Sunday, November 29, 2009
It’s been a quieter week on Movie Beach as things slowed down over the Thanksgiving holiday, so we put our feet up just a little. However we did see some encouraging progress on one of the projects we mentioned last time. Although we had been talking about the vagaries of movie financing and the reliability or otherwise of some investment partners we come across, we’re optimistic folks who generally hope for the best. So it was nice to receive a bank confirmation last thing on Friday showing that our friends’ production had indeed received its promised funding. Interestingly this time they raised $2.5 million instead of $2 million, just a little number dance that happens all the time in movie financing, but we’re now hoping to be able to help them raise the final gap for their movie if the playing field stays level for long enough.
Getting back to business this week we’re going to be at the film financing seminar in Hollywood put on by the guys at the IIFF, they always have a good attendance and lively discussion. It’ll be good to meet some friends and pick up on what’s new in the business, for one thing it seems that everyone in the indie sector these days is looking to put together a slate of micro-budgeted films. The technology’s certainly there to get movies made quickly and cheaply and we’ve seen plenty of articles lately about newer and cleverer marketing strategies to get your movie noticed even from before the first frame is shot. It’s all good and film-makers these days need to be aware of all aspects of their craft. It’s ironic that the sales process has come around to be one of the first things to be considered, but if it helps you to become a better business-person out of the process then that’s surely a benefit. However the simple challenges always remain, making quality movies that people will want to see, and finding the money to meet even those micro-budgets. In our opinion quality content will guide you, so get the script right and that should help focus the sales process. Whether you’re selling brushes door-to-door or pitching movies the same truth applies: if you’re selling something good, people will buy it.
Just one final follow-up from our last posting, the long-lost investor we mentioned finally called our producer friend to reaffirm his commitment with business to follow shortly. It’s an encouraging sign and he did seem genuine but we’re not betting the farm on it yet. However, watch this space and we’ll bring you the latest as this one unfolds.
The Out Of Obscurity team.
Monday, November 23, 2009
It’s a beautiful Monday in Movie Beach, a nice time of the year when the boardwalks are quiet and the sun’s still shining bright. Great weather for early morning walks and contemplation . . . So, isn’t it annoying that just when you’re enjoying the blissful feel of the sun coming up and the dogs running free in front of you, a little thought crops into your head: will that money be in today? We’ve all seen it somewhere along the line, that all-important promise of investment waiting to close any day now. Sometimes it’s just timing and paperwork, sometimes genuine investors are depending on other events and other times there are real doubts about an investor’s integrity. Of course there’s every kind of excuse under the sun along the scale from genuine delay to scam-artist but the last thing we all want to see is the grinding inertia of waiting for the money to close.
We’re working with a production right now with big-name talent on board that’s had to postpone shooting for a few weeks awaiting funds from a “name” investor. Those funds will then trigger the opportunity for us to help close the final $2 million gap so we’re waiting on the people who’re waiting. It’s only been a week since we were told “the money’s in today” so we’re not even near the stage of starting to question the package, this is par for the course. We passed the “proof of funds” stage a while back, when we were shown a letter from a bank to the effect that Investor X does indeed have money in the bank and has said that he’s interested in the movie production. Joining the dots, we could see that this was just a stretch away from a meaningful commitment of money. Oh well, back to the bank. Meanwhile the producer presented his own “proof of funds”, saying that his bank statements would show the production had $2 million in the bank, a requirement for us to bring the final $2 mil. However the statements showed that, while they had indeed spent $2 million in pre-production so far, they were sitting on a total of $345 in the bank: not quite what the situation required. Ever optimistic, we continue to jot this one down to just a timing difference and they’ll get the job done.
A good friend is producing a movie waiting on an altogether more sizeable commitment to hit the decks for around $50 million. This will fund the construction of a major real estate location for a big-budget sports movie with full production budget already in place. They’re waiting to go and have been told that the funds were closing “next week” for quite a while now. Our guy subsequently ascertained that the investor is himself depending on receiving proceeds from the sale of a bond that’s still going through a tortuous booking process on Wall St and, while he’s completely genuine in his commitment to the movie, there’s not a lot he can do to hurry up the money: it could be days or months away.
