Monday, May 16, 2011

Cannes Shows The Way Up

It’s Cannes time again and things seem to be looking pretty rosy. When we last visited the festival the mood was decidedly sombre, and at the press conference for the new business we were helping to launch the questions were almost universally about when the gloom would end. There were fewer film-makers on show and buyers weren’t buying. This year, however, it looks like there’s a lot of good movies generating buzz, and a reinvigorated appetite from buyers all over the world. That can only be good for business, and we’re hoping to take advantage of the sentiment ourselves as we’re taking a few initial steps with one of our own projects that’s being repped by a colleague at Cannes. More on that later, but the “development” hat is definitely getting dusted off this season.

Good news that the buzz is back among film-makers and we’re looking for evidence that the money is coming back also. We’re currently helping a couple of friends package their projects and there might just be more funding sources to go to than for some time. Producers are always looking for new, reliable sources of finance and we’re being told that there actually is a lot of new money out there these days looking to invest into films. It sounds obvious, but it’s now more important than ever for a movie project to be presented with a credible budget and a top-notch business plan. The most important elements by far are the investment structure and distribution strategy. If you can show your investors that they are taking part in a legitimate business venture with a credible and likely payout then you’ve got a great chance of getting the money for your movie.

Movies rarely get greenlit or rake in investment dollars these days simply on content, but if you’ve got a convincing business case and can demonstrate how and when the investors will see their money back, then you’ll be taken seriously by the money. Emphasise the return to equity investors – those guys that take the most risk and are likely to be getting paid out last – and if you can convince them you have a great deal then other elements will fall into place. There are many ways to offer incentives to investors: compensating them from tax credits or distribution deals as they get done, or guaranteeing repayments of funds in stages as revenues begin to flow can all help lower the investor’s total exposure to loss.

Helping investors make money is the ultimate goal, but in the movie world if you can show your investors a way that will ensure they don’t lose their money, then you’re ahead of the pack. Structure your presentation properly, focus on achievable returns, and you will cultivate loyal investors for your next movie as well.

The Out Of Obscurity team.

No comments: