For several years I’ve been asked how we go about funding our movies independently, and so a discussion usually follows regarding all that goes into development and pre-production of a film. Now, there’s a lot involved, and I have at times tried to breakdown the process for people and all of the work that goes into it. As a way to clarify further, I will be adding “no-frills” versions of documents we’ve developed over time to present to investors, production companies, and/or producers that helped us along the way. Several of these documents we’ve polished and updated, but for educational purposes for those interested in independent film production, I can share paired down samples of what we use for certain documents.
My next sample is a very basic, Movie Prospectus.
It’s for a movie that we are still very excited about, but have put on the back burner for now, so I don’t mind sharing this as an example. I hope you find this to be helpful:
Business and Product
Crossing Walter, LLC (herein also referred to as “CW, LLC” or “The Company”) is an Arizona-based company formed for the purpose of developing and producing a full-length feature film currently titled “Crossing Walter” (herein also referred to as “The Film”), a family comedy. Brothers’ Ink Productions serves as the Member-Manager of The Company.
We are seeking film production financing in the amount of $3,250,000 (three million two hundred fifty thousand US dollars) that includes the cost of pre-production, principal photography, and post-production for a theatrical and/or DVD release for the film.
$25,000 per Membership Interest, an aggregate of 130 Interests available for a total of $3,250,000 (three million two hundred fifty thousand US dollars) for the production. (PPM available upon request.)
This package has a high success potential due to the following reasons:
- Recognizable TV actors, which makes the film more marketable, commercial and more attractive to a wider audience.
- The Comedy genre is extremely attractive in the indie feature industry and sells well to foreign markets.
- Brothers’ Ink is well established in the Phoenix Film market and will utilize their influence and reputation to recruit cast and crew for all stages of the production. This will create a buzz throughout the region and a sense of community for the film. The filmmakers and actors will in essence, market the film to all of their families and friends, building up an audience for the release of the film in the Phoenix market.
- Brothers’ Ink has secured a letter of intent (LOI) for distribution…(Request to view LOI)
The Product – Crossing Walter
Crossing Walter, LLC owns the option on the original screenplay, written by John Waldron, who is also on board as Executive Producer.
Feature Film Logline
An average family man accidentally mistaken for a human trafficker gets deported the weekend of his daughter’s wedding. With no money or possessions, he struggles to cross the border and make it back home in time to walk his daughter down the aisle.
“Crossing Walter” is a film about Walter Wheeler, a compulsive tax accountant and over protective family man. His world is turned upside down when his daughter comes home for the weekend to announce that she is quitting college and getting married on Sunday.
At the advice of his hapless brother-in-law, Walter innocently picks up a few day laborers and gets mistaken as a human trafficker (coyote) and deported to Mexico. With no money or possessions, he struggles to cross the border and make it back home in time for the wedding.
Through the adventure, Walter finds a renewed strength with the love of his family and learns to let his children live their own lives. “Crossing Walter” explores the themes of love, endurance, respect and commitment and that nothing is more important than family.
- Little Miss Sunshine
- Stranger Than Fiction
- Garden State
Brothers’ Ink, LLC’s business strategy is not predicated on luck. Given our knowledge of the film industry and the track record of our team, we are aware of the challenges and risks involved in moviemaking. We also know how to apply our professional experience in business affairs, creative affairs, development, production, and marketing to manage the inherent risks. We have a talented management team with business ownership backgrounds, film industry backgrounds, negotiating acumen, and storytelling abilities.
The film will be produced independently of a major motion picture studio. That is, it will be created and financed outside the major studios. However, Brothers’ Ink, LLC will seek leading distributors (including the distribution divisions of major studios) in the United States and abroad in order to obtain the widest possible distribution of the film and to maximize revenues.
The production cost of an average Hollywood film produced by a major studio continues to rise and now stands at over $60MM according to industry estimates. Each of the major studios has established units to produce pictures at lower budgets.
According to recent research from the Motion Picture Association of America, the average production costs for these subsidiaries and affiliated studios (companies such as Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, New Line, and Miramax) is still high at $34MM. As a result, Hollywood has a strong incentive to work with independent producers who can deliver quality motion pictures that have wide audience appeal.
Brothers’ Ink, LLC plans to create a financially successful film without the burden of significant overhead charges, which in the case of major studios, have little to do with the production of the film. The Company will keep overhead to an absolute minimum and will devote our resources to delivering a quality film to the screen.
