Since then, i've come to know a few film-makers who have made their films using money donated via their websites...some film-makers are using this method alone and not investing any of their own money...just their time.
The model usually works something like this:
They set up a donation/investment webpage or use something like Kickstarter to take the pledges/donations. In return for varying amounts, they offer different packages. For £10, the investor might get a mention in the credits. For £50 they might get a DVD, a mention in the credits and T-Shirt. For £500 they are sometimes offered parts in the movie itself as well as all the other perks. Some movies are even offering 'Executive Producer' status for big enough investments.
The film-maker usually sets a target budget that they are trying to raise and then they use social networking sites to bring traffic to their fundraising site and generally spread the word.
Now, this is good for several reasons:
- The Film-maker retains control of the project
- Investors/Donors often help to publicise the project
- No one invests so much that they are relying on success
- Your investors won't tell you what you can/can't do with the money
- It can be tricky tax-wise. Are they investors or donors?
- Your film must appeal to a wide range of people... the more specialist the subject matter, the less investors will be part of your target audience
- If your first film funded this way bombs... your audience & investors may not want to invest again
- You need a very good pitch to get investment. That means before you have your budget, you need to show people what your vision is..that might mean a trailer, some 'name' cast or even a previous film. Not easy with no money in the bank yet.
So what other options are there? As we all saw with 'Four Eyed Monsters', credit card funded movies are not the way forward. Arin and Susan had to recoup a lot of money to cover their credit card debt before they even got close to turning a profit. It's a one-shot deal. Once you're in debt...it's hard to borrow money ever again.
What about private investment? It's always worth a go... approach someone with enough cash to fund your movie with your plan and see what happens. But, to be honest... most people know that even movies with 'name' directors and cast can flop...so it's always a risky investment. That said, people are very often eager to be part of 'the movie business' and this can work in your favour. There's always the outside chance that your movie will be the next 'Paranormal Activity' or 'Blair Witch Project'.
My next film is in the planning stage right now. I'm considering all of the options and trying to think of a unique selling point. That's the key. People will invest if there's something we can give them that they can't get anywhere else.... i've just got to come up with what 'it' is. But investment from punters over the net is only a small part of the plan. Product placement, pre-sales, executive producer investment and personal investment will all need to be explored. And what if a distributor or production company wades in with a deal? Would i be prepared to lose control of the project for enough finance to make the film i can see in my head? That's a good question... and i honestly don't know the answer.