And, at what just might be the wrong end of the scale, a producer friend has come to an agreement with an investor after several months of negotiation to finance a slate of movies. It’s a nice deal with the partners raising the funds together and co-financing movies they’re both passionate about. However a couple of deadlines have come and gone and despite endless discussion and repeated commitments the phone is ringing less and less and the investor hasn’t answered his phone in the last week or so. No doubt he’s been busy and hey, maybe he's had the swine flu: he says he’s as committed as ever. But things just aren’t getting done and that is the big worry. Never wishing to think the worst of people or situations we continue to fly the flag on this one, but with one eye on the next real deal. Lose the ones you don't need.
The Out Of Obscurity team.
Friday, November 20, 2009
It’s been an interesting week in the movie financing business. Mega-financier Ryan Kavanaugh has been all over the news this week with a profile in Esquire and blanket coverage in Variety following his Producer Of The Year award at the Hollywood Film Festival. For a guy with a chequered past and an unclear reputation still, he’s been incredibly successful and we are in awe of his ability to get deals done. He has blown Hollywood convention away by almost single-handedly creating the wave of investment into movies by hedge funds and banks via his Legendary Pictures and he has opened wide the discussion on film finance. He’s also helping to change the structure of movie funding deals by ensuring that key talent and directors share in the project’s revenues rather than take excessive up-front salaries. This is classic indie moviemaking and frankly it’s good business sense in a business not known for sensible financial structures. There’s obviously a mix of skill and delivery and Kavanaugh has got it.
We had a call today with a director and his partner who are putting together a business plan for a low-budget slate, aiming to have a stream of content ready within a year. It’s a noble venture and something that can be readily done now with digital technology and the new economics of movie-making, and the readiness of cast and crew to work more flexibly than ever before. And, with advance marketing – even designing Internet slots before the movies are shot – to build up audience awareness from ground level, they believe they can create a viable and lucrative business. Forecasts say there will be a shortage of movie content within the next year, a direct effect of the drastic cutback in production during the past couple of years, and so they’re hoping to be ready with a pipeline of projects to work with by then. It’s a neat plan and our next challenge will be to find the $20 million required, so we’re now putting on our thinking caps.
Another director friend we’re working with to finance a small slate passed on an amusing comment he’d received from a funding source he’d been talking to. After several months of discussion the broker finally came to the table to say that his investor was now ready to look seriously at financing the movie slate. Great news – except that the first investor would require a $25k fee for him to visit our guy and carry out due diligence on his projects. “Don’t worry”, said the broker, “the guy has already financed a couple of property deals we’re doing and it’s a good sign that he’s interested in your project”. It’s pretty certain that you’ve heard this one before, haven’t we all, but the number one rule in raising money is never to pay anyone in advance for doing it. In any field of business if fundraisers can perform they will, but they rarely do once they’ve been paid and of course most fees of this sort are scams. It’s tough to find them but it’s important to work with trustworthy partners and if they can raise money for your ventures then they’ll share in the rewards. Of course we all consider every possible option on the way to getting movies made but some are just not worth the headache.
The Out Of Obscurity team
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
International film finance is what Movie Beach is all about and it’s always positive to see the movie financing world expanding. It looks like more international investors are now recognising the merits of investing into Hollywood. During the recent AFM, a financing conference heard that film funding will come increasingly from emerging markets in the coming years, following on from India’s Reliance Group’s $800 million investment in Steven Spielberg’s new Dreamworks. Reliance is leading the charge, and they have also struck development deals with a number of high-profile Hollywood players to acquire a number of movie projects that may end up being co-produced with Hollywood studios. But a number of other government and private funds are emerging in Asia and the Middle East as investors grow more aware and interested in Hollywood assets.
New international investment is now flowing from groups like Abu Dhabi’s Imagenation fund which has done a number of deals with mainstream Hollywood talent recently, and is just one of a number of groups vying for attention. Qatar just wrapped up its inaugural film festival which boasted major attendees like Robert de Niro and the announcement of its own strategic investment fund. Foreign investors are likely to be choosy in the companies they work with based on capability and track record. Also important is attitude, as underlined by Ashok Amritraj of Singapore-based Hyde Park Entertainment, which is the beneficiary of substantial backing from both Imagenation and Singapore’s MDA. He observed that Hollywood has been seen as not taking care of its investors, who need to see not only positive returns but also a little respect in order to become long-term partners.
