This week I found myself in London having a couple of production meetings for my next two projects (Dad and Spare Change). Also found myself in the slightly surreal situation of visiting BAFTA (once again) to talk funding with a potential investor. Being at the earlier stages of my film-making journey, aside from Crowd-funding the concept was new and somewhat alien to me.
Of course we did some homework before going in, one is naturally more cautious when money and a list of demands are involved. The list as I saw it meant getting a nice cheque to cover our costs but ultimately signing many of the rights away. We rejected this and wanted to know more about the investor’s attraction to project as a spring-board to get things going. Part way through we realised that we would be making the film anyway and whilst the additional funding would be nice, it was coming with too many caveats.
The negotiations were beginning to wane, then a flash of inspiration hit me:
We might not need the money. However it’s clear the investor knows a lot about marketing, PR and the festival circuit. A lot more than we do! The investor is interested in the production, so why not drop the financial elements and trade with his skills instead?
It was clearly a swerve ball for the investor who was expecting us to either “take the money and run” or “walk away empty handed”. But it completely reinvigorated our conversation and he was extremely interested in the proposal. We renegotiated our terms by asking what he might want in return (essentially “in association with” and “executive producer” credits, in return for his PR skills and help navigating/representing us in film-festivals). And we still get to hold onto our rights.
What do I like about this?
- The deal and conditions are now balanced and fair for both parties. We keep the rights also.
- I feel we will get more benefit from the skills on offer than we would had we gone solely for financial gain. We have already picked up some rather useful tips.
- I now feel we have a much stronger bond with the investor, a bond which I hope might lead to additional collaborations in the future.
- We clearly stood out from the crowd and differentiated ourselves.
Ultimately time will tell how right I am. But the point I’d like to make (as if it’s not been bludgeoned enough already) is that film-makers can trade in more than just money. In the right circumstances it can be far more beneficial!
To that end, if you feel you would like to support the actual project in question, the crowd-funding page is here. It would be lovely to hit our target financially, but you can also help us in other ways just by showing interest and spreading the word. Or you can make us an offer! 🙂