It’s no secret that professional filmmaking can be challenging. From writing the screenplay to editing the shots, you have your work cut out for you whenever you start a new project. But unless you’re completely independent, you probably don’t have full control over the final product.
That’s why you may want to start a film production company. This business will let you pick exactly which content you create, whether that’s an original TV show with your own crew or a music video you’re hired to shoot for a client. It’s a way to be involved from start to finish — and to make sure you’re taking your own career and artistic vision to the next level.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start your own film studio.
1. Find a Specific Niche or Genre
This part might change down the line, but you should first start with what content you want to make. Consider production house A24 as an example. This company mainly focuses on independent films. Would you prefer to make blockbuster hits instead? Be sure to think about which niche or genre aligns with the vision for your brand’s identity too.
It’s smart to consider your strengths and interests here. If you’ve made artsy horror films in the past you might want to stick with what you know. However, you could also use your new business as an opportunity to expand your horizons. It’s up to you to decide what content will be the most enjoyable and profitable to make.
2. Craft a Business Plan
Now, you’ll want to develop a business plan. It’s crucial to pick a specific model that helps you grow from a small entity to a more significant business down the line. This tip might be the most important in how to start a film production company.
Here’s what you should include:
- Determine startup costs.
- Figure out labour requirements.
- Conduct market analysis.
- Describe your intended products and services.
- Map out potential distribution channels.
These points are only a few that you’ll have to outline in your business plan. It’s common for them to be at least 30 pages long, so you should be prepared to go in-depth about your plans as a company. If you decide you need help, you may want to consult an attorney.
It’s wise to look for a suitable production space while you complete your business plan. That’s because you’ll want to include any estimated costs for the office in the document. Usually, 80% of office space costs are related to the lease, so you should account for those expenses.
3. Establish a Legal Entity
This step will happen in junction with your business plan development. That’s since you’ll need to include your intended incorporation status.
There are five main business structures in the United States — and a limited liability company (LLC) tends to be the best option. If you’re located in the United Kingdom, you just need to consult the Companies House to structure your business.
4. Find Financial Backers
Now’s when you should start to consider finances.
It’s no secret that you need money to build a company. This part will be necessary unless you already have the funds set aside. If so, great! But most of us don’t have enough saved to start a business completely independently. If you’re unsure where to look for help, you could:
- Acquire a small loan from a bank or a small business loan from the government.
- Contact any potential investors — whether they’re people you know or people you still need to forge professional connections with.
- Find one or more partners so you can pool your resources.
- Establish a crowdfunding campaign, or brainstorm unique fundraising ideas.
- Make a deal with a larger production company.
Here’s where your business plan will make a difference. If you’ve already outlined your startup costs, you can secure enough funding to cover whatever expenses you anticipate. Keep in mind that you’ll need to repeat a similar process every time you need to make a movie, as well.
5. Put Together a Team
Remember that you’ll need a team. This process isn’t one you can do alone, so you’ll need to form an executive board with four key positions based on these key areas of filmmaking:
These individuals will play different roles — for example, the head of development focuses on pre-production responsibilities such as reading and approving scripts.
Don’t look to hire any writers, actors, directors, or editors specifically yet. These jobs are best filled on a project-by-project basis. Eventually, you’ll probably establish relationships with specific people you choose to bring back for multiple projects.
6. Look Into Insurance Options
It’s crucial to look into insurance options before you open yourself up for business. Anything can and will happen on set, which means you need to have a way to protect yourself and your crew.
From stunt accidents to equipment malfunctions, you want to be ready for any unexpected incidents. That’s crucial for financial, reputational, and safety reasons.
7. Work to Develop a Portfolio
After everything seems to be in order, you should start establishing yourself as a film production company. Anything you made as an independent filmmaker won’t really matter here. It’s all about how you can showcase your new team’s talents and skills. Plus, you want to identify your specific niche or genre.
Take an opportunity to create some proof-of-concept work you can show to studios. These samples can be whatever you think showcases your vision best. Then, you should be able to secure some deals for more significant opportunities down the road.
Use These Ideas to Help You Learn How to Start Your Own Film Studio
This process might seem daunting at first. However, once you start the process, you’ll end up with your very own film production company that you can use to make media you love. This experience will take time, but your work will absolutely be worthwhile in the end. These ideas will help you figure out how to start a film production company that starts strong and has what it takes to last.