It looks unlikely that hedge fund money will return to Hollywood any time soon, and not just because of the perception of under-performing studio slate deals done by eager funds and banks in recent years. In the final analysis the institutional investors who have the time to stick with their positions will see decent profits over the lives of those assets. But the recent wave was fuelled in part by excess liquidity in the markets looking for new investment opportunities, liquidity which has long since dried up. So Hollywood, ever hungry for cash, has had to look to new sources.
Among new international deals to come out of the AFM was the announcement of a 3-year development deal for major filmmaker Chris Columbus with South Korean group CJ Entertainment. Columbus already has a shot at Reliance’s development pot and this deal gives him a funding partner after a four-year search. It’s interesting that, while the headlines were dominated by studio slate deals in the last few years we’ve seen a number of producers enter negotiations with potential investors to finance their own companies and slates, with mixed results. Some have succeeded and others continue on a seemingly never-ending round of investor discussions. There are real deals to be had but also, it seems, a lot of false dawns where even the most successful producers frequently fail to close funding deals. This is true of every industry but in our observation the movie business seems to turn up more potential investors who never deliver on that potential. We continue to believe that if the deal is the right one, it’ll get done.
The Out Of Obscurity team
Monday, November 16, 2009
Movie business financing has been a recurring theme in a lot of conversations we’ve had over the last week or so. Currently in the news is the plight of the venerable studio MGM, the subject of a leveraged buy-out a few years back which weighed it down with a debt load of over $3 billion. MGM has found it impossible to trade out of that position - a tough job under any circumstances – and it hasn’t helped that the studio has hardly released any movies in recent years, the ones it has released have done poorly and the high-profile relaunch of United Artists under Tom Cruise has been a dud. A vicious cycle if ever there was one, and the press is now talking about the studio selling for something like $1.5 billion. Interestingly some are saying that the James Bond franchise alone is worth around $1.5 billion, but that’s a very big question mark. There is a library of over 4,000 movie titles but even that’s seen better days. So the prospects don’t look great but we hope a positive deal gets done to restructure the studio around a more sensible financial structure.
CNN reported earlier this year that some of the banks who got into the wave of slate deals with Hollywood studios over the past few years have been trying to offload their positions and were seeking potential buyers of their Hollywood interests. In familiar style, investment banks had hired teams of executives to get them into movie deals but got cold feet when the long-term film finance structures didn’t look like hits right away. Now, post-crash and with those high-powered teams of executives long gone, the banks find themselves with deals on their books which don’t fit their new reality. As we discussed with Euromoney magazine a while back, we believe that the banks weren’t really interested in the movie business long-term but they saw an opportunity to create complicated fee-based transactions and package up the residual debt to sell on to other buyers. However, that’s not how things panned out for them and the banks were left holding paper they couldn’t sell on assets which they didn’t understand. Great deals for some of the media assets buyers we know in Hollywood who are now picking up some very attractive asset pools from Wall St. and who know how to manage them over the true life of the assets. We always believe that movie investing over time and over a sensible portfolio of assets makes great sense, and that’s exactly how our Movie Portfolio Fund operates.
Over the past week we’ve all read goggle-eyed the reports about Nicolas Cage’s finances and, specifically, his amazing ability to spend his money on Bahamian islands and other exotic trinkets. We admire Nicky Cage a whole lot and as far as we can tell he’s a great actor who can spend his money on whatever he wants. He may be in a spot but it was nice to read over the weekend that Johnny Depp may be about to step in and help his old friend out. Big stars or not, it’s the simple gesture of helping out a friend that struck us most. Sure, Nic can go out and make a few more National Treasure movies and he’ll be back on the level again, but whatever your situation might be we all need a little friendly help from time to time. We’d all like to know we can count on a white knight to help us out in a pinch. On the road to Movie Beach there have been a few twists in the road and once in a while a friend or two has helped us stay on track, so we salute you Johnny Depp, and good friends in general. Cheers!
