INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: How to Find Investors For Your Film

By Stacey Parks, founder of Film Specific

At the moment, I'm working with a handful of clients all at the same stage: they need to find financing for their films. Sound familiar? What's interesting is that when a producer first comes to me they want to know "where can I find investors to give me $1/$5/$10 (insert amount) million for my film". And my answer is always the same…

What are you offering in return for the $1/$5/$10 million you're asking for?

Of course there's usually silence after that, or some mangled explanation of how they are going to pay the investor back through 'big box office receipts' (without even realizing of course that producers don't see any money from box office receipts so that's totally irrelevant!)

Here's the deal – why do you want to find investors in the first place without building up a value proposition (ie: package) for your film first? These stories of producers without track records raising millions in private equity for a films without marketable talent, market based financing in place, and even good commercial scripts puzzles me to no end.

You're putting the cart before the horse!

Instead of thinking like this – "I have a script I need $5 million to make, where can I find investors?"  switch to this "I have a script, need $5 million to make it, how can I package this and get justification from the market first BEFORE I even think about finding investors"

I mean, what's the use raising $1/$5/$10 million for your film if you have no clue how you're going to pay the investors back (and believe me, you won't at these budget levels unless you've got the right elements in place.)

So even if you could hoodwink investors with a good sales pitch into giving you money, why would you want to? 

Call me crazy but to me it seems useless to have the discussion of 'where can I find investors' until you've actually got something of value to offer. And if you're starting with no track record, that doesn't matter – it just means you have to build up your package even more to compensate for the fact that you're still new to the business. (there are no shortcuts!)

What do you think? I see so many questions every day about where to find investors but again, do you really want to take an investors' money irresponsibly without taking the time to put together something of value (that includes talent AND market based financing as part of your overall finance plan)? Unless your budget is in the micro budget range, it just doesn't make logical sense.