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Looking for advice on starting a Limited Production Company

I'm sure this subject has been discussed in other threads but I can't seem to find one with the answers that I need. I am basically looking for advice or case studies on limited companies on low-budget film shoots.

I have started a production company, They're Here Productions LTD, in order to produce a feature film next year. However, I have been advised by numerous professionals to create ANOTHER limited production company, for example Name Of The Film Limited, which would own the rights to the film, take the profits from the film, and then pay those profits to They're Here Productions LTD. What is unclear to me is why two companies need to exist so that one pays the other, when the first company could just own the rights and recoup the profits by itself?

It would be handy if there was a clear, step-by-step guide to the process for filmmakers who have little to no business experience, so if anyone has any links or could create one with ease that would be amazing. Personally, I just want to make a bloody film!

Any advice would be amazing, Elliott

  • Every project is structured differently, so there is no single answer. What people are advising is to increase your options and decrease your risk.

    You want to make 2 films, let's say you do it through one company - first one is a hit, second one is a miss, losses outweigh profits, how do you explain to your investors that they lost everything investing in your hit movie? Separate SPVs (specific production vehicles) keep the risks isolated from one another, so investors in the hit take a profit, in the flop they take a loss. That may not be the same group of people, so it insulates the ones who spotted a winner. It also means you can run other business through your production company (eg a music video with a modest profit) without complicating the film finances.

    It'll make things a lot simpler for tax credits etc., too. There's no specific legal imperative, but it's certainly a good idea.

    You will inevitably need a film accountant and advisor to help with this - your first year tax return for instance is going to cost you a grand or so, and is pretty much what it costs, more if there's anything fancy like tac credits, RTR and running payroll on PAYE, doing your VAT, etc. There's nothing casual about being a company director, so it's up to you to be up on a whole load of stuff that nobody will tell you - which is why an accountant is essential. PM me if you want the contact of a chartered accountant I've used for films, very involved in the sector and plenty of low budget expertise, alternatively some members here pop up offering accounting services sometimes. Be aware that multiple companies mean multiple sets of accounts and multiple fees, so don't set up your SPV until it's essential.

    Any help?

    1 year ago
  • great answer

    1 year ago
  • Thats a great answer from Paddy :-) Its so easy to storm ahead sure your films is going to be a success but there are so many things that could go wrong during filming that could cost you a LOT, never mind whether the film itself is a hit. It is definitely a risk control, but as with everything it all costs to set up front. Good advice from Paddy, I'd follow that.

    1 year ago
  • I am a professal film accountant, you can call me and i will point you in the right direction.
    Parvez 07958 654136

    1 year ago
  • You can also sell shares, raise finance loans etc against the film asset in say company TWO without effecting your everyday core business in COMPANY ONE.

    But of course that makes twice the cost.

    Thanks Tony

    1 year ago
  • Hi Elliot,

    If you need a company setup to produce a feature film/documentary, that needs 'Advanced Assurance' please get in touch. As you will need a prospectus (you need that to hand to investors) compiled with the necessary information to pass the eligibility criteria set by HMRC for AA. I do these docs in conjunction with accountant Philip Gambrill & Co (google him 1st result in the list). You can contact him and mention me and this thread or contact me directly to discuss SEIS/EIS investment. Amongst Philip's many clients is Raindance.

    We will also explain how you use the SPV and how not to, as the prospectus has to be very specific about what the SPV is for.

    Br,
    ian@projectionpictures.com.

    1 year ago
  • You could always come and say hello to us... :-)

    1 year ago
  • Elliot Hi

    Whilst advance assurance is comforting, it's not necessary in order to get going. I've been involved in many EIS/SEIS company set ups - check www.howtofundafilm.com

    'Experts' will charge you fees for advance assurance when it's not needed. It gives some comfort to your investors, but it does not guarantee compliance.

    Anyhow, that's my penny's worth. Good luck.

    Ivan

    1 year ago
    • Hi Ivan (Ellliot),

      In which circumstances is advanced assurance not needed please?

      Br,
      ian@projectionpictures.com

      1 year ago
    • @Ian Mansfield

      Morning Ian - Meant this for you:

      The real question is, 'Why bother with AA? What benefit does it bring?'.

      AA is only required as a comfort as I have already outlined. It may make you feel warm, fuzzy, more confident and it may even impress investors. However, as long as your trade qualifies, it is unnecessary to procure AA.

      What's more, AA does not 'Assure' that you continue to qualify. There are, as you are probably aware, many hoops that have to be jumped through in order to maintain compliance.

      I'm just rather tired of companies charging inexperienced film makers exorbitant, and mostly unnecessary, fees. Especially when then continue with repeat fees.

      This ain't rocket science. Just persistence with a great deal of care and common sense needs to be applied.

      Regards,

      Ivan Clements
      Producer / Writer / Director
      07932220000
      ivan@withitifilms.com

      1 year ago
  • Morning Elliot,

    The real question is, 'Why bother with AA? What benefit does it bring?'.

    AA is only required as a comfort as I have already outlined. It may make you feel warm, fuzzy, more confident and it may even impress investors. However, as long as your trade qualifies, it is unnecessary to procure AA.

    What's more, AA does not 'Assure' that you continue to qualify. There are, as you are probably aware, many hoops that have to be jumped through in order to maintain compliance.

    I'm just rather tired of companies charging inexperienced film makers exorbitant, and mostly unnecessary, fees. Especially when then continue with repeat fees.

    This ain't rocket science. Just persistence with a great deal of care and common sense needs to be applied.

    Regards,

    Ivan Clements
    Producer / Writer / Director
    07932220000
    ivan@withitifilms.com

    1 year ago
  • On Udemy.com there is free course about creating a limited company in the Uk.

    1 year ago