Tuesday, 2 October 2012

CHALLENGE 3: Finance

Disclosure have a reputation for reflecting on successes and challenges evenly. We believe that the obstacles shape up more than the praise and in light of that, we bring you a blog series on how our slip ups could help you avoid the same things...

It’s the root of all evil and the necessary poison we all love to hate. It’s what makes the world go round (apparently) and it’s what, above everything else, divides us. No, we’re not talking about your Spotlight subscription, We are of course talking about - money.

Financing something like a production isn’t easy. At Disclosure we try to use a mixture of private investment and revenue from our corporate business services to fund our projects, after all we think it’s the only real way of creating truly independent content. However we are very aware that there are other options out there to help you create your own production project. 

Private Investment
This course of financing is fairly straight forward. A person (or people) put up the money for a production on the understanding that a) it isn’t for financial profit b) the profits are divided up fairly dependant on the individual amounts put in c) the financiers have a stake in the show going forwards. This route can throw up some legal implications so it’s best to get those sorted before going ahead with anything straight away.

As with Disclosure, a company could set up a service, such as equipment rental, whose profit can partially (or entirely) fund a production. This tends to be a safer and more balanced approach as a percentage of profits could be earmarked for creative production work leaving the rest as profit to those involved. This does however mean the entire financial responsibility lies in the hope that people take up your services. 

Here is an alternative, yet risky strategy. There are hundreds of competitions online and on TV all the time offering finance for the next great production, and usually you are judged by either a panel of experts or the public as to what they want to fund, however ultimately there is a likelihood that you won’t win and the effort will have been wasted. We would advice using this route as a parallel strategy to a more robust option.

These are tricky to get, but once got you have your financing right there! They usually involve some kind of pitch or application online and can result in not only money but also support from a large backer, such as the National Lottery. Grants usually involve a lot of effort to get anywhere and, again, you aren’t guaranteed to get it.

From what we’ve seen, this tends to be the most popular of the ‘indie’ funding routes. There are loads of online community sites which utilise ‘crowd funding’ for their projects and even productions who take the proactive route and hunt down donations online or even on the street. It’s definitely a favorite for community driven content (LGBT for example), however it isn’t always the most effective for larger budgets.

So in conclusion there are lots of financing options available to new and emerging film, TV and online content production teams, it’s just a matter of choosing one that’s right for you and your project.

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