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And your job is to assemble the best possible talent you can afford. Until your script calls for too much special talent on the crew. Everything outside your normal workflow means more work for you, more money to be spent. Be on the lookout for complex scenes hidden in simple script directions. Or to reset for Take Your costs depend on how well you build that schedule.

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Careful planning can mean huge savings. And more time for filming instead of recovering. Not only does everything in a film have a cost, it also needs a support system. Sets can be hard to find and harder to clean on the way out.

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Action has to www. Special crews need extra time and often helpers to work their magic. It all takes time.

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And lost time on a movie set means money that can never show up on screen. Waste as little time as possible.

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Time, money and effort have to show up on screen, not in travel vouchers or location fees. No matter how essential that falling bridge, other scenes will suffer if it takes too long to film. Spend too little and your whole movie may collapse. Keep these three points in mind to help control your production.

If you really, really, really must see that bridge collapse, start by incorporating the knowhow of the experts around you.

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Align your vision with reality. Start early to build your entire production team. And learn to listen to them. Going through all these steps, detail by excruciation detail, means you know more about your show than any other person around you. Norman C.

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Berns is a producer, director, teacher and film facilitator, the go-to guy when films need the wherewithal and knowhow to get going, to get better or to get back on track. Norman can be contacted through his website, reelgrok at: www. This is not intended as a "how-to," or as a comprehensive explanation of all aspects of film financing, but merely as a primer to give an overview of the field. Nor is this intended to help you in "finding" the money needed to finance and produce a film.

It will, however, arm you with a basic understanding of the legal structures used in securing financing, along with the advantages and disadvantages of the methods described. As an entertainment lawyer, Ive spent much of my career developing a keen understanding of the ins and outs of this complicated field so please dont hesitate to contact me if you need help implementing one or more of these 6 ways to finance your feature film. Way 1 - Rich Uncle Guido The simplest and easiest way to finance a feature film is to use money youve already got. By this I mean either personal funds or funds contributed to your film project by friends and family like a rich uncle , with no expectation of a return or profit.

Essentially, this means "gifts", rather than investment or loans. Of course, if youre self-financing, this is the method youre using. In practice, the contributors to the financing often receive some form of acknowledgement or "special thanks" in the films credits. The Modern MovieMaking Movement 28 Advantages: This is the easiest way to pay for the production of a film, since theres no paperwork, no government filings, and no obligation to pay back the money, account for how its spent, or to share in the profits if your project is successful.

Disadvantages: Strings Attached - The contributor of the money may have expectations of a role in the film, either for himself or a "friend". He or she may also expect to be credited as an executive producer, or that the film will have a certain artistic or philosophical message.

Potential Liability: a financier who contributes to a film in exchange for a credit such as "Executive Producer" may not realize that hes exposing himself to liability as a partner or co- venturer with the filmmaker. Care should be taken in granting credit to those who support your film, to ensure that they are shielded from liability. Limited funds available: because the funds used for this method of film finance are personal in nature, the amount available may be limited. For this reason, this method of financing is most commonly used for very low budget documentaries, shorts, student films, and films intended for the filmmakers "resume reel".

Sour Grapes: If a film financed using gifts from family and friends becomes financially successful, those financiers may be disgruntled at not participating in the rewards.

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Care should be taken, then, to ensure that these people are included in premieres, festivals, and release parties. Of course if financial success DOES come, lavish gifts TO your financiers are certainly appropriate, but make sure they dont look to the outside world i. The Modern MovieMaking Movement 29 Variations: Where two or more producers come together with their personal or gift funds, they are forming a Joint Venture essentially a limited-purpose partnership.

Giving credit in such instances can become sticky, so its important to discuss things with co-venturers in advance. Its important to remember that partners or joint venturers share control, as well as profits, expenses, etc.

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So choose wisely. Corporations and other business entities even nonprofit organizations can use corporate funds to self-finance film projects without the hassle and expense of more complicated financing methods. Similarly, such an entity can become a joint- venturer in a project, sharing expenses, control and eventually, profits. Way 2 - Single Active Investor This method of financing for your film involves bringing in an investor who will share in the rewards when your film is finished and successful. Its important to note my use of the words "single" and "active".

Both have important ramifications, which can affect a filmmakers ability to retain control of the project, as well as legal implications if not observed carefully. This method involves a relatively simple contract between producer and financier.

The Mind of the Modern Moviemaker

The agreement will detail the financiers investment in the project as well as the expected return on that investment. The Modern MovieMaking Movement 30 taken to evaluate the relative values of the other contributions to the project. Next, the contract should specify the investors role in the day- to-day operations and production process. It is important that the investor have a meaningful role, with some part in decision making, so he or she can be characterized as an active investor.

If the investors involvement is passive, the investment involves the sale of securities, which complicates things considerably. Any transaction involving the sale of securities must be registered with the Securities Exchange Commission, or subject to an exemption from the registration requirement.

In either case, the paperwork and cost of securities compliance is substantial. So, its important that, in this type of structure, the investor play an active role in the development, production and business decisions relating to the film. Ive characterized this as a single active investor structure deliberately. This method is not suitable for use with large groups of investors, because each active investor will essentially have a vote on important decisions. The last thing you want is a group of investors weighing in on casting, script changes, location selection, etc. Advantages: The obvious advantage of the single active investor structure is its ease of creation. A relatively short contract will establish the relationship of the parties. No state or federal paperwork is required. Also, there are few formalities required.