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How To Sell Your Film Idea

What are the ingredients to best package your idea and film project in order to get the financing you need?

This morning Rebecca, a young filmmaker from Berlin, asked me some advice on film project packaging. I thought to quickly jot down the advice I gave her and share it with you as well.

Rebeca packaging Blog

First of all: know who you are and what you want in order to figure out whom to address. As soon as you have found your target, get to learn more about them – their values, philosophy & beliefs.

Throughout the course of a few calls, e-mails and Google research – and ideally networking events – you get to have a better feeling about your potential Decision Maker. Create your hit-list of potential buyers/investors to approach and try to find out if they have unsolicited pitches. Keep in mind, they are VIP-s and don’t be surprised shall you receive no feedback at all. Having even this kind of information is the key to making the appropriate pitch and package your project accordingly.

When you specifically know what your potential customer (Media institution, Film Fund, Commercial Client whoever) needs and which points of your offering are still unclear for them, you are able to  decide where to plant certain crops and how deeply to prepare your soil.

Now, let’s get down to the practical aspects of the packaging. To make reading easier for the  Decision Makers, you should structure your ideas on categories into a Catalogue. Make sure you include in your Catalogue following documents:

  1. Fact Sheet – this is a cover sheet summing up the most important aspects of your project (philosophy, genre, stage of project, synopsis, crew, cast, budget, technical aspects of the production and so on). It serves also as a summary of the catalogue.
  2. Story synopsis
  3. Treatment
  4. Character description & preferred Cast
  5. Mood/Tonality/Colours
  6. Locations/Stage Props/Costumes
  7. Financing Plan (as a back-up, you could propose several financing scenarios)
  8. Marketing Plan
  9. Budget
  10. Director’s statement, CVs of director
  11. Writer’s statement, CVs of writer
  12. Producer’s statement, CVs of producer and eventually company description
  13. If possible – attach some legal proofs of the project’s existence (such as contracts).
  14. How could this project benefit your potential buyer ?

Some Tips: Insert all documents with page numbers and use the same formatting (fonts, margins etc) for all pages. Be clear and organized in your messages. Try to keep it short (max. 1/2 – 1 page per category).

Always enrich your project with visuals, key images and showreels. Trailers!! They mostly decide visually. And of course, you will always have to adapt the catalogue to your respective target. Some of your potential customers would want more information (like a script), others would want to focus on the benefit they would have by supporting you.

Do you know how should the right category and content (budget, marketing, financing, script) unfold in your catalogue ? We’ll tackle this with next occasions. Stay tuned.

Hope it helps,

Andra

3 thoughts on “How To Sell Your Film Idea

  1. Thanks to Andra’s description and explanation I have now a clear idea how to process in the development of my idea.Any doubts seem at first sight to be blown away. Thanks to you Andra!

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Financial Plan is a sum-up (usually under the form of a table) of all your potential investor’s financial contributions to the movie. Some of the financing sources may be confirmed, other are still pending.

      Budget is a detailed cost-report. The budget is calculated on the basis of the script. So after having read the script, you calculate/estimate the budget. Only once you know the budget (=only once you know what you need), will you be able to start searching for potential financing sources to cover your budget.
      The final sum in the Budget has to equal the final sum in the Financial Plan. Usually it is worth to have different financing scenarios.

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