Follow up after-session resources for Session 6 Cents and Sensibility: Financing the Micromovie


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Follow up after-session resources for Session 6 Cents and Sensibility: Financing the Micromovie

Pozible Handbook http://www.pozible.com/help/handbook

Transparency Australia http://www.transparencyau.org/

Below Five Zero festival; below $50k, focus on first-timers: http://www.belowfivezero.com.au/

Lean filmmaking http://leanfilmmaking.com/ (Kylie Eddie)

Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Lean-Filmmaking-Melbourne/

Screenpro http://www.screenpro.tv/

Indivillage http://www.indievillage.org/

Crowdfundit  http://www.crowdfundit.com.au/tag/jess-milne/

Indiewire http://www.indiewire.com/

FilmSpecific http://members.filmspecific.com/public/main.cfm

Download  Screen Australia’s  report, “Issues In Feature Film Distribution 2015” http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/9598b9f7-321b-45f3-b5e8-7870166487fc/IssuesInFeatureFilmDistribution_2015-07-30.pdf

An excerpt:

What’s changed?

• For producers, the need to understand the film and its audience – from the beginning – has become even more critical.

• Given recent shifts in audience behaviour and expectations, producers need to think and act creatively to connect their film with its identified audience, and be more aware of distribution opportunities and challenges.

• As business models across the various platforms continue to evolve, distribution deals done at financing stage may be less straightforward; it is both more important and more difficult to make the right distribution deals with the right partners at the right time.

• For the same reasons, producers need to be more engaged and better informed in working with their chosen distribution partners, understanding and using their expertise.

• New opportunities are emerging for producers to earn revenue directly on digital platforms, although mostly at very low levels, and to exploit back catalogue.

Sources of funding

  • Private investment
  • Crowdfunding
  • Self/ producers
  • Festival funds
  • Facility Deals
  • Branded Entertainment
  • Product Placement
  • Market: Pay TV; FTA TV License Fee; Int. Advance/Pre-sales; Distribution Guarantee
  • Other Gov’t departments: Health; Tourism; Education; Equal Opportunity; Mutlicultural
  • Documentary Australia Foundation
  • Arts grants – other than film
  • Screen Australia/ State Agency
  • Direct subsidy
  • Gap Financing/ Bank
  • Producer Offset (not apply to micro)

 

PRACTICES

  • Back end finance / completion finance on micros? the proof of concept approach
  • Community engagement and relationship to finance, cultivating the community, shooting in a regional area where town gets behind etc
  • Branded entertainment opportunities, getting money without selling out!
  • Crew/cast working for scale, or flat fee, or as ‘investors’ / profit participation / backed deals what’s possible (within and outside the system)
  • Micro is all about audience: find; reach; cultivate; engage.

 

THINK OUTSIDE THE SQUARE, FOR EXAMPLE

  • Auction off the Executive Producer credit for the film on e-Bay!
  • Have angel investors each respectively “sponsor” characters in the film e.g. Your favourite Aunt can sponsor a charatcer of her choosing, for a fee (to be determined), and then have the right to attend a rehearsal session involving that actor and be on the film set for a day when that actor performs.  Also get a selfie with the actor.  Then, in the end-credits of the film, it can credit your favourite Aunt as the sponsor of that character.
  • Have an unsigned music band pay the production company for their music to be included in the film in return for a front-end credit (as well as a back-end credit) on the film.  That way, you get free music from an “up and coming” band and the band pays you money for the privilege of having their music featured in the film and getting screen credits.

 

TAKE-OUTS FROM PANELIST JULIE BYRNE

Given the session’s about money, talking about financing and/or budgeting on the one hand is easy.

However in regards to making money from the back end: as a producer I’ve not earnt a cent from any of the lo/micro budget films I’ve produced.  I’ve taken fees from the production budget, but mostly very low or re-invested (a common story for producers and not just across micro films either) so someone else on the panel may have more to say about this.

Thinking that profiting from micro-budget films, ie. low costs = more room to recoup, is a trap many filmmakers fall into it I think, despite the examples of the successful ones that do storm home at the box office, so perhaps a good thing to raise in the discussion.

My take generally, is there is no rule of thumb to success and I don’t believe there is a magic path to follow now either, despite new and clever strategies we might devise to meet the challenges of the fast changing distribution and exhibition landscape!   It’s such an unpredictable space to play in basically and therefore success for indie/micro/low budget films in the landscape of box office pressure depends on so many elements coming together – script of course, and great directing and casting yes, but surprising audiences by giving them something they don’t know they want until they have it (Blair Witch for example) clever marketing, connections and friends in the ‘right’ places (film festival programmers for e.g.), timing, luck, and a whole lot else! all play a part as well and even then there is no guarantee the film will ‘rise above the noise’ and actually make money!

 

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