Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Self Greenlighting

One of the most common questions I get is how to get started making a movie. So here's a little primer for all those go-getters who have gumption and initiative. This is not how to get H'Wood to hire you to make your movie. This is for those who want to DIY.

1. Have a good idea, and preferably a great script. Whether you write it or talk a friend into letting you have it (and signing an option agreement for a dollar or something), make sure you have clear title to the property.

1B. Find some seed money to pay for the attorney coming up in 2 and 3. ($10K would be a good start).

2. Create the legal entity. Some create an LLC (limited Liability Corporation). Others create an LP (Limited Partnership, with a corporation as the general partner). If you've never done this before, seek an attorney-- each state has different rules.
2B. You'll need to decide how much to raise, what size are the units (mine are typically $5K each), and how the returns will be divided up.

3. Get your paperwork together. For an LP, this might include: The LP Agreement, the Offering Memorandum, Subscription Booklet and Business Plan. Keep the first three together. Keep the BP seperated from the others. The Offering Memo is "every reason why not to invest." The BP is "every reason to invest." Your attorney will create the first three. You'll need to create the BP or hire someone to do it. On the left is the original cover for The Imposter business plan.

4. Now work the phones etc. Call every wealthy person you know. Get appointments. Prepare a presentation. Pitch them at the meeting. Hopefully, you will get them to agree to come in. After their attorney has time to review the paperwork, have them sign the last page of the LP agreement, fill out the sub booklet, and paper clip the check.

5. When you have raised enough-- go make your movie!

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