private screenings in order to attain more local advertising at little to no cost after relationships have been made.

The biggest point I want to get across in my first Film Army article is to examine every advantage you have to bring funding into your project. More importantly, find the innovation you have to develop new ways to reach your market effectively and the market of your clients; make your fundraising ideas as creative as your films plot.

Please comment below or send me emails with any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to offer a solution, or at least point you in the right direction.