Responsible Film Finance

By Stacey Parkes

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from our subscribers about how to raise money for their films. Believe me, I wish I had a straightforward answer to give on this, but unfortunately I don’t. The reason is because there are many different approaches to raising money for your film… whether it’s through private investors, production companies, tax rebates, bank financing, friends and family, or even your own credit cards. You have to choose which approach is best for you and your film in terms of seeking the funding you need.

However, there are a few pointers I want to give you that will help you no matter which funding source you are approaching, and chances are, this is the information that investors will want to know anyway.

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Be able to show potential investors, hopefully in the form of a business plan, what kind of film you have, what actors you have cast (or are planning to cast), and why you and your team are qualified to produce the film you are trying to get made. I think a log-line and short (one page or less) synopsis work best, as well as production team bio and previous credits.


(Really!): Time to get realistic here. Don’t go asking for $2 million if you can make your film for $250K. Be prepared to show potential investors WHY you need the money you are requesting..for example, is it because you’re casting a couple A list stars to justify the steep investment? If not, then I would suggest paring down your budget big time, and asking for only what you need to get the best film you can…in the can!


This is probably the most important part of any business plan you hand to investors (if you are in fact going through private investors). It’s actually quite simple - anybody who is writing you a big check will want to know how and when you plan to pay them back. Therefore, you should think through your distribution strategy well in advance, and be able to articulate to investors your plan for recouping the budget. Sound intimidating? It kind of is….but completely doable if you take all know about distribution and study what others have done with similar films as your own, and customize a plan that makes sense for your film.

Hopefully this answers your basic questions on what you need in order to get your film financed?.now you just need to come up with WHO you are going to ask for the money. The only advice I can offer as far as that is concerned is to think outside the box and research as many case studies as you can from other filmmakers, and how they raised the money they needed for their films. You might get some amazing ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.

If you want to share your experiences and learn from others', come join us here:

PS: If you want to become a member of Film Specific and REALLY get the inside scoop from distributors, sales agents, festival programmers, and other experts - you can join for less than $10  a month or less than $100 for a whole year. What are you waiting for? Check out a full list of Film Specific benefits here.

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About The Author

Stacey Parks

is the author of the Inside Guide To Independent Film Distribution (Focal Press), a comprehensive educational program for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace.

Stacey has worked in independent film for over 10 years, and is currently a sales executive at the BBC Worldwide in Los Angeles.

She was previously a foreign sales agent for many years. You can join her film distribution community on the web and sign up for her free 5 part eCourse on Attracting Investors at


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Responsible Film Finance