Geoff Hall is co-founder of Handy Cloud Productions, Bristol.
The Screenplay’s finished and then...unless you have your own personal wealth to draw from, it then goes on the ‘faith pile’! When the BBC don’t answer your phone calls, when the potential angel investors funding evaporates like the proverbial dew on the grass, when everyone wants to encourage ‘new talent’, but wants you to have a ‘demonstrable track-record’ to start with...I know the feeling and the frustration of asking why the inspiration for this film came in the first place.
The Big Players like the BBC, ITV or Sky Arts won’t take you on if you do not have a track-record in broadcasting. One way ‘around this’ is to form a co-production partnership for the project with someone, or some company who believe in your ‘new project’ and have compatible values for filmmaking. The BBC tariff for ‘new talent’ (on BBC4) is c£300k per broadcast hour. Whilst this sum is very appealing, believe me, you won’t get anywhere near it, if you don’t have credibility.
It is at times like this that I wish I was American! Americans are so much more geared to being patrons of the arts, whilst in Britain this is not the case. There is very limited vision for this kind of thing. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way- please add yours int he comment section.
Angel Investor networks
For example, the Wedgwood Circle in the US, will accept applications from new talent, and they are interested in 'cultural transformation'. There are also several angel investor networks in Britain such as SWAIN South West Angel Investors Network. For most applicaitons like these you will need:
- a business plan,
- an accounts summary,
- to know who your audience is and where they hang out,
- a marketing plan
- ability to share your vision for film via a video pitch.
People Funding Networks
This covers sites like Kickstarter , IndieGoGo and Crowdfunder. Such networks depend on how good YOU are at selling your project to the respective communities. These are best for short films and not feature films of course, but this can help you build that track-record everyone talks about.
For any of these approaches you will need, in addition to the above:
- Rewards for those who donate their money- these will need to be factored into your budget, as well as any commission.
- A good network of your own- invite them to donate to making your film and to pass on details to people they know
- Something different about your film project that stands out from the rest.
There are some limitations (i.e. Kickstarter works best for US based projects, and all of them take a percentage of your project funding). We've found Crowdfunder to be best for small low-budget UK based projects. As with all things, read the small print!
As indicated above, such patrons tend to live in America, but this can cause all sorts of cultural problems. There is a huge gap between European and American film cultures and such patrons need to be approached with care!
Whatever you do, it will take a lot of effort. Network like crazy. Get to know who you can depend on and don’t try to walk this path alone!