Brothers’ Ink, LLC will attempt to earn revenue and generate investor returns from the exploitation of the following film rights in the United States and worldwide:
- Licensing the rights for theatrical exhibition
- Foreign Distribution
- DVD sales and rental
- Television broadcasts (cable, free TV)
- Other ancillary markets (including licensing and merchandising, etc.)
Obtaining an “acquisition deal” is a primary business objective. In this type of distribution arrangement, the independent producer raises production monies from investors, but distributor funds are not used to market and distribute the movie. The distribution agreement is usually entered into after the film is produced (i.e., the film is already “in the can”). This approach to film finance and distribution generally provides the producer and creative team with the most creative control and the investors greater profit participation.
In order to deliver the film on budget, the management of Brothers’ Ink, LLC plans to adhere to the highest standards of cost control and financing reporting. Key reasons for budget overruns on films are the lack of financial controls and the lack of overall project management. We will implement and maintain an accurate budget and related financial reports, a pre-production schedule, a shooting schedule and a post-production schedule. Tight internal procedures, the implementation of accounting policies in accordance with US GAAP, and outside review of financial statements by a CPA-certified auditor will ensure that the Company’s management and investors have an accurate fiscal assessment.
Though the U.S. motion picture industry continues to be both profitable and financially stable, box office receipts, once the cornerstone of motion picture distribution, continue to become less and less important as emerging technologies both create new distribution methods and make those methods more accessible to independent filmmakers.
- Filmed Entertainment
- Strong box office receipts will fuel spending worldwide.
- DVDs and digital distribution will continue to boost the home video market.
No other country’s film industry creates entertainment that is as well received as U.S. produced movies. In Europe, American films currently capture from 50%-90% of the box office.
The licensing of films for home Video/DVD and television (network and syndicated, pay cable, and basic cable) is now overtaking revenues derived from theatrical release. Nevertheless, the stronger the box office returns, the more money a film property will command in ancillary markets.
While the theatrical market has enjoyed steady growth, the home Video/DVD sector has been even more impressive, with digital distribution continuing a strong and steady growth worldwide.
The video IPOD, IPAD, IPHONE as well as online download and burn services create additional distribution methods for studios and independents alike. This bodes well for independent filmmakers who often find it easier to obtain home video distribution.
With robust industry conditions projected for the next five years the underlying fundamentals are in place to support independent film production and distribution.
The market for independently produced films in the U.S. has increased significantly in the last five years. The outstanding box office success of films like My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($368,744,044 Worldwide box office), Little Miss Sunshine ($99,121,298 Worldwide box office), and Napoleon Dynamite ($46,118,097 Worldwide box office) is well known. However, there is a well-established trend of independent films being embraced by ever-broader audience segments.
Above and beyond such record-setting results, there is a larger trend emerging at the box office. Independent films are no longer limited to niche or art house releases. Broad audiences across the country are now embracing independently produced films.
In part, this growth is being fueled by the continued expansion of theatres presenting independent films. “The proliferation of indie screens enables distributors to keep their films in cinemas longer, even if they aren’t breakout hits,” notes the business daily Crain’s New York Business.
Distribution and Marketing
When the film is completed, the Management team will explore the most financially optimal arrangement for Brothers’ Ink, LLC and its shareholders. This will include a domestic distribution deal with a major distribution Company, selling off of individual international territories and/or the combination of both. The intent of the management team is to structure a distribution deal that not only pays the Company monies up front but also ensures that the film will get the maximum exposure and marketing support by an established and well-known distributor. To this extent, the management team may accept distribution contracts that initially may not pay the most upfront for the picture but, at the discretion of the management team, presents the most viable opportunity to make revenues long-term.
As an example of the various opportunities that may be presented to the Company, a foreign distribution deal involves an advance against sales in all non-North American territories from a foreign sales Company. This advantage can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars, depending on the perceived value of he film and the structure of the contract. The film sales Company will then sell rights to distribute the film territory-by-territory. The film receives monies over and above the advance after the advance and the foreign sales Company has recouped the distribution expenses. Generally a cap is established in the contract for all expenses of the film incurred by the sales Company. Additional revenues, if any, are split between the foreign sales Company and the producers of the film. The foreign sales Company will take a percentage of revenues from a low 15% to a high 40%, depending on the amount of the initial advance. All these points are negotiable and are dependent on the needs of the individual film.
