You have a great idea for a movie, but you do not have the money to make it. The first thing you should know is how much money you will need to make the movie. Create a budget which includings items like; the shooting schedule, travel, gas, food, location fees, construction, the crew and the actors... the list goes on and on.
Feature films can cost somewhere from $70 – $150 million to make. Check out this article on the average cost to make a film.
How are you going to come up with that kind of money?
If you don't want to deal with the financing, a better way to get a movie made is to take your screenplay to a studio, the studio will figure out the budget for the project. The plus side of using a studio is that they will have the funds to make a movie happen but there are downsides, the biggest one being that you will lose all creative control over the project. Another downside is that the studio could cut the funding at any time.
Most studio’s try to figure in post-production opportunities like DVD and merchandise sales to help with the cost of the film.
Keep in mind there are strict standard practices that need to be done in order to present your screenplay to a movie studio. All the way down to the structure of the screenplay is very specific, the number of pages it can be to even how many hole punches need to be in the actual document.
Most people in the industry say you'll never get a meeting with a big time studio. In Hollywood it is who you know. If you're not a big name in Hollywood you will need to start networking and hope you can make the right connections if you want a studio to make your movie.
Make an Independent Film and do the finacing yourself.
When making an independent film, the responsibility falls on you to come up with all the funding. You can use your own savings, max out your credit cards or work extra part time jobs, but that might not be enough. A great source of funding is asking your family and friends to help contribute to your project. Most of your family and friends won’t ever read your screenplay, but they are more than willing to give money because they believe in you and want to show support (Fortunato).
Grants are also available, but they can be very time consuming trying to find a grant that applies to your project.
Pre-selling the rights is a great option, especially if you have a market that is interested in the project and willing to give the money up front.
Another way to raise the money is seek out investors.
You will want to determine what an investors contribution is going to be worth and know exactly what amount is going to be given back to the investor once the project is completed (Fortunato). Open communication with an investor is very important. Always give the investor a clear understanding of the risk they are taking.
There are two types of investment funding, production funding and development funding (Fortunato).
Development funding is a higher risk, as it is spend as you go process, and you may never finish a project.
Production funding requires you to wait until the money is raised, or at least 80% (Fortunato).
Remember not all investing has to be money, an investor may contribute locations, equipment or services (Fortunato).
When you are approaching an investor, be professional, be prepared and know the business side of film making and not just the artistic side. Don’t expect the investor to read your screenplay, you must give them a 1 to 2 page synopsis of the story and include the budget. Make sure you are prepared as most investors are very savvy with money and want to invest with confidence and security.
You can always try your luck with CONTESTS & COMPETITIONS.
If you look around online, you may find contests that you can enter to win monetary prizes, such as screenwriting, short film or feature film competitions. - https://nevadafilm.com/9-ways-to-fundraise-for-a-film-production/
Crowdfunding is becoming a more popular option to raise money for films.
Usually a cult following will donate funds to have a project completed. For example: The Veronica Mars Movie Project.
"This is it. We're making a Veronica Mars movie! Now the only question is: how big can we make it? We need your help!" - Rob Thomas the director.
They were able to get 91,585 backers to pledge $5,702,153 to help bring this project to life.
Here at Geode Press, our Entertainment division is just dipping our toes and testing the water into this exciting and oh so frighteing adventure of moving making. If you have a fantastic screenplay, a solid budget and a great plan to get your movie made don't let the money discourage you. It can be a challenge but with the right plan you can make it all possible. Happy Filming!