Many screenwriters would like to see their work produced. However, they may not have the funds and require an investor to back them. This can be tricky because most screenwriters are not business people and don’t understand how investors think and work. It’s best to know what you’re up against before you ask for $50,000 to make your short film.
Screenwriters must know that it’s not about them — it’s about the investor. You may be passionate about your short film, but an investor wants to know what’s in it for him. He’ll ask what the ROI (return on investment) is. If you aren’t familiar with ROI and other business terms, a couple of business courses will educate you in no time.
Make sure you have a business plan when you speak with investors. This does not mean you have to give them a 30-60 page business plan (standard), but have an outline or proposal prepared about the project.
Investors want to back a good deal. Screenwriters must prove themselves to investors. What makes your film unique versus another? How do you know your film will make money? Asking yourself these and other questions will assist you when you approach investors.
Information to give to investors
- Name of project.
- Description of project.
- Filming location of project.
- Time frame of project. When does filming begin and end.
- Budget for project.
- Projections. How much will the investor make on the film?
Numbers and the “bottom line” are important to investors. Screenwriters who don’t know what they’re speaking about can kiss an investment in their film goodbye. That’s the way it goes. If you’re not confident to approach an investor, have someone who knows how to approach investors work with you. Otherwise, you could blow an opportunity of a lifetime.
Screenwriters focus on the creative aspect of the “entertainment business” instead of the entire picture. You are in a business of marketing and making films which solves the problem for the general public of what to do on a Friday or Saturday night. The sooner you understand that Hollywood is a business, the better off you’ll be.
Avoid being rude or arrogant when you approach investors. Screenwriters who lack non-verbal and verbal communication skills will benefit from classes on these subjects. Again, you’re in a business and professionalism is required. This may not sound glamorous but it’s part of the business!
Developing and building relationships is part of the entertainment business. If you’re not relationship savvy hang around people who are and learn from them. Taking a few classes on relationship building will not hurt you — it will only help you.
Screenwriters who are serious and want to see their work produced will do what it takes to get their name out there. Whether or not you make it as a screenwriter depends solely on you and how well you communicate with people. Good luck!
How do you approach investors? Share your thoughts.