We decided to investigate the challenges Film Producers in the UK have to face to get their Film project off the ground. We also looked at some of the strategies other Film Producers in the UK have used to successfully raise film funding by finding and networking with Film Investors.
Whilst looking over Film Funding sources including Government Grants, Crowd Funding and investment networks, we found that
which does usually entail a highly public ordeal with criticisms from unqualified unsophisticated investors being the biggest put off for creative film producers.
We looked into the feat of locating film investors in the UK via investment networks including more established networks like Angel’s Den and we also looked at an investment network established in 2008 called Venture Giants and have provided a Venture Giants review below. We originally heard about Venture Giant from a news story published by Film producer, Adam Rolston, that swore by the service in 2010 as he raised investment and met some highly credible investors through the service. What he was most impressed about with Venture Giants was the level of service, the quality of investors, the 0% commission that they charged and their Charging Prices that were very reasonable when compared to the rest of the film finance market.
In our in-depth Venture Giants review we look at whether Film Producers can really benefit from using a service like Venture Giants to find investors and private individuals that are looking to invest in Film Projects? We explore this and Review Venture Giants later on in this article.
Even with an amazing idea, willing crew and an excited cast, it is very probable that you do not have funds to make your film. Private finance is one of the options you have but finding film investors is not an easy task and this is because of the huge risks attached to producing the film for an investor.
If this is your first film that you are looking to raise film finance for, then your business plan must address the financials that a potential Film Investor can make by investing in your film investment proposition. Your business plan must be as investable as possible.
Film Producers have to accept that the Film business, for better or for worse, is a high risk business that can yield extraordinary returns for the right type of film investor – and thus investing in film has always been attractive to film investors or angel film investors and the Government has quickly realised as well that film making is set to become part of the UKs lifeblood – an industry sector potentially rich in taxes and so have offered both EIS and SEIS investment relief for Film Investors, and ALSO, provided Film Producers with various tax advantages including the UK Film Tax credit which is explored at the bottom of this article.
To attract film investment from Film Investors, your film business plan must be written in a way to assure film investors that your film has a high likelihood of becoming a success and this includes your production and distribution forecasts.
Films do require clearly defined distribution channels which are proven to be successful and more often than not, you might have to show prospective film investors that your choice of film distribution is on the lines of other successful films.
From there, your film business plan MUST clearly define HOW you will generate those revenues (through distribution, presales), with the help of your cast and team, then your crew, then comes your film concept, script and idea.
Should your film project make a profit (or even for that matter achieve break even), you now have created your calling card as a Film Producer and with this your next project that you look to raise film investment for will be easier.
If you are at a stage where you have a Film business plan in place already, and are now looking to find Film Investors but do not where to start, then there are many Film Investment Networks out there that have had great success in finding investment for entrepreneurs. With Crowd Funding networks charging 5% on success (excluding legal fees) we were interested in reviewing alternative ways of raising film finance and this brought us to review Venture Giants.
REVIEW OF PLATFORM
We reviewed and looked over Venture Giants that seemed to specialise in grouping together Film Investors and sending them “Film investment tasters” from entrepreneurs (or Film Producers) as opposed to sending them full Film business plans.
One point Venture Giants was clear on when we spoke to them, is that they would never send film investors the entire business plan or Film script for everyone’s security and confidentiality.
Venture Giants instead decided to focus on sending one page Film investment summaries to investors which meant that film investors could quickly review film propositions in 30 seconds or less which meant that the interest levels were generally higher from film investors.
Another point Venture Giants excelled in (when compared to Crowd Funding propositions and other film investment networks) was that Venture Giants were one of the only Film investment networks out there that did not charge a commission on investment raised for Film Producers through them. This was a refreshing change from other investment networks we looked over.
According to Venture Giants, Micro budget film production in the UK has seen explosive growth as these films are relatively cheap to produce and can yield phenomenal growth and exits in relatively short period of times for angel investors. An example of this is a micro film aptly entitled ‘once’ that was produced in 2007 for £40,000 and yielded a Sundance award and generated over $20m gross worldwide
If you are a Film Maker and are considering using a Film investment Network like Venture Giants, you will have to submit a one page investment summary of the project you are seeking film finance for and this will have to carefully thought out if your idea is a sensitive one or you have created a genre specific film idea.