Domestic distribution deals are similar, except that the distribution rights are sold to one distributor rather thank to multiple distributors in multiple territories. Generally, the domestic distributor will acquire all rights, i.e. theatrical, television, and home video, in order to maximize exposure and coordinate marketing and advertising.
Foreign and domestic theatrical distribution, as well as home Video/DVD, are the primary revenue streams for independent films. Additional revenue may be derived from television and ancillary markets. Success in these ancillary markets will usually depend on the quantity of success enjoyed by the picture during its theatrical exhibition.
Brothers’ Ink, LLC has developed several strategies to obtain distribution for the picture. First, we will leverage and further cultivate existing professional relationships in the entertainment business. We plan to develop direct connections to both studio distribution executives as well as to production companies with “studio output deals”. (Studio output deals allow certain high-profile production companies to utilize the global distribution arms of major studios.)
To gain access to an even broader set of distribution decision-makers, we will seek to create an aura of desirability for the film from the very beginning. We will generate publicity for the project in the pre-production phase and we will start creating “buzz” within the industry and the comedy fan community. This is accomplished by, among other tactics, communicating with industry trade magazines and providing updates to insider websites. This early level of awareness will help strengthen our position as we begin to brief executives at the major studios. However, based on the commercial potential of the film, studio executives will want to keep track of our progress. When the film is complete, we will enter it into festivals around the world. The festivals will enable us to expose the film to influential moviegoers and to gain press attention.
In addition, we will retain a sales agent to represent the film at major film markets including the American Film Market, which takes place each November in Santa Monica, CA and Cannes Film Festival, which takes place each May in France. Film Buyers from around the world gather at these markets seeking motion pictures for foreign and domestic distribution in theatrical, television and ancillary markets. All of these elements will help us to expose the film to influential moviegoers, to gain press attention, and help our film stand out from competitive films.
The film will be particularly appealing to distributors due to large audience appeal because of the family and comedy genres and the PG targeted rating. With a film that is well received on the festival circuit, which connects with a broad audience, we should be suitably positioned to obtain a distribution deal from a major distributor. We will seek distribution from companies that give the films a theatrical run, but that are also strong in DVD/Video distribution. While the film business is inherently risky, we are producing the film at a small enough budget that will enable us to generate a profit under a number of different scenarios.
Principle photography is planned for the Fall/Winter of 2016. Pre-production has already begun. The films will be shot entirely on location in Georgia. For further information on the benefits of filming in Georgia, see ‘Georgia Motion Picture Tax Incentives’ on Page 13.
Brothers’ Ink intends to negotiate all ancillary rights to Crossing Walter worldwide. Ancillary rights include but are not limited to the following: Network TV, Premium Cable TV, Syndicated TV, DVD rental and sales, Pay-Per-View TV, Posters, Soundtrack CDs, Toys, Soft Drinks, Games, etc.
All rights are currently with John Waldron and Brothers’ Ink Productions. These rights are to be negotiated with each individual distribution territory worldwide. We seek to retain all publishing rights.
We are looking for partnerships with major advertising like Pepsi, Apple Computer, and Dominos Pizza to help with creating merchandising for the films to possibly include a music soundtrack, toys, clothing, special promotions, posters, games, books, etc. The merchandising rights will be negotiated as needed.
Concurrently, we will negotiate television licensing, cable, DVD/Video and all other ancillary rights Worldwide.
Net Profits will be distributed after all expenses and fees are met and will be paid as follows:
- 90% to the investors, 10% to Brothers’ Ink Productions, until 150% of initial capital investment is reached;
For a profit projection, see Figure 3.5 under ‘Revenue Forecasting and Projections’ on page 15.
We are committed to including at least two (2) “A” list actors that will attract studio distribution and/or audience interest.
- Paul Giamatti
- Jeff Daniels
- Bill Engval
- Bruce Campbell
- John Tuturro
- Jim Belushi
- Holly Hunter
- Frances McDormand
- Bonnie Hunt
- M.C. Gainey
- Larry the Cable Guy
- 78 of the films in the top 100 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are rated PG or PG-13.
- 22 of the films in the top 25 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are rated PG or PG-13. Out of the other 3, two are G and 1 is R.
- All 10 of the top 10 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are PG or PG-13.
