Why Won't You Just Give Me the Money?
By Joel Block
I spent a couple hours this week with a group of filmmakers, all of whom are looking for funds to finance their current projects. Several of them have been looking for capital for quite some time now, and it's beginning to take its toll. They're frustrated. They're weary. And, most of all, several of them are just plain angry.
They make their pitches with great enthusiasm. They have projects. They have talent. They have attachments. And they may even have some credits to their name. But, what they don't have is the capital to move their projects forward.
I commented to the room that if they really want to get capital, that they're speaking the wrong language. In order to get capital from a room full of financial people, they have to address the two primary questions that financial people have. Financial people want to know:
1. What are you going to do with my money?
2. How am I going to get it back, plus more?
It's shocking to me how so many filmmakers disregard the importance of this information, and feel a sense of entitlement that they should receive the capital that they're asking for without regard to the sensitivities that the financial people bring to bear.
Some of the filmmakers even approached me after the meeting and said that they had all of the information that the financial people needed. The financial information, the business plan, and all the components were ready to go, and I just needed to review that so that I could then prepare to write them a check.
But, the filmmakers still fail to realize that as a financier, I have 100 choices, and they have to break through the clutter and be creative in ways that they are so far failing to do. I challenge filmmakers to be creative, and to put their business plan describing why they need capital in the same creative way that they put their screenplay out for production.
The projects that are funded obviously do this. The projects that are not funded apparently do not.
But, one thing is for sure. Don't become one of the angry, frustrated filmmakers that attack the financiers with so much vigor that you turn off the potential sources of capital. It never works for you and can only work against you.
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