The Out Of Obscurity team
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It’s been fairly busy at the AFM this week considering we’re not buying or selling films. However we’ve been firmly focusing on making movies and we have advanced a number of discussions with potential investors into our film fund and partners with whom we’re planning to shoot some movies. We have good access to Canadian and US state subsidies but we still seem to be getting steered in the direction of The Bahamas. Now we know as well as most folks that there have been Bahamas productions that have gone $1 million over budget in transportation costs alone, and for sure there are resourcing issues. But Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 & 3 were shot in the islands and we have inside access to facilities and a partner who’s refined his model of making movies there which reduces the headaches and keeps his quality high, so we have good options.
Although the traffic at the AFM wasn’t overwhelming it was busier than last year and the whole shebang seemed relatively successful this time around. Best giveaways walking the floor were the cocktail savoury peas all the way from Fiji, and of course the Bahamian rum cake, thanks again guys! Actually sometimes we pop into the AFM just to hang out with our friends from the Bahamas so it was doubly handy this year that they had teamed up with those friendly folks from Fiji.
Film finance has been a hot topic as usual. Low budget and ultra-low budget movies are in vogue with producers seeing opportunities in niches that weren’t available previously, and the means to make such movies with advanced technology and willing talent more plentiful now than ever. Whether we’re going to see a real wave of big hits along the lines of Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch is debatable, but there certainly is a stream of these digital movies being made looking for new, different and sometimes tightly focused audiences. Simplifying the financing picture by getting one investor to put up $100k to get the whole movie done surely makes for a cleaner slate for producers, and if cleverer routes to revenue can be established then the whole structure can be much more efficient and effective than the traditional movie release process.
Today we bumped into a producer who was asked to help with a movie which was days away from shooting when a chunk of the budget fell out. In good faith he introduced a colleague who brought the investor, and all went well until the call was made for the investor to put up the funds, which didn’t happen. Now, several months later, the movie’s producers are suing the investor not only for non-performance of their obligation but also they’re questioning how $1 million came to be withdrawn from the escrow account that was set up specifically to fund the movie, and exactly where the money went. Perhaps it’s not the first time in film finance history this sort of thing has occurred but it’s still a little chilling and yet somehow unsurprising that it still goes on. To cap it all, our friend could be on the end of a lawsuit for “procuring” the investor who didn’t finance the movie but may have made off with the money . . . Not what you expect for doing a friendly favour.
The Out Of Obscurity team
Monday, November 09, 2009
Movie Beach has been a little more erratic than we intended this last week as we’ve been in and out at the AFM meeting some old friends and new, and catching up on changing trends in the business. We’re aiming to update every other day or so, so stick with us as we get into the groove.
Following on from our last post, a couple of friends this week echoed our sentiments about adjusting the focus back towards making movies and less on the slog of raising money. One friend, who recently placed highly in a prestigious national screenwriting competition, is craving the time to devote to his next work but he’s been distracted by his day job of consulting on projects for other producers. Helping to raise debt finance for other movies pays the bills to some degree but it doesn’t satisfy the creative urge. Another producer friend, tired of constantly adjusting the business plans on his projects, is currently seeking better structures for his equity investors who have been shifted further down the totem pole by debt financing. Better ways to get to the sharp end of making movies are on everyone’s mind this season.
There’s a lot of talk around the AFM this week about the changing film financing equation. In general producers are revising budgets down and not just because of the state of the economy, but because advances in technology and self-distribution are driving rapid changes in the formula. So, the concept of doing more for less really is a buzz out there and it doesn’t necessarily mean lowering quality standards. A director who spent most of the last five years trying to raise $3.5 million for one low-budget feature is now aiming to raise $1 million for a slate of four high-quality digital movies, including a little P&A spend on each feature. The economics of digital shooting mean he can put quality content on the screen at vastly lower cost than before, and he’s pretty sure he has an investor who will stump up the first $100k to kick things off. And, recent innovations in distribution strategies mean that niche audiences can be found to replace the dwindling pre-sales market and still make decent profits for producers and investors alike. It really is a whole new landscape.
