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As a producer building a fundable film package, the budget and schedule provided by the line producer are your starting point. You go UP from there.
There are several people you need to identify before you shoot a film in order to get it funded quickly.
Letters of intent from a Production Insurance company and a Completion Bond company is required to receive most film funding. Both Production Insurance Companies and Completion Bond Companies review the script, the budget, the key crew, the shooting schedule and talk to the line producer before giving a letter of intent. So if they say a film is “good to go” then it has been vetted by pros and is likely to be (from a production standpoint) safe to produce. This increases a funder’s sense of comfort dramatically.
In order to take money for a film, the money has to go into some bank account that is associated with some company. You need to form an LLC or a Corporation to separate your assets from the film’s assets. Talk to your lawyer if you don’t understand how or why to set up these business entities.
Having created a production schedule, a distribution plan, and revenue projections, you should now be in a position to create a worksheet that outlines, on a week by week basis, when funding will be used and when revenues will be received.
If you go online and search for terms like “film finance”, “entertainment capital”, “entertainment holdings” you’ll find hundreds of listings for those who invest in film. You can approach them by phone, fax or email. Phone works best if you are good at pitching your project on the phone. Note that these folks are easy to approach. They do this for a living. They like to get calls about new business. If they are rude, say “Thanks” and move along.
There are no universal rules in the film industry. Film productions, by their very nature, are constructed by very small teams which means decisions by a very small number of people are required to make some very big decisions. There are films that have been funded based on nothing more than a few lines on a napkin. There are other films made by proven filmmakers than never got funded for reasons no one ever quite understood. (see: Orson Wells).
If you want to produce a feature film you need many things, most of which are relatively easy to acquire. You need a script, a camera, a camera man, lights, a location, a crew, etc.
Almost every first time filmmaker is startled by just how hard it is to get people to help him make his project. Whether it’s the 1-day short film short they can’t get chairs for or the eight million dollar feature they can’t raise a dime for . . . they are dismayed that people are so unhelpful.