Funding a movie seems a lot like that old Abbot and Costello routine. Unintelligible answers to insolvable problems.
I hope you’re laughing… because that’s about the only thing that you can do. “Do you have the $10 million to make your movie? No, my investors want to know that the film will get distributed first. Well, we can’t commit to distributing your film until you have $10 million”. See, it always comes back to “Who’s on first”.
Every producer goes through this. Investors are wise to the game. They won’t commit to a film until you can prove to their satisfaction that the movie will be made and distributed as you say. The theatrical film distributors get so many submissions, that they know that they can sit back and let the producers take all the risk of developing, financing, producing, editing and even pre-marketing the film without making any financial commitment to the project. While they are taking a chance that you’ll make a big hit that another distributor might profit from… in the movie industry, that usually not a huge risk.
Do the math. More than 15,000 films are made each year in the English language alone. Fewer than 700 ever see the inside of a movie theater. Maybe 100 of those make a significant profit. To the distributors and exhibitors you represent nothing but risk. They are in the business of taking a risk on distributing motion pictures to the public, but, if they have their druthers, they’d l limit that downside risk by making no commitment to a film until after it is made, edited and reviewed.
Back when the studios ran things and made all the movies, they developed films from books and screen plays that they commissioned; financed, produced and then handled all distribution throughout the world. I worked for Disney… I was once part of that system. And, the system worked pretty well for the better part of 70 years. Today, the studios turn out many fewer films and most of those are remakes and sequels. Not much creativity there. The really interesting films are being developed, financed and made by indy producers. Those independents can either try to sell their projects to a studio (good luck with that), release through a “rent-a-studio”, model or chose their own path through the growing legions of independent domestic and foreign distributors like Millennium, Freestyle, Cinedigm or Inferno.
It’s a tough road. But doable.
So, to answer the eternal question, “Who’s on first”? Second and third…
You are! Welcome to the world of independent film making.