Funding Your Feature Film

So how are you going to pay for your project?

I’ve been on hiatus for quite a while now…it’s been a tough few months, not just for me of course, and nothing seems to be getting better any time soon, unfortunately.

But all this space has given me some time to think about what my next move will be as a filmmaker.

I’ve made a lot of short films…more than 60, so I need to step it up a bit.  I feel ready.

I have a feature film that is pretty much ready to go and even though I could try and shop it, and I may still do that, I really think I could shoot it myself for very little, or at least I did think that until SAG released their 80-page COVID manifesto.

So this changes everything really and now I know I absolutely could not shoot this film without real money.  And by real money, I don’t mean what my friends and family can find in their sofa, although I may need that too.  I mean tens of thousands of dollars…or probably closer to one hundred thousand. Which is peanuts for a film. This film is set in one location and neighborhood, which I have access to. It’s a smallish cast, no stunts, no fights, no crazy makeup and it’s set in the present day. I think I can shoot it in 20 days if I’m clever, without cutting corners and while I haven’t actually put a budget together yet, that 100K is a number that even with the new and expensive SAG rules I feel pretty comfortable with.

But I don’t have 100K and even if I did, would I use all my own money? Smart people will always tell you not to, but many, many people before me have done just that I can tell you.

Now that I am embarking on this crazy enterprise I thought I might write about it…share my pain so to speak.  Every film I have made up until now I have self-financed because it didn’t cost that much, or have been hired to direct, so that’s someone else’s budget.  We do have a lot of our own equipment, just got a new camera in fact, a Pocket Black Magic no less, so that takes a huge chunk out of the budget, no camera rentals, no glass rentals, etc. But I will definitely need a DP, a sound guy, and some grips. The rest of the departments speak for themselves, MUA, set design, wardrobe, PA’s, I’ll be producing, along with my filmmaking partner for life…husband.  There’s obviously a lot more to budget for of course, like insurance, etc, but that will do for now.

How do I raise my money?

Good question…I have no idea! Right now I am doing a lot of research. I’m looking for grants because basically I’m pretty sure I won’t get actual investors for a low budget feature film set in North Hollywood…

There is a ton of information out there on the interweb…and I’m not planning on even attempting to film before the end of next year at this point. So I’m giving myself about 12 months to raise the funds before I begin preproduction. Which sounds about right.

First-time feature film writer/director. And a woman. Although being female might actually help me a little these days and I have certainly never considered being a woman to be a disadvantage, in life or in film. But then I have never tried to get people to give me large amounts of money, purely on the bases of my vision before.

So if you are happy to be along for the ride I will document my process, my failures as well as my successes, and along the way, we will all learn something. Hopefully, that something will be, that we can make our dreams realities if we just decide we can…here’s hoping!!!