Feature Film Finance Basics - Important do's and Don'ts from Raindance

Feature film finance anyone? Have you an idea for a movie? Have you got a fantastic script? Are you awaiting a pile of cash so you can make it?

I got this email from a member of Raindance:

If a U.S. filmmaker was seeking out of U.S. financing – 1. What sources specifically would you recommend pursuing – and advise staying away from – particularly for a low budget film (under US$1m) 2. What would boost the filmmaker’s chance of securing that funding?

Here’s what I wrote while sitting in the coffee shop at La Guardia airport awaiting a snow delayed flight to Montreal:

Any filmmaker seeking funding needs a producer. 😉 And seeking funding abroad means finding a producer from another territory ie a co-producer. A European producer should be aware of local and regional film funds and also know how local tax incentives work for local taxpayer willing to invest into a project regardless of the nationality of the film or filmmaker. A great place to meet such producers is the Cinemart in Rotterdam, Berlinale and of course Cannes.

The second part of the question takes a bit more effort. What makes a film financable, regardless of it’s budget? Here are five key elements:

  • has the film got an audience?
  • has the film got any marketable talent attached?
  • has the film got realistic revenue projections?
  • has the film got a sound business plan?
  • has the film got a solid social media strategy?

Any three of these five essentials should mean you have a pretty good shot at the gold at the end of the rainbow, meaning you’ll eat cake too!

I hope this helps.

If you want a course that explains film finance in more depth, check out the evening Movie Money class. You can take this class in person, or online.

Don’t let lack of money stop you from making a film!



Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance BREXiT trailer 2019

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • skype
  • twitter
  • youtube