- Over 50% of all the films on the one hundred top grossing films of all time (Worldwide) would fall under the Family or Comedy Genres.
- Out of the 18 films entering the top 25 (Worldwide) since 2000, 13 of them are Family or Comedy.
- So far in 2007, 8 of the top 10 grossing films (Domestic) are Family or Comedy.
Brothers’ Ink Productions
In 2003, Donovan Montierth, Adam Montierth and Jason Walters created Brothers’ Ink Productions. They released their first 35mm short film, “Reveille” to audiences in 2004 and have since produced or partnered with other production companies to produce over 15 short films based on Brothers’ Ink scripts.
The company has participated in over 40 film festivals across the country, won over 20 awards for their films and screenplays, and sold and optioned several screenplays. Many of the films have aired on TV and most recently, Brothers’ Ink Productions signed a contract with the Department of Defense for them to play “Reveille” on the American Forces Network and the Pentagon Channel throughout 2007. Brothers’ Ink Productions won a Rocky Mountain Emmy® Award for “Reveille” on October 6th, 2007.
Brothers’ Ink Productions added Nick Stahr, Neil Mather, John Waldron and Adam Devaney as Creative Directors in November 2008. This enabled Brothers’ Ink Productions to increase production and in 2008 they produced 6 short films and went into development on 3 feature films.
Brothers’ Ink Productions is an award-winning production company focused on creating commercial films that are high in quality at conservative budgets. Brothers’ Ink recently finished their first feature film called Locker 13 starring Golden Globe Winner Ricky Schroder, Rick Hoffman, Jon Gries, Jon Polito, Curtis Armstrong, Krista Allen, Tatyana Ali and lensed by Academy Award Winner Russell Carpenter.
Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions
John Waldron is a professional stand-up comedian, comedy writer and producer. He produced and co-hosted “Morning Coffee”, an AM radio morning show on KFHX 1620 AM, produced and co-hosted “Happy Hour”, a drive-time comedy talk show on NBC radio, and has written comedy for KDKB’s “Tim and Mark Show”, “The Howard Stern Show”, and several local radio programs.
He has trained with David Razowsky of Second City, Tony Vicich of The Tempe Improv, and performed with the likes of Jeff Altman, Charles Fleischer, Franklin Ajaye, and Steve Bluestein. He has hosted several television programs, including “Arizona Express”, “Arizona Book-Nook”, and “Live!…on tape!”, a short-lived but hilarious comedy talk-show in the Phoenix Market. He has Directed, Produced, and Acted in several Brothers’ Ink films, including “American Big Game”, “Dirty Laundry”, “Relocation”, and “Neighborwood”.
Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions
Donovan has written, sold and optioned several screenplays, including adapting two novels from popular thriller authors into scripts. Donovan was also included as an Honorable Mention in the Best American Mystery Stories 2007, edited by Carl Hiaasen, for a short story called, “Capacity to Kill” which is published in the Thuglit Anthology Hardcore Hardboiled by Kensington Press. Donovan won an Emmy Award along with his brother Adam for writing, directing and producing Reveille, which was shown on the Pentagon Channel and all over the world on the American Forces Network.
Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions
For many years, Adam has specialized in directing, writing and producing a plethora of programs in classic and new media. He specializes in providing a cinematic storytelling experience for advertisers/brand marketers that want to reach their audience in a new and effective way. Some highlights include a 30 minute interview with New York Best Selling Author J.A. Jance, a viral public service announcement for battered women, a10-minute short film about military veterans that was viewed over 6 million times on Google and the release of an informative children’s book called, “Dream” that included a book tour where he spoke to elementary schools throughout Arizona about the importance making your dreams come true.
