Your projects are reviewed by financiers based around the world, international in scope and partnered with distributors and studios that have brought these films to market.
The people who see your scripts are representatives of Private Equity (wealthy individuals, families, or entities with pooled funds) or Film Funds (pools of money from pension funds, insurance funds, Wall Street, etc., dedicated to financing films at the studio level).
If these buyers like your script, they have the means to option it, buy it and finance it.
Top Ten Finalist Feedback:
Thank you so much for giving us the chance to speak to a financier. Our conversation was wonderful. Very informative and beneficial! What a great idea!
Prof. German Film Studies, American University
I found the investor extremely thorough and invaluable when it came to advice on our next steps to push our film to production. His knowledge base was reassuring and his step by step approach refreshing.
Luke Tristan Haines
It was really great to have the opportunity to talk with such a high profile professional. It’s not easy to have access to someone who really can make the difference to your career and I’m really glad about it.
A conversation with one of the investment partners:
CFSC: Thank you for being part of this and giving writers the chance to be seen directly by investors. Tell us a bit about your fund and how it works…
Thank you, we’re glad to have another avenue of getting scripts that we wouldn’t normally see since the majority of our material comes from the major agencies and studios seeking financing. We hope to find some great projects. On the financial side, it’s pretty simple. What we do is try to find the best IRR we can get for deployment of funds. Ours is private equity, high net worth individuals and family organizations that simply give us investment parameters and then we make the decisions of where to invest and how much. It can be a one-off film for a few million dollars or a studio slate for upwards of two hundred million. Five year terms and about twenty-five to thirty films at the moment is the target. Fifty to sixty-five million is a where we see the best opportunity currently.
CFSC: Are you only interested in the blockbuster studio projects or can a small drama work for you too?
Our mandate is financial return so even though we have less risk with a large studio tent-pole due to the higher number of screens committed and more guaranteed ancillary deals already in place before we commit, we look at everything because any good story can make profit. If you look at something like “The Help” for instance, you might not think it’s going to be attractive to investors at the script stage but when it’s made for under thirty (million) and worldwide theatrical passes two-hundred (million) you shouldn’t overlook any story that comes your way if you’re a prudent investor. There’s many films that have taught us that.
CFSC: If you like a script what are the kind of deals you make?
No deal is the same so we have to look at a list of factors both internal and external and consider where we think the market is going and how long it will take to get it to market. Since we are working multiple movies and sometimes television series at the same time, we also look at how we may be able to promote one with the other or save any production costs by scheduling of the projects simultaneously. Soft money and tax incentives are always part of the deal as well and that can fluctuate widely year over year and by territory. Or do you mean the deal we make with the property owner?
CFSC: Yes, more so what can a writer expect if you want to buy their project?
Well we sometimes simply offer a straight buyout of the material and all future rights. If it is something we feel strongly about but we are not yet sure of our other projects on the slate then we would offer an option, that way we can hold on to it for six or twelve months and see if it fits into the slate and whether we should exercise the option or not.
CFSC: Do you have any advice for writers submitting material?
Get a lot of feedback along the way, coverage, friends, colleagues, strangers, anyone who has ever gone to the movies. We and the other investor partners and funds that will read the material really want to make movies- great movies, because those movies make money and we are all just looking to return the best profit possible. That benefits the investor, producer, writer, everyone involved. Whether it’s money in your pocket or credit to move your career to the next level you have to thoroughly entertain people at the script stage or we don’t even make it all the way through the first read. And international investment partners have to feel it’s a global human story that their local markets will come out for. Think about it, would people in China be able to relate to some part of this story too? Yes, write what you know and what you love for sure, and know the world that you’re writing about in great detail so it can be authentically real and easy for that ticket buyer to grab their popcorn and fall into the story, because that is where we all make our money.
CFSC: Thank you for your time and insight, some great material is coming your way.