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The Vital Importance You Should Be Giving To Your Films Fundraising Process - But That Most Fail At

When you decide to make a film, and for now let's narrow this topic to features only, and start getting the ball rolling; writing or acquiring a script in some way, starting tentative casting and crewing (while all really still in development or very, very early prep) etc... when do you seriously think about how to fund the whole endeavour?

We've all been here, even me! We get all very excited about our film idea and rush to get it down on paper AND AT THE SAME TIME rush to get started filming the damn thing. But I see a lot of people cutting corners, skipping ahead, running before they can walk etc.

But funding seems to keep being pushed to the back and the attitude become, "I'll do that tomorrow."

But tomorrow never seems to come.

And that's probably because the whole process of fundraising, whether via traditional film funding schemes or from professional equity investors or most likely a combination of both, is most likely to be highly misunderstood, under-estimated, confusing, misconstrued etc.

And for a number of possible reasons:

* Lack of experience
* Lack of knowledge
* Lack of contacts
* Lack of confidence
* Lack of ability
* Plus more...

I greatly appreciate though, that you don't need to a master of all aspects of filmmaking. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Many people's strengths are in the actual making, the production or technical stage, of a film and not the administration or management side. But that's not to say that your focus should be wholly and solely ignorant in areas of lesser ability. A good filmmaker, or shall we say a director, should definitely have a very clear sense of all the trades involved, what they do, how they do it, and how they all link together to become a whole, and in this case, a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

But, in areas requiring specialised expertise, knowledge and experience that is lacking in your skillset, you most definitely need to find someone to fill that/those roles.

So, if you or your current above-the-line team doesn't include anyone with fundraising skills, you need to make finding that person a top priority.

Remember, it doesn't matter how amazing your script is, or how fabulous your actors are, if you have no cash, you have no film.

Let me now jump back a number of steps.

Once you have a reasonably developed script, you should have a rough idea of how much it should cost to bring the words on paper to the screen. And then this is the point, at the latest, that you should bring on board a producer to help create an initial schedule that will help a budget to be prepared.

If you've never scheduled or budgeted a film before, then allow a professional to do it. All too often, an inexperienced filmmaker will produce them with a highly subjective eye and most likely ending up with a schedule and a budget that are far too optimistic that will mislead the remaining development.

Investors and funders will see this type of rookie mistake a mile off and you'll either be asked to go away and rework the documents, or the door will close to any further engagement.

And the most obvious conclusion for a fully packaged film project that is based on a poor schedule and budget is that you'll have to go back to square one and start again. No one is ever going to give you money to make a film that has bad assumptions for its production.

* You anticipated a 45-day shoot, but in reality, it's likely to be 60+ days
* Some filming locations are not available now for the extended days needed
* Cast and/or crew's schedules may not permit them to stay on your project for more time due to other projects contracted for
* Budget will increase massively due to extended shoot duration PLUS potential premium fees for cast and crew - perhaps a set has been built that has to to be struck after 4 weeks due to other clients using the space thereafter. Once you then finally get back in, you may have additional costs to rebuild part or all of it again

The consequences are infinite and mindboggling!!!

So, in summary. Don't forget about or leave the fundraising till the last minute or to someone with little to no skills of performing the job functions properly.

Would love your feedback, thoughts or experiences.

Woz