Thanks to all of you for supporting this blog so far! I’m thrilled that the last two postings charting my stupidity/smarts with previous projects have both cracked 100 readers! This is quite a step up from the first few postings, which were viewed by maybe four or five people each. Wow. Just like an indie film, a blog gets built little-by-little.
Today, I’m sweating it a little bit because I’ve scheduled my first meeting with a potential investor for ‘Inside-Out, Outside-In.’ And, truth be told, I’m still working on developing the business plan to give him tomorrow. Sometimes life unfolds at a slightly faster pace than you anticipate. Many elements still need to come together and – most especially – the sales projections for my film (will be headed down to the Margaret Herrick Library in a bit to do some research on foreign sales numbers for movies in my category). So for all those who think making indie films is a walk in the park (take note Elizabeth Banks), it all starts with boring business plans and trips to the library.
I would love to report a positive development after tomorrow’s meeting. Until then, since this is a blog about us learning together about indie films, I thought I’d include the tentative list of topics I plan to include in the business plan. They are:
2. Synopsis (one page)
3. Filmmaker Biography
4. Target Audience Report
5. Budget Synopsis
6. Financing Plan
7. Distribution Plan
8. Marketing Plan
9. Sales Projections
10. Call to Action
11. One Sheet mock-up
12. Statement of Risk
I’ve made the decision to include only a one-page synopsis and a one-page budget summary because – from what I understand – investors are busy people and only have a very limited amount of time to consider your proposal. I will also pull together a packet of supporting material available to email the investor – if interested – that will include the five-page treatment, the full budget and more information/documentation about the performance of my past projects.
Oh and on behalf of my hard-working independent film friends, I’d like to go ahead and note the douchebag-of-the-week: Elizabeth Banks. In a really classless move, she criticized Kevin DiNovis, the first filmmaker to give her a lead role in his indie film ‘Surrender Dorothy’ (which by the way won Slamdance and the NY Underground Film Festival and won praise from Roger Ebert). In an April 19th interview with Slate.com, not only did she describe the film as her worst career mistake, she went on to say she wasn’t even sure of the title of her first feature film. Elizabeth: “Really early on, I did this one film – I think it’s called ‘Surrender, Dorothy,’ I’m not even sure anymore….” Now Elizabeth, you don’t remember the name of your first film??? Really, now. Can we say ‘Passive-aggressive?’ She goes on to insult the director who gave her a big break even further by saying of her experience on the film, “I thought, ‘I’d better go to drama school and learn how to never have this job again.’” Wow.
You heard it here first. Elizabeth Banks sure comes across as an ungrateful 1%’er with little to no respect for the incredible hard work involved in indie filmmaking. If this was some student film that truly was awful, maybe I’d understand. But to trash your debut film that went on to win Slamdance? Out-of-touch Hollywood elite all the way. Boo!!!! Have some class and apologize to Kevin and indie film, Elizabeth…don’t worry, we’re a forgiving bunch.
For those of us who still have to work in the real world, business plans are very important (even if they come together at the last minute). Will keep you all posted. See you at the library!
Hunter Lee Hughes is a filmmaker living and working in Los Angeles and the founder of Fatelink, an open source production company. Our filmmaking blog charts the progress of each of our projects. If you enjoy the blog, please support our team by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@Fatelink) or Instagram (@Fatelink).