GOING BIONIC: DISTRIBUTING INDEPENDENT FILMS INTERNATIONALLY – FINANCE KILLERS!!! Image

Welcome to Going Bionic #243. I trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and if you applied to Sundance, I hope you had something extra to be thankful for over the holiday weekend (in the form of an acceptance notification). However, if Sundance failed to program your genius, worry not, because your success cannot be denied; it can only be delayed, and greatness is ALWAYS delayed before its discovered.

Today we’re exploring three “finance killers” that will likely kill, or at least severely injure, the chances of your picture being funded. So, for the sake of your project and the forward progress of your career, please refrain from using these tactics in your pitch to raise investment funds.

Financing Needed to Renew Option/Rights
While I know firsthand how difficult it can be to pay for options, option extensions, and scheduled increases in the option price as months of development slip into years of development hell, the last thing you want to do is to tell your potential investors you need their investment in order to keep the rights to your project. Trust me; few things will close investor checkbooks quicker than having you admit there is a real chance you will lose the rights to the material if they don’t invest ASAP. Remember, investors don’t have, nor do they want, your time-sensitive pressures. All they want is to invest in something they believe will be a good financial or social decision for them. So, if you have to beg, borrow or steal to keep your option/rights intact throughout your fundraising stage, so be it. But, under no circumstances, should you make your project an even higher-risk investment than it already is, and asking investors to help you pay for the option will do just that.

Time Sensitive Shooting Location
Time and time again, filmmakers tell me they’re under the gun to raise the rest of their funds and start shooting, before they lose their location. Hearing such urgent news raises big red flags for me, because the project’s best-case scenario is to be rushed through production, which is never a good thing.

Seasonal Restrictions
The problem with having to shoot your film during a certain time of year is that if you’re not funded in time, you’ll have to wait one calendar year to make your film. While you may be able to wait, your investors may not be able or willing to do the same. Remember, you can’t tie up investor money forever, especially if you want them to invest in you again. Thus, if you have a season-reliant project, make sure you explore multiple options with regards to your shooting location(s), so you don’t find yourself delayed for one or more years.

That’s what I have for you today. As always, I thank you for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them once more next Tuesday. Until then, I hope you enjoy your week! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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