Now that you have a winning idea, you have written as a screenplay, and you have budgeted correctly for the production, the next question is the business question: What is the financial model for this project? As you will see in the section to follow, there are a number of different ways to profit on a film project. After selecting the correct market channels for your film, you can then estimate the expected earnings based on the historic information from projects similar to that of your project, that have been sold through the same market channels you are selling your project through. It is like an insurance company using actuary tables for predicting outcomes; nothing is guaranteed, but past performances help project future behaviors and earnings.
So now that you have the work set in motion, you must gather the funding necessary to cover your budget so that you can now make the picture. The challenge here is that your potential investors are looking blindly into your idea. So, the next step is to consider the right type of investor for your project and then to put together an appropriate proposal for those investors. Some projects are picked up and funded by one of the six major studios but the majority of movies made are privately financed on a film-by-film basis.
There are three categories of filmmakers in the industry:
- Major Studios
- Production Companies
- Independent Filmmakers
With the backing of one of the six major studios, the film is financed, marketed, and distributed through their long-held pre-determined system. However, when a studio backs a film the filmmakers involved tend to become what we call ‘work-for-hires;’ which means they lose much of their influence over the direction of the project. Additionally, financing a screenplay or film through the studio can take several years.
When a film is financed independently, as most films are, the filmmaker has greater creative control in the screenplay and in the movie-making process. However, an independently financed film must also arrange the distribution and marketing for its projects. This could still be done through a studio by what is called a “negative pick-up,” where the studio agrees to distribute a film even though it did not finance it. Additionally, there are various smaller distribution companies that regularly release films into the market.
Production companies, like Continuum Pictures, have pre-established relationships that help expedite their production process as well as maintain and foster distribution and marketing relationships. In many regards, the Production Companies operate as a ‘best of both worlds’ hybrid between independent and studio financed projects. We can move as quickly as we want, as independent filmmakers can, but we have the resources to market, distribute, and produce numerous projects simultaneously as studios can. We at Continuum Pictures have numerous projects in various stages of development at all times.
Production Companies also have access to distribution companies, which include the studios, giving us access to theaters nationwide. Beyond that we have distributor relationships solely for foreign markets where each is sold individually by country or region.
The rest is now a matter of execution; this is where the quality of your team becomes your greatest asset. The production has been funded, scheduled, rehearsed, filmed, edited, scored, and set for distribution, and now it is available for the world to enjoy.
Email Mark Davis, Executive Producer, and get your idea started today!