Film financing changes but some things stay the same . . . While waiting on a friend today at the Lowes we overheard a conversation from another table, where a sharp-talking money man was pitching his financing package to two attentive, patient producers. They smiled and nodded as he explained how his bank would issue a Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC), then a guarantee on a loan to their production company backed by the SBLC, with which they would make their two movies. He explained to them that, after they pony up the fees to set the ball rolling, they would have the use of the SBLC for a whole year and could repeat the sweet deal themselves to generate another guarantee. The too-good-to-be-true moment came when he told them that, since the SBLC lapsed after a year and was covered by the guarantee anyway, they wouldn’t have to repay the loan. You can see how this tale unfolds from here: the mark pays up the money, the bank then unfortunately has some "difficulties" issuing the SBLC, the guarantee never arrives, the movies don't get made and the producers are left feeling like idiots and short of a few hundred k. And it all sounded so easy . . . It’s a great trick which we’ve all seen played out just so far, but we have a feeling the guy didn’t go home with a deal.
The Out Of Obscurity team
Thursday, November 05, 2009
At the risk of Movie Beach sliding off into the realm of self-help wacko’s, we’re in reflective mood today. So, if new age mumbo-jumbo’s not your cup of green tea then please bookmark us and come back tomorrow. But please read on . . .
You probably know the great quote from Goethe which goes: "Until there is commitment, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues forth from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."
We bumped into a friend at the AFM today and started chatting about getting movie projects moving. Of course the usual subjects like finding the money came up. I guess finding and retaining credible and consistent financing partners is just about the hottest topic in movieland. If you’ve got the money you get to make your movie, and until you do you’re doing a job that you didn’t sign up for – chasing down as many leads as you can on the trail of elusive investors/lenders/backers who’ll get your project funded. Most of us aren’t really salespeople although we all have to be, and until we get right into the mix of it we don’t consider that a whole slice of our lives will be given over to the money-hunt. But movies do get made, people want to finance them, and there are lots of successful partnerships between energetic film-makers and savvy investors. You need to find the niche that suits your project and, most importantly, your personality. You may find some old friends of friends who’d love to help out, or cold-call a swathe of dentists in the Midwest, sign up to go to venture capitalists’ conferences in San Jose or use your contacts in the Middle East to tap up some oil money. You do whatever you have to do, so get up and do it and you may surprise yourself.
We’re all in this business for our own reasons but most of us because we love movies and believe passionately in our projects, or our talent, or our partners and their talent, and it takes a special type of unflinching determination to pull it all together. This can be confounding to friends and family: sometimes we grow closer through the process and sometimes we lose the odd friend along the way, as happened to us just recently. As a film-maker you need a whole lot of sheer belief and grit to get to the finish line and in this business the finish line can be just the start of production, distribution and everything else. That’s why we were charmed to read about Andy Garcia’s newly-announced Hemingway biopic in today’s Variety, and not just because he’s corralled Anthony Hopkins and Annette Benning to star. The tale of the last 20 years of Hemingway’s life spent in Cuba has been a labour of love for Garcia, and it’s now finally taking shape after 30 years of development. For now his project is just off the ground with his main talent on board and he’s shopping for financing, beginning at the AFM. The coolest thing for us, though, is Garcia’s nugget from Francis Ford Coppola, who told him while making The Godfather that “the way you begin a movie is, you begin”. It’s a little trite, for sure, but it’s often easier to see the obstacles than the path and we’re all a little guilty of that from time to time. Today we’re reflecting on what we all got into this for in the first place, not a bad thing to do.
The Out Of Obscurity team
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Walking the dogs this morning we got chatting about the creative process. What does it take to pull all of the elements together to create a successful movie? Finance is only a part of it, and the distribution deals can be generated if you find the money, but it all boils down to the script. A great story, compellingly-written, with an original voice is what actors and directors crave. But do studios and audiences have the same desires and outlook? You’d think perhaps not, given that many recent big hit movies have been remakes, sequels and adaptations of recognized properties like comic books. Heaven help us when the studios come out with their upcoming new wave of movies based on things like Lego, Asteroids, GI Joe and Barbie. Even Steven Spielberg’s latest announced project is a remake of the classic movie Harvey, featuring a 6 ft tall and loveable invisible rabbit. Whatever next, the Corn Flakes box movie? - please do post and let us know if that one’s already been done.
