Financial Futures for Filmmakers - Independents Rule

Entertainment attorney/producer Hal Corky Kessler highlighted the one day Indie Film Finance and Production conference occurring November 11, 2010 at the Writers Boot Camp in Santa Monica.  

IFFPC: Writer's Boot Camp

The one hundred attendees were given the update about article 181, which allows producers to give investors 71 cents back on the dollar before distribution has even occurred.  Unfortunately, the Jobs Bill, of which this is part of and which would make it easier for producers to obtain financing, has not yet passed the Senate.  Mr. Kessler predicted that it would probably within the next few weeks.  Meanwhile, those wanting their films to be grandfathered in needed to set up their LLCs, have their business plans in place and shoot a few scenes from their movie (or trailer.)

Because the output of the studios has shrunk, independent films are now in control of the market. Even so, they still have to fight for space in the theatres.  The budget of 3-5 million, said Kessler, is more than 90% able to turn a profit.  With any higher budget, you run the risk of not making the monies back for your investors. 

IFFPC: Alon Gorin

Alon Gorin, of Invested In, talk of ways to raise money using his web site and that he will soon be able to match funds that are raised while Heather Holmberg, a Scottsdale investor, talked about what she and her partners were looking for in a pitch.  “You never know where your money is coming from,” she informed us,” so always be prepared with your 30 second pitch.”  She told us what to present after you hook the investor – your wish list casting, your return on investment and comparison of other films similar to yours and how they did in the market place.  “It’s never about you; it’s all about the deal.”

IFFPC: Heather Holmberg

She gave several participants the ability to pitch 1:1 with her and B.K. Coposky, the organizer of the event and an investor/producer, himself.  Several attendees came away very happy that they had come.  

IFFPC: Louise Levinson and John Coser

An expert at state incentive deals and the differing codes for the 37 different jurisdictions, Kessler was joined on the panel with Louise Levinson, Todd Hein, John Corser, Rick Meyerson, Mathew Treinish and James Spitz.  Kessler’s favorite states to work with, he told us, are Tennessee, New Mexico and Illinois.  Louise also spoke about the importance of a good business plan, while James and Rick spoke of distribution problems.  Investor Matthew Treinish told what he looked for in a project and how he worked with the state incentives while Todd Hein, a CPA, gave us the low down of why a good accountant was necessary all throughout the production.  Kessler said the most difficult problems he sees come from lack of chain of title (who does the material really belong to?)

IFFPC: Peter Meyers, Michael Gianfriddo, Jennifer Page

In another room, producers Peter Meyers, Michael Gianfriddo, Jason Brubaker, and director Jennifer Page talked of how important P and A (print and advertising) was to your film.  Jason gave specifics on using social media to promote your material and stressed how important it was for us, the producers, to headline our films.  Peter stated that although the title cannot be copywritten, it is one of the most important parts of the pitch as it tells you the genre and gives you a hint of the story.  Michael talked about the business side of the industry versus the creative side and the value of understanding both.  "Failure is imminent if both both are not combined." His emphasis was on originality, financing and packaging quality productions. 

IFFPC: Heather Holmberg, Anne Marie Gillen, Hal Corky Kessler

Anne Marie Gillen, another producer, lectured about the value of visual aides in your pitch and what investors needed before feeling comfortable about making a deal.  

IFFPC: Founder and host, BK Coposky

A producer, himself, B K Coposky organized these conferences “to give back” to those who wanted to get ahead.  “I know how difficult it is to find the monies and I wanted to help put producers in touch with financiers and teach them how to raise the money.  Networking is where it is at and relationships are important in this business.”  

Future events will be held in Miami, Montreal, and New York.  Go to for more information. 

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