Finding funding for a movie?
February 17, 2008 1:39 PM   Subscribe

My friend is trying to find funds to make a movie, how should he do it?

I searched the archives but only came up with this. He's in L.A. and looking to make his first film.
posted by drezdn to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Without more specific information (genre, themes, prospective budget, shooting schedule, etcetera), the best advice anybody will be able to give is as follows: *ahem*

Find some rich people and ask them to lend you money.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:02 PM on February 17, 2008

This is a level of question that is beyond the abilities of an internet message board, but here's the spitball -- if he's got a decent script and a reel (I'm assuming he wants to direct), then what he needs next is a producer. The producer is the guy who'll find the money. A manager or agent will facilitate finding that producer. Getting an agent or manager is a whole other conversation.

There are as many sources of money in filmmaking as there are stories to tell. Studios are the most obvious source of money, but there are also individual investors (angels, we call them, because they can fund an entire film themselves), as well as investing funds made up of groups of investors specifically tailored to funding film. Hedge funds sometimes like to get involved with a film fund, because it attracts a certain type of client to their funds. Localities also have film funds -- some places actually fund movies to provide a boost to the local economy and serve as an advertisement for the area.

Check out "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" and Robert Rodriquez's book "Rebel without a Crew" as well as any number of lengthy tomes on the subject at your local library or bookstore.
posted by incessant at 2:12 PM on February 17, 2008

Have you considered a [nearly] no-budget movie? If the talent and ideas are there, you can still come up with something interesting.

But if you don't have creative friends in the community with contacts that can help you out, then you probably will have to find real financing.
posted by maudlin at 2:16 PM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

There are a few ways to do this depending on how much you need and what kind of film you plan on making. If you're aiming for studio funding then you should find an agent who can represent you and shop your script around and get people talking about it. Finding and hiring a good agent is a whole topic in itself, so I won't go into detail here. If getting an agent seems too daunting a task, you can try to approach studios yourself, but the studios receive tons of scripts each day and yours will be lumped with all the rest for the readers to go through.

Target your script to smaller production companies. Any star worth his/her salt these days probably has their own development/production company, for instance Drew Barrymore has her company called "Flower Films". Smaller=Less bullshit to wade through=Better change your script actually gets read. Plus, if you did your homework then your script will be in line with the types of movies they produce.

Put together a package. This is often what an agent will do to help sell a script. If the producer of your film (or your agent) can say that he has so and so attached to the script then people will start to listen.

In any event, be prepared to sell the shit out of your idea/script. Get your pitch down tight and do your research.


Make a website, solicit donations.

Ask friends, family, dentist, doctor, etc....

Throw huge parties.

Cash in stocks.

Sell your body to science.

Anyways, I could go on and on. As with any pursuit, the best way to handle things is with a little creativity and persistence.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 2:24 PM on February 17, 2008

First things first, he must figure out how much money he needs.

In a lot of cities (not just the big ones, even), there's some sort of filmmakers' co-op or club or whatever it might be called. Los Angeles very probably has a bunch of them. They rent out equipment, offer workshops, stuff like that. Assuming a meagre budget, they'd be the people to ask about this stuff.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:32 PM on February 17, 2008

Another book to read is "Make Your Own Damn Movie" by Lloyd Kaufman, the guy behind the Troma studio. It contains a whole chapter on raising money. It basically boils down to Faint of Butt's "find some rich people" advice, but has a bit more detail on what investors will be looking for and how to pitch a proposal.
He specifically mentions dentists and orthodontists as a demographic that has a lot of spare cash and a fondness for gore. Some of Troma's films were completely funded by groups of dentists.
Also, more than one film has been financed by everyone in the production crew maxing out their credit cards. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but works if nobody else will give you money.
posted by AndrewStephens at 3:01 PM on February 17, 2008

Robert Rodriguez sold his body for medical experimentation. As a bonus, he used his time while there to write the screenplay.
posted by tejolote at 5:25 PM on February 17, 2008

Since this is his first feature I'm assuming it will be relatively low-budget... no?

Charge it all to credit cards! Worked for Kevin Smith, whose $60,000 credit card debt to create Clerks is legendary in indie circles.
posted by mediamelt at 2:54 PM on February 18, 2008

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