Whether you are a passionate filmmaker or an amateur one trying to make your very first film, you may be familiar with the need for a business plan as one of the first steps to execute your project. An idea will only get you very far, and detailing a step-by-step plan can be beneficial for many reasons. A business plan will help you map out the process that will get your film from the idea to the actual deliverable film. In addition, it will be one of the first things your potential investors may ask from you to determine if they want to provide funding. Allen Taylor, Producer and Controller Accounting with over 30 years of experience in the film industry, provided our guests at the 2019 Film & Media workshop with a basic outline to craft a film business plan:
Your Film's Business should include these sections:
Introduction of the project
Revenue & Projections
Introduction of Film
Introduce your film idea and the main plot points. Keep the synopsis of your film short and avoid going into great detail just yet. If the idea seems impossible at first, address your strategy right away to answer any initial questions that might affect the investor’s perspective and openness to your idea. It is important to highlight the target market that your film is intended for. All aspects of your business plan should not only be aimed at fulfilling your goal but should be tailored to appropriately target your audience.
This portion of your business plan allows you to detail what kind of team you need and will also help you gain credibility in the eyes of your investor. Your idea can be great but you will need an appropriate set of skills to accomplish the final product. It is important for investors to know who they are investing in. Show them that you have a qualified team who will not only support your goals but will also protect the investor's interests.
The financing section can be one of the most important parts of the business plan. Evaluate all expenses and be conservative with your budget. Provide as much detail as possible if you are still not an experienced producer, the more conservative you are, the more realistic your financial section will be. Account for all kinds of expenses from production schedules to advertising in specific channels. This is the part where you tell your investors what kind of financing you need, and will help them determine any funding for your project.
Break down into detail what your production plan is and everything that you will need for this. These items will also help you craft your budget and financing portions.
Everyone has an opinion on whether or not you should share a script in a business plan. Some people stick with providing plot points and detailing any controversial scenes to remain transparent. If you decide to share the script in your plan you must WATERMARK it to avoid plagiarism and protect your ideas.
Revenue & Projections
This section details how your film will generate revenue and return on investments. Again, be as detailed as possible to provide conservative and realistic projections. Mention what strategies you will use to target the audience, what the main distribution channels are and why, and a cash collection process. Provide a time-frame that will help them keep track of your film’s success to generate an idea of when you can start seeing any revenue and ROI.
Cover your risk factors either on your executive summary or your business plan. Not every film is successful and you must let your investor know of anything that could possibly go wrong and how it would affect the financial outcome for them. Be sure to also detail how you are planning on mitigating these risks, showing them the investment opportunity and your plan to pay them back.
Any extra information you would like to include about your film that you consider your investor should know.
Include a written portion on what is to be agreed on if the investor decides to provide support. All film business plans will be different depending on many factors. Whatever your idea and its outcome is, keep your investor as informed as possible to avoid misunderstandings and legal struggles.
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