It’s pretty easy to make a movie. Get out your phone, play around with a few of the filmmaking apps, meet some friends, go to the park (or pub) and do something. Repeat until you start getting the hang of it. Financiers and potential sponsors call this “proof of concept”. Starting your own film company is the next step in formalizing your career.
Sooner or later, the movie virus really gets to you. At this point, stop and think about why you want to make movies on a more serious level. Is It To Make Money? Affect people? Or look cool? It really doesn’t matter what reason you choose, I think you should just go for one. Why not take a step back and formalize your efforts in hopes of monetizing your work?
5. Create a legal entity for starting your film company
Making a movie, even if the budget is modest, usually means that you need to incorporate a legal entity. We did that with Raindance Raw Talent Ltd, our production arm.
You will run a business that is no different from any other company. There is no specific legal structure for a film company, that’s my point. There are several legal forms that you can choose from. Get the best legal advice, and also consult an accountant, so that you can maximize the tax benefit.
It’s dazzlingly easy to start a business in the UK.
- Pick a name: do a quick Google and IMDB search to make sure no one else has found it yet. If it does, you’ll need to change it.
- Register and set up the company with Companies House. It’s easy now, but if you need advice choose one of the short Raindance Basic Legal Contract courses. This is life in London and Toronto. You can also take them online.
- Sign up for local taxes.
- Get a bank account.
- Get a website – make sure you have your name’s url. You can search for web names on Whois.com.
- Register your social media profiles: Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, Pinterest. Make sure these profiles are also available on behalf of your company. Start getting followers and likes.
Create your own YouTube channel and gain subscribers.
4. Create a business plan for your film
Nothing guarantees more success than a good, solid business plan. Decide what you want to do and how you are going to do it. Build a team. Create a budget and schedule. Get an idea of who will be funding it and how the money will flow back to investors. Do you need help and advice? Raindance’s Producer’s Foundation Certificate will help you get the paperwork together.
3. Raise some film money to start your own film company
Arm yourself with your business plan and get on your way to receive the money to make your dream come true.
There are different ways to raise money depending on your business plan.
- Bring your business plan to one of the major production companies or even to a studio.
- Apply for government funding like the UK BFI.
- Work with a producer in another country who brings local public funding to the table (co-production).
- Getting money from a brand (product placement).
- Find an angel investor.
- Start a crowdfunding campaign.
Raindance’s Movie Money class.
2. Get a filmmaking team
Every noteworthy production company has 4 employees in key positions. If you are starting your own film company, you are in the start-up phase. You will play many, if not all, of these key roles yourself. As you grow and develop and your social media profiles get going, you will be inundated with work and in need of help.
- Head of Development
– Find and rate scripts.
- Production manager
– To ensure that the films are produced on time and on budget.
- Head of Post Production
– someone who sees through the technical thrill of editing and ensures that the long list of film results is met.
- Head of Film Distribution and Distribution
– an increasingly important role. In addition to the classic distribution channels, this person will also oversee crowdfunding and self-distribution.
1. Film distribution
Embarking on a film career without a clear sales strategy is a terribly bad decision. Advances in digital technology have democratized the film production process – anyone with very little money can make a film. This has inundated the market with inferior products, which means that traditional distribution channels are stifled with so-called product prices.
In my current position at Raindance, I am flooded with requests from filmmakers for advice and help. Many have fully developed packages with named talent and most of the funding – but without any secured distribution. I stopped advising projects like this for moral reasons.
Here’s the irony: making movies has never been easier or cheaper. Distribution has never been so difficult.
I hate ending pages with disappointment. It’s really not that difficult to start a film production company WITH Distribution. It’s just hard work. Use the tools and skills that we promote here at Raindance, create your social media profiles, develop a self-sales strategy and soon you will reject a job.
What have I missed? Start your own film company? Please leave this in the comment box below:
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