Successfully funded film projects on Venture Giants have included a Film Writer and Producer successfully raising 30% of his films micro budget through Venture Giants totally commission free and he was so delighted with the results that he endorsed the platform. After he submitted his Film development project to Venture Giants, he was pleasantly surprised that they reviewed it without charge and offered some comments on how it could be improved completely free of charge. Once the proposal was accepted, and changes were made to improve it, the proposal was sent to Venture Giant’s film investors, private investors and angel investors that registered and were individually vetted by Venture Giants.
After successfully raising film investment and creating his first micro film, he has once again used the same film investors he found through Venture Giants, and obtained the exclusive film rights for a best selling novel, and is producing a Hollywood movie, with a film budget worth £5,000,000 with an A LIST film cast.
This is one of the the main elements of Venture Giants’ success and the reason more and more film investors are choosing to use the service over Crowd Funding.
It is worthy of note, that despite its growing popularity, Crowd funding is a thoroughly public affair with Film Producers receiving demeaning questions about their film projects from members of the public.
Film investment networks like Venture Giants however have opted to vetting certified investors that are looking to individually invest £50,000 – £500,000 per investor (as opposed to upto £5,000 on Crowd funding networks) and are certified as high net worth which Crowd funding networks can not do.
This has meant that over and above the Film investment itself, individual Film investors have been in a position to offer mentorship and guidance on the Films development as they have indivdiyually invested more funds into the production, and have a much larger role to play, and also have far more ‘skin in the game’ in the films overall success or failure.
Dealing with a handful of private individuals is always a more favourable option when dealing with Film Financing over dealing with potentially hundreds of individuals.
According to Tim Lancaster, the Business development Manager of Venture Giants, the Film investment network has taken them over four years to build, and they have reviewed over 2500 applications from private individual, high net worths, angel investors, and venture capitalists.
Apart from angel film investors, there are other avenues from where finance deals might be available for films. These include, studio development production deals, pre sales, negative pick up deals and banks specializing in film finance.
Film investors who deal with private financing are super angels and have ability to invest huge sums of money when compared to normal angel investors. Super angel film investors have the financial ability to extend financing of millions of pounds in a deal.
TIPS FOR APPROACHING
Prior to thinking of making a film, getting relevant experience in the field is advisable. It is not possible to run a film company without having inside experience of working and being involved in film industry. If you are planning to make a film, the experience gained and skills acquired would help in your project as well as increase your credibility before angel film investors. Film investors are not many in number and finding a film investor interested in investing in your film would not be an easy task. It would be good for your project, if you are able to find a film investor who has experience in film industry. Such angel film investors would have good and resourceful contacts within film industry. These contacts can prove invaluable for success of your film project.
NETWORK PORTALS TO FIND
There are alternative Film Investment Networks online that help people with strong business proposals get in touch with investors who are ready to invest their money in their projects. The advantage of these portals is the wide exposure you and your project gets and investors can review the details of your investment film project, and if they find it interesting, they can contact you to discuss the film project further.
After receiving an investor contact that is interested in investing in your film project you would then have to convince these film investors further on the feasibility of your film project. Be prepared, the film investors that you meet will most likely will conduct background checks and perform due diligence on you and your company before investing in you. This is for their security, after all film investors will invest huge sums of their money in your film project and Film investors will have to ensure that you are genuine and do not have any financial difficulties Or encumbrances that will risk their capital.
FILM INVESTORS AND
Traditional fund raising methods and distribution have since become obsolete and outdated. New film makers find film investors willing to invest in films since the digital revolution. There has appeared a wider expanded area of film funding which has made it easier for individuals seeking funds for their films to find film investors. Many new companies have been formed with the sole aim of providing finance for films. Film investors are ready to finance your project whichever stage of film making your project is on. These new financing ventures have made it relatively easier to find film investors.
Nevertheless, whatever project you are dealing with, when it is a matter of finance, it is always in best interests to get legal advice prior to finalizing deal and signing on the dotted line.
The UK Film Tax Credit is one of the simplest and most accessible film tax credits in the world. It is not only a boost for all UK producers but it also attracts a large amount of inward investment from large Hollywood Productions who use our stage and post production services. For films with a budget of under £20m the production can claim up to 25% of 80% of the total UK expenditure (i.e everything spent in UK) as a tax rebate.
As an example investing a £2.5m budget in the UK, a Film Producer will be able to claim 25% £750,000 on a £2m of the budget as a tax rebate from HMRC.
To qualify for the tax credit the film must be awarded a British Film Certificate which your production will have to qualify for.
As you cannot claim the rebate until the end of production this amount can be discounted by a film financier as a loan and then paid back when the rebate is received.
There are many financiers in the UK who discount the film tax credit. The financier will be decided at a later time in pre-production.