|SELECTED INDEPENDENT FILMS COMEDY GENRE|
|(Millions of Dollars)|
|Little Miss Sunshine||$8,000,000||$99,041,006||$46,320,000||$137,361,006|
|Being John Malkovich||$13,000,000||$22,863,596||$28,300,000||$38,163,596|
|My Big Fat Greek Wedding||$5,000,000||$241,400,000||$65,100,000||$301,500,000|
|Thank You For Smoking||$6,500,000||$39,232,211||$27,310,000||$60,042,211|
|(Note: Domestic DVD/Video Only.) Sources: Box Office Mojo.com, The-Movie-Times.com, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes.com|
|SELECTED STUDIO FILMS WITHIN THE COMEDY GENRE|
|(Millions of Dollars)|
|Stranger Than Fiction||$38,000,000||$53,227,000||$35,690,000||$50,917,000|
|Are We There Yet?||$32,000,000||$97,919,147||$44,010,000||$109,929,147|
|The Family Man||$60,000,000||$124,745,083||$86,900,000||$151,645,083|
|The Family Stone||$18,000,000||$92,283,851||$42,970,000||$117,253,851|
|The Upside of Anger||$12,000,000||$28,198,143||$44,500,000||$60,698,143|
|A Good Year||$35,000,000||$40,679,283||$15,730,000||$21,409,283|
|Must Love Dogs||$30,000,000||$58,405,313||$36,190,000||$64,595,313|
|(Note: Domestic DVD/Video Only.) Sources: Box Office Mojo.com, The-Movie-Times.com, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes.com|
|SUMMARY OF ESTIMATED PRODUCTION COSTS||ESTIMATE|
|Acct #||Description||Page #||Total|
|1100||Story and Other Rights||2||77,927|
|1500||Travel and Living||6||208,125|
|3100||Makeup and Hairdressing||17||36,360|
|3200||Electrical, Rigging, and Operations||18||66,884|
|3700||Production Film and Lab||23||12,000|
|TOTAL PRODUCTION PERIOD||1,383,808|
|5200||Post Production Sound||29||9,324|
|5400||Main and End Titles||31||17,500|
|TOTAL EDITING PERIOD||494,824|
|7500||Fees, Charges, and Misc.||34||8,000|
|TOTAL OTHER CHARGES||46,000|
|ABOVE AND BELOW-THE-LINE||3,094,079|
Revenue Forecasting and Projections:
In regards to utilizing private financing instead of having a major studio produce the film, “Crossing Walter” has two distribution options; 1) Negative Pick-Up1 or 2) Distribution Only2. Relative to the direct expenses of the comparative Family Comedies listed above, below is a breakdown of revenue, expenses and a potential return for “Crossing Walter”.
1In film production, a negative pickup is a contract entered into by an independent producer and a movie studio wherein the studio agrees to purchase the movie from the producer at a given date and for a fixed sum. Depending on whether the studio pays part or all of the cost of the film, the studio will receive the domestic, international, DVD and/or TV rights to the film, with net profits split between the producer and the studio. (source: Wikepedia.org)
2In film production, a distribution only deal is a contract entered into between an independent producer and a movie studio wherein the studio agrees to advertise, market and distribute the film. The studio will recoup Direct Distribution Expenses prior to the disbursement of net profits.
|Description||Negative Pick-up||Distribution Only|
|US Theatrical Gross Box Office||$ 15,000,000||$ 15,000,000|
|US Gross DVD Sales & Rental||$ 17,931,051||$ 17,931,051|
|US Gross Network, Premium Cable & Syndicated TV||$ 7,500,000||$ 7,500,000|
|International Theatrical Gross Box Office||$ 22,500,000||$ 22,500,000|
|International Gross DVD Sales & Rental||$ 26,896,577||$ 26,896,577|
|Int’l. Gross Network, Premium Cable & Syndicated TV||$ 10,800,000||$ 10,800,000|
|Cumulative Gross Receipts (SUB-TOTAL)||$ 100,627,628||$ 100,627,628|
|Direct Distribution Expenses||$ 77,064,191||$ 71,234,140|
|Negative Cost (BUDGET)||$ 5,000,000||$ 5,000,000|
|Talent Residuals||$ 3,000,000||$ 3,000,000|
|Producer’s Gross Receipts||$ 18,297,624||$ 24,190,675|
|Talent Participation (if any, @ 7%)||$ 1,280,834||$ 1,693,347|
|Producer’s Net Receipts||$ 17,016,790||$ 22,497,328|
|Studio’s Share||$ 8,508,395||$ –|
|Producer’s Share (NET PROFIT)||$ 8,508,395||$ 22,497,328|
|Investor’s Share||$ 7,629,198||$ 21,538,894|
Brothers’ Ink Productions is looking for funding or Production Partner for the feature film with an expected budget of $3.25 Million. For Script, Prospectus, Executive Summary, PPM, Budget or more info:
Please contact John Waldron at CrossingWalter@Brothers-ink.com.