What is a Film Business Plan? – The Ask Alex Show 005

(upbeat techno dance music) – Today’s show is sponsored by BlackBox. What’s a film business plan
and what makes it different than your average business plan? Is it necessary to spend
a long time drafting one before you move forward with production? Or should you move forward
on a film development while drafting the plan
for yourself and investors? – So, it all really depends on the budget. – Right. – So, I’ve never done
a film business plan. I’ve done packages and things like that, like pitch packages for features where you create a PPM, a
private placement memorandum, all this kind of stuff, legal stuff, and you kinda create this 30 or 40-page, basically a business plan,
but I’ve never done it from a project that I’ve actually shot. It all depends on your budget. If you’re doing a small
micro-budget film, absolutely not. You don’t need to do anything like that. You should have a plan as far as how you make your money back,
or how you plan to market it. But you don’t need to
create a film business plan. I’m a weird guy because
I’m a weird filmmaker, because I kind of am in, at this place, at this stage of my career, I’m at a place where I just wanna just go. I don’t wanna wait around for people, I don’t wanna wait for
someone to give me permission to go make my stuff. So, I just, like, “You know what? “I’m just gonna go grab a camera, “let’s just go make a movie,” obviously with a script and pre-production and all this kinda stuff,
but I just wanna go. So, I’m gonna try to keep my budgets low. But, are you asking about
a larger budget movie, or are you asking for more of a personal, or a smaller budget movie? – Well, it completely makes sense with the personal smaller budget. I think for a larger movie, maybe, if you’re going over
a few million dollars. – Oh, God, yes, okay. (laughs)
So, completely understanding. So, let’s take this on a case-by-case. So, you have a movie that’s
$2 million budget, let’s say? – Sure, yeah.
– Okay. Is that $2 million budget, I’m assuming you wanna be the director. – Yes. – Have you ever directed
anything prior to this as far as a feature film is concerned? – Yeah. – Okay, how many feature films do you have underneath your belt? – One. (chuckles) – And what was the budget of that film? – That was $50,000. – Okay, and did you make money with that $50,000 feature film? – Yes. – Okay, was it fairly profitable
or somewhat profitable? – It was somewhat profitable. – Okay, so you didn’t quit your day job? – No, well, I did. – Well, good, good for you,
but you know what I mean, you’re not rolling around in it off the first movie.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Yeah.
– I’m living. (laughing)
– You’re alive, you’re alive. Got it, got it.
– I’m alive. (laughing) – So, this is a mistake
a lot of filmmakers make and this is, again, my
opinion and my opinion only. – Right.
– When you do a 50,000, and by the way, are they
the same genre of film? – Yes.
– Was it an action? – Yeah, it was an action, an action-drama. – Okay, so it was an
action-drama, alright. So, a lot of filmmakers
will do this mistake, where they’ll make a $50,000 feature, and then automatically
wanna jump to $2 million. Is it possible? Absolutely, can it happen? I’ve seen it happen, is it rare? Absolutely, very rare for it to happen.
– Yeah. – So, my advice would be to try to do a couple more baby
steps before you try to pitch a $2 million budget, purely because you don’t
have the track record yet to justify that budget. So, if you’ve done a ton of commercials, a ton of music videos, you’ve been on production for 10, 15 years, and you just hadn’t made a
feature film yet, that’s tough. It took forever for Fincher
to get his first movie. It took forever for Michael
Bay to get his movie after doing thousands and
thousands of hours on set and probably more prolific as filmmakers than a lot of filmmakers
making feature films out there. – Yeah.
– But to get that opportunity, it takes a lot, it takes
basically a guardian angel to come down and go, “I
trust this guy with my money, “or with money, you should go in.” So, unless you have someone like that, jumping from $50,000 to $2 million, unless the project, by the way, is like the most amazing
film ever written, then there might be, you know, if you got like a Shawshank
Redemption process going on, like what sorta happened
with Frank Darabont. Frank Darabont wanted to
direct Shawshank Redemption, and he had never directed before. And they gave him, I think it
was like seven million bucks they wanted to give him for his script, and he said, “No, I wanna direct.” And they gave him $250,000
and he got to direct, and the rest is history. But it takes a lot to be able to do that. So, I don’t wanna see you fall
into the traps that I’ve done and I’ve seen so many filmmakers do where they spend another
two or three years chasing that $2 million movie, where
they could have maybe made another two $50,000 or $100,000 movies and grown from there.
– Right. – I had a director on
the show a while ago, his name’s, oh God, it’s,
oh, God, I forgot his name, but he did exactly–
(laughing) I can’t, ’cause it’s a weird Latino name. I’m Latino, so I can say that. (laughing) It drives me nuts, but he actually did a $10,000 horror movie, then he jumped to a $50,000 action movie,
which he was smart enough to get name talent attached for that $50,000 movie,
Danny Trejo in there. Then from that, someone gave
him a couple hundred thousand to make this action movie. So, after that, he
jumped to a million five, $2 million movie, and then now, he’s doing five to $10
million action movies. But did you see the way
that progression happened? – Yeah.
– They didn’t give it to him right after the first movie.
– Yeah. – He needed to prove to them
’cause one movie’s not enough. So, you know, I know everyone’s like, “Oh, you got a feature
film,” that’s great. Unless that feature film
was a huge monster hit, if you’re dealing in the same, in this world where we
live, in the trenches, making a few extra of those movies while, if you wanna keep chasing that, go for it. But you should be making
other films along the way. So, I know that’s not a direct
answer to your question. It’s like this whole convoluted answer to the, “Should I make a film– – It’s a good answer.
(laughing) – “Should I make a film business,” okay. – I was gonna say it’s
a complicated question. – Yeah, exactly, but so, the basic answer to that specific question
is if you’re gonna make a $2 million movie and you’re
gonna try to get investors, absolutely, you should
have an attorney involved, you should have a proper private placement memorandum set up, get an LLC, or a do business as, DBA,
so you can receive money once it comes, these are all basic things. Like, you’re gonna go ask for money, but you have no bank account. So, literally, somebody
wants to give you a check, you have no way to take that money, that’s like the biggest
mistake most filmmakers make. – Right.
– They do this whole big thing but they don’t have a bank account for someone who’s like, “You know, “I just wanna write you a
check, who do I make it out to?” And you go, “Uh, uh, Abdullah?” No, that’s not gonna work.
(laughing) You need to make it out,
you have to have LLC set up, but before you even spend
the money on an LLC, you can easily do a DBA to you personally. – Yeah.
– So, you can do a DBA so at least you can accept money. But again, always talk to an attorney about any of that kind of stuff. – [Alex] I wanted to share with you this amazing new service called, BlackBox. Imagine taking old footage
that you’ve shot in the past, and being able to submit them to all the major stock footage
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4 thoughts on “What is a Film Business Plan? – The Ask Alex Show 005

  1. As a producer/line producer who specializes in pitch decks for filmmakers seeking funding to me a business plan is extremely important. It's a road map on the life span of your film, intended market, potential revenue, and exit plan. I've worked on budgets ranging from $50k to $2.5 million. Its all the same you need a finished film to distribute.

    We all collective agree that a business plan is a projection. We have no idea if it will ever find it's audience but its extremely important to have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C on how your film will make money.

    Alex you are right about putting a deadline on your film. If your budget is $250,000.00 and you only have $75,000.00 shoot it!

  2. Such great advice about having a lot of industry experience before people will invest millions with you. Excellent point about chasing millions vs. getting more production experience. Great Video and well worth watching!

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