Practical Lessons in Film Finance
By Daniel Harlow
This book is about the practical realities of the film market today and how to make a film while minimizing financial risk. Film is a risky investment and securing that investment is a huge challenge. The best way to get investors is to do everything possible to make the film without losing money.
Featuring interviews with film industry veterans - sales agents, producers, distributors, directors, film investors, film authors and accountants - Daniel Harlow explores some of the biggest obstacles to making a commercially successful film and offers best practice advice on making a good film, that will also be a commercial success. The book explores key topics such as smart financing, casting to add value, understanding the film supply chain, the importance of genre, picking the right producer, negotiating pre-sales and much more. By learning how to break even, this book provides invaluable insight into the film industry that will help filmmakers build a real, continuing career.
A vital resource for filmmakers serious about sustaining a career in the 21st century film industry.
Table of Contents
PART 1 One small problem
1 A surprising discovery
2 The journey begins
PART 2 The obstacles
3 The culture of secrecy
4 Fear and loathing: commercial is a dirty word?
5 This stuff is complicated
6 Falling revenues: falling demand for indies
7 The downside of festival culture
8 Trends in film journalism
PART 3 How films make money
9 Rubber, meet road
10 The players
12 How much to DIY
13 Promotion and publicity – who’s selling this thing, anyway?
PART 4 Making profitable films
14 Sell the sizzle
15 Development: crafting a commercial success
17 Rising above genre
18 More film elements
21 Producers and producing
23 Raising money the traditional way – beg
24 Before you start begging
25 Reducing the risk when presales don’t work
26 Press – the gift that keeps on giving
Top ten lessons
Appendix: case studies, interviews and producer profiles
Case study: micro- budget filmmaking – Marcus Mizelle
Interview with legendary film school teacher Dov Simens
Case studies: niche moviemaking – Tom Malloy
Case studies: low-risk, low-budget sci fi – Jeffrey Giles
Case study: making 70 films with Daniel Zirilli of PopArt Film Factory
Daniel Harlow, a Departmental Scholar from UCLA, founded a technology consulting firm in 1993 which grew to 300 employees in six offices around the country. After selling his company, Harlow attended the Independent Film Producer Program at UCLA. He is currently the founder and CEO of a new hi-tech startup, Bunker 15 Films, with the mission to help indie films find their audience through Smart Publicity and Promotional programs. Harlow believes, with good technology and good planning, filmmakers can sustain financially rewarding careers.
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