Saturday, 10 December 2022

Why will people invest in your film?

So why would people invest?

Why will an investor give you cash to make your movie when everyone knows film is a VERY risky proposition? In my experience, people invest because a few factors.

They like you, and they believe you can pull it off
This is where you passion and past experience come into play. Watch ‘Dragons Den’ and you will see this in action. If you can speak with enthusiasm, back it up with statistics, show past successes and convey massive commitment, you are in a great place. Most people invest in YOU and not the project. And everyone loves to boast how they discovered you.

They like the project
People also invest in things they like or would like to be a part of. Zombie movies, rom-com, thrillers, documentary – all projects have different interest levels from any one person. While taste is important, above all, they want to see you succeed and see their investment bear fruit. Remember, their investment may NOT be entirely about cash, it may be to see you succeed or for you to promote a cause. Having said that, NO-ONE wants to flush cash down the toilet if they feel they could make a return. No-one.

They are investing inside their comfort level
Try to ensure that people invest sensibly. Don’t get relatives to remortgage homes for instance (I have seen that happen and it never ends well). People should only invest what they can comfortably lose or gamble. Many people on the upper tax threshold may well be able to gamble a few thousand, especially when they know around half may be guaranteed by the EIS / SEIS or UK Film Tax Credit. Bottom line, if people can afford it, they are much more likely to do it.

They are knowingly taking a large risk and comfortable with that
This begins with you being straight about the odds. Ironically, being honest about the chances of failure actually increases your chances of investment. I know it seems counter intuitive, but it’s about them feeling confident that they are fully informed and that you are not a crazy dreamer.

Every year people get funded to walk up Mount Everest. That’s an insane proposition where people die regularly. In backing such a crazy endeavour, part of the investor goes on that journey too. But… no-one would back an inexperienced walker who fancied giving it a go, who had done a bit of research on the internet but that’s all. If I were to back such a venture, I would want to see photos of them at Everest basecamp, showing they had been there. I would want to see people who had made it to the summit included in their team. I would want to see industry support from a hiking company, someone endorsing this adventure. It’s still hugely risky, but I feel I now know the odds, and perhaps more importantly, THEY know the odds.

They can get some assurance that they will see returns
Film can make money very easily! Its not rocket science! Investors will see a return, keeping in mind that you have a strong grip on the budget and you do not foolishly spend money or get carried away with money!

People you meet on the journey will give you cash
Once a film moves from an idea to an action, to it being made, people who have been sitting on the fence are forced to decide one way or another. Once you have something to show, so long as it is good, people become attracted to you and your film. This is a very powerful aphrodisiac to investors. And as film is such a crazy endeavour, we often find ourselves in unexpected places meeting new people. These chance meetings, when you are at your most exhausted but also your most passionate and vibrant, can often lead to new investment too. Keep your eyes open at all times.

Ask and you will receive
Perhaps the most simple piece of advice is to ask for money. I am amazed at how many people fail to do this.