Arranging funds for an independent film can be really an uphill task. Compared to that, developing a good and strong storyline or coming up with a screenplay is a lot easier. The independent filmmakers often determine the scale and kind of film they are going to make depending on the resources they have ready at hand or the funds they will be receiving. In the case of Hollywood productions, mostly are high-budget and the funds are generally arranged by the production companies. On the other hand, independent films don’t have that luxury. Lack of funds hampers creativity. Irrespective of the budget of an independent film, you will need to chalk out funding strategies and make plans to procure the necessary funds. Below are some ways to do that.
Crowdfunding can be a viable option to arrange funds for your independent film project. However, before you step forward, you need to be absolutely confident about what you are planning to make. In other words, there should not be any insecurity remaining about your project. If you are not convinced and thoroughly passionate about your own work, you can’t expect the producers or investors to find value in it. In case you have just stepped into the world of filmmaking and it's your first project, getting financers for your work might get harder.
One effective strategy that you can use here is to come up with incentives and explain to people why they should donate to your project. You need to give them proper reasons. Some filmmakers give their donors DVDs, merchandise, film credits, premiere seats, and even a meeting with the film’s crew and director. These are all incentives that can attract investors. If you can get them involved in your project that will surely raise their interest in it. Asking your near and dear ones for funds can be a great option as well. You can offer the same incentives to them.
As discussed before, private filmmakers go through a tough time finding investors for their projects. There are times when you have nowhere to go and the only option left with you is spending from your own pocket on the actors, materials, equipment, licenses, and several other requirements. You shouldn’t get into this. You can cut down on the financial risks if a potential investor agrees to enter into a partnership with you. With that being said, you can’t entirely diminish the risks even if that happens.
Don’t forget the returns on the investment that an investor would expect from you after you complete the film. Not only that, but they would also ask for everything, including profits, that has been mentioned in the agreement. Unless you have people from your family to support you or know wealthy people, finding investments is going to be a tough job. The main reason for this is that independent films don’t rake in that much profit as high-budget Hollywood films do. Investors will look for profits and that’s natural. Unless your production is experienced enough and has renowned actors on board, investors wouldn’t be much interested.
Grants & Fellowships
Aside from crowdfunding and private investors, getting funds through grants and fellowships is another option you have in your kitty. Independent filmmakers have the freedom as they don’t have to worry about giving the returns back to an investor. If you don’t want to sacrifice the creative aspect and the vision that you have for your project, you can opt for grants and fellowships.
Organizations that offer this financial assistance have their own set of prerequisites that you have to fulfill. Do thorough research on the organizations that deal with this and prepare an application according to the requirements. Fellowships are similar to grants with some slight differences between them. As far as fellowships are concerned, you have to respect the extra commitments. Also, there will be a residency where you will stay and receive training during the filming of your project.
Independent filmmakers and film distributors can give their nod to pre-sale agreements if the former is looking for options to fund their project. The contract can be put into place by film distributors if they notice that a project is marketable and have a certain profitable strength. After the agreement is signed, the filmmaker will receive a fixed price for your project. Distribution agreements are a great step forward if one wants funds for their independent project.
Independent filmmaking is not easy. Finding funds for an independent project is tougher. Finance is also the key factor since it works as the bridge between starting from scratch to seeing your film getting ready.