Staten Island residents were recently haunted by images on social media of a creepy clown photographed stalking the borough’s neighborhoods. Investigators eventually connected the pictures to a local film production studio, Fuzz on the Lens Productions, that apparently posted the pictures as a publicity stunt. Fortunately, you don’t have to hire an evil clown to launch your own film production company. We’ll walk you through it:
Start With a Business Plan
Film financing consultant Louise Levison, whose successes include “The Blair Witch Project,” told MovieMoney.com it’s essential you start with a business plan. She recommends your plan include an executive summary, business goals, a film project overview, a market analysis of your industry niche, a distribution strategy, a risk statement and financial projections.
Keep Your Expenses Low
Low-budget film legend Roger Corman, who has been in the business since 1953 and made such films as “The Little Shop of Horrors,” told Daily Finance that the most important part of low-budget filmmaking is pre-production planning. Intermix Design creative director R. Bruce Perry concurs, saying he learned early that the secret to surviving the video production business is keeping overhead low. Perry said on VideoMaker.com that you don’t necessarily need a company office or receptionist—instead, he taps resources such as family and friends to lower personnel costs.
No matter how much you trim your budget, chances are you’ll still need financing. The Online Film School recommends attracting independent film financiers by starting with small projects to demonstrate your ability to handle bigger productions (this is a good strategy for building a video production portfolio, too).
For your first project or two, you may be self-financing. Exercise caution when using your own credit, as doing so may impact your ability to get a loan in the future. If you receive regular payments from a structured settlement, you may be able to sell your future payments for a lump sum of cash now to help cover costs. To finance bigger-budget projects, independent producer Cassian Elwes told NoFilmSchool.com that pre-sale distribution deals can attract bank lenders. Elwes also suggests selling tax credits and splitting funding between equity investors and other parties investing at low risk.
Use High-Leverage Marketing Strategies
To persuade investors you’re a good risk, have an air-tight marketing plan. For entertainment films, this starts with a plot synopsis you can use for pitches and festival submissions. Independent film marketing strategist Sheri Candler provides a checklist that covers everything you need to do from pre-production to post-release publicity.
For video film production services, Emmy-winning writer/producer Michael Fitzer stresses on VideoMaker.com the importance of doing quality work to create satisfied clients and generate referrals. You can then feature completed projects on a website portfolio. Fitzer also recommends cold calling potential prospects and promotional partners. For instance, if you’re building a wedding video business, you can call local wedding planners and bridal shops.
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