Audiences have been flocking to see tentpole movies in greater numbers than before, as underscored last week’s report that the studios’ big-budget spectaculars really are the movies that make the most money. And conversely they’ve been staying away from such high-minded fare as Duplicity and State Of Play. We hear regularly that adult – as in grown-up – movies featuring intelligent dialogue, excellent acting and real dramatic tension just don’t play any more. Maybe so, and maybe there are more young adults these days who’d prefer to watch Transformers. But come on, maybe there just need to be a few better grown up movies to drag people in off the streets. Sure, there’s a different demographic from the 1970’s when folks went to the cinema to be challenged and educated, but there has to be a market for quality, original work.
Writing in today’s LA Times, Patrick Goldstein reports that the studios’ current wave of cost-cutting in an effort to rely less on name talent and feed their pipelines with cheaper movies along the lines of The Hangover or episodes of Star Trek, is a throwback to earlier events. Goldstein tells us that uber-agent Ari Emanuel of WME recently reminded his team of a Life Magazine feature from 1970, when Paramount tried to jettison it array of expensive talent in favour of lower-budget movies and remakes: history repeats itself. But of course studios don’t always make the best decisions and trying to rely on formulas, or remaking past hits in the hope of recreating similar success, just doesn’t work. Epics, westerns and musicals have all been the tentpoles of their day, mirrored these days by sci-fi spectaculars, comic-book adaptations and the vampire bandwagon. Success does come in waves but it’s when the factory tries to just keep churning out facsimiles from the same formula that the train hits the buffers. The early 1970’s saw a rush of adventurous, creative and original film-makers making great movies like MASH and The Godfather that set the train off in a different direction of creative success. There’s always room for innovation, creativity and raw talent. And just as surely as 40 years ago the creative inertia will be broken by original, creative movies that audiences will want to see. We think it can't come soon enough: unless you’re on the edge of your seat waiting on the View-Master movie.
The Out Of Obscurity team.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Variety reports today that although the Hollywood studios aren’t acquiring projects right now, international development funding is coming to the aid of some big-name producers. India’s Reliance Big Entertainment Group, Steven Spielberg’s new backers, have financed their fifth property pickup for Julia Roberts’ production company, and they have similar deals in place with other major stars including George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Jim Carrey. Reliance is confident that for the relatively modest outlay of $20m they’ll turn up enough solid prospects to co-produce some hit movies with their star partners. Good value for their stake.
Institutions around the world are coming to the table with new film financing deals. In recent weeks the Abu Dhabi Imagenation group has announced funding deals for established producers and groups in Singapore, China and Europe are all busy. It’s good to see investors actively looking at film finance as an attractive investment sector, it underscores our own investment philosophy. A diverse portfolio of movie assets over time is a non-correlated asset pool with long-tail multiple revenue streams. That’s hard to beat compared with conventional asset classes and we figure that’s why investors are turning to the movie sector. Of course the cliché of naïve investors being hoodwinked out of their money by fast-talking producers on the promise of a share of a movie’s “profit” is a fading image. In practice most investors these days are very savvy and know what they’re looking at.
Prospective movie investors are looking for the same thing as anyone else: an investment story that holds water in a transparent structure with a good chance of upside. Clear terms on deals and some equality among the participants. It’s not enough any more to offer the “money” the last seat on the bus and the promise of some excitement along the way. Shakespeare In Love was fantastic on many levels and right on the money about attitudes to investors: “Who are you” Mr Fennyman is asked, replying “I’m the money”. So he’s told “Then you may remain as long as you remain silent”!
New waves of capital from Asia, the Middle East or anywhere else are all great for business. The inaugural Qatar Film Festival closed at the weekend with the announcement that the first project under the island state’s new film fund will be a big-screen spectacular about the life of the prophet Mohammed, to be produced by Barrie Osborne of Lord Of The Rings fame. It’s a project not without its challenges, including the likelihood that the prophet himself cannot actually be depicted . . . However we hope that the investors make great money and that they keep on coming back and inspiring others from around the world. The right movie investments can make great profits and as long as investors see value in your movie proposition they’ll feel like they’re a part of the process. Smart producers are packaging projects to show investors real value, partnership and exit strategies that work for them.