Home Page
Features
Film Festivals
Indies
Movie Reviews
Artists
Contests
Database
Links
Advertise with Us
Contact Us
Link with Us  
Filmmakers.com

THE FILM PRODUCER Part 2

View Spec Screenplays
The Film Producer part one
If a producer finds it unlikely or even impossible to gain support in their project from a studio but still feels as if their project is worthwhile, finding alternate sources of financing is essential. Because the average cost of a film produced by a studio exceeds $30 million, studios are not really attracted to films that will only bring in $1-$2 million profit. In the past few years there has been an extreme increase in what is known as independent production. 

The term independent can have various meanings in the production industry. Usually, the term independent is applied to any production company that is not directly affiliated with a major film corporation. Independent can also be used to define a small studio or an individual producer, as is the case here. An independent producer is someone who works outside of the studio system and collects funding from private investors. The money invested can be obtained from such places as banks, business owners, wealthy friends and even relatives. 

The downside of this is that many of these people willing to finance films are doing it for the wrong reasons. For instance, a lot of people are looking for the glamour and fame of the movie business. Being independent could also mean that although the producer is receiving money from a studio, they still retain control over the project.
Working outside of a studio will also bring a producer the benefit of saving a great deal of money in the production of the movie. 
When a project is truly independently financed, the producer can keep more control over the project and possibly sell off the rights separately to various companies or organizations. A producer who has retained the rights to project can make separate deals for distribution of the film to various theaters as well. When these distribution rights are kept, the producer will then receive more of the profits that are brought in by the film. 

Working outside of a studio will also bring a producer the benefit of saving a great deal of money in the production of the movie. The producer will be able to form his own opinions and make his own decisions concerning the film, without the constant pressure of a studio leaning over his shoulder. If a studio were involved, the producer would be in constant watch of the studio; every monetary decision the producer makes would have to receive the studios ok. The independent producer will know exactly how much money he can spend because he makes his own budget depending on how much money he has received from investors. 

For a picture to reach a level where bet profits finally come into play, it must earn back the cost of production, prints and advertising and any fees that a studio may add along the way. For a studio picture, the earnings must be anywhere from 3-7 times the initial cost of the film before a profit is established. On the other hand, an independently financed film could reap the benefits of a "gross deal." The producer establishes this type of deal with a distributor in which the producer receives their profit directly from the amount of revenue brought in by the film. In the later case, the success of the film will be much more profitable for the producer.

Films that are considered low budget or theater turned motion picture scripts are generally released as independent films. Studios are always looking for sure-fire hits; the ones that are going to be major blockbusters. For those who feel that making a film without the support of a major studio is a lost cause, take a look at the success of such films as The Blair Witch Project or Boys Don't Cry

If the producer believes in the film there is a way to get it made without the support of a studio.
The former was independently produced and was screened at the Sundance film festival where it received rave reviews as a very original film. To date, the film has grossed over $100 Million Dollars. The later film, Boys Don't Cry, did not bring in high grossing profits, but it was critically acclaimed and received several Oscar nominations in the year 2000, along with an award for Best Actress presented to lead actress Hilary Swank. As proven by these two very different films, whether it is high grossing profits or eye opening, thought provoking realism that speaks to the soul; if the producer believes in the film there is a way to get it made without the support of a studio.

For the independent film, it is obvious that word of mouth is essential for the success of the film. Because the budget of the film is a major factor in production, it is safe to assume that the millions of dollars a studio may spend to promote their feature will not be available for independently produced films. The Blair Witch Project was a very successful film at the Sundance film festival where the word spread like wildfire. It was considered one of the scariest and most original film to be released in recent years. 

Due to this praise and the creative Internet marketing by the production team, the film was sold and when it hit theaters the success was overwhelming. As for Boys Don't Cry, the film was not released into that many theaters and did not bring in that much money from the box office. After receiving several Oscar nominations and an award, the shelf life and gross profits the movie will obtain from rentals should prove much more lucrative.

Page 4
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Page 6
top of page
Important disclaimer

Copyright 1999-2011 by FilmMakers.com.  All rights reserved.
 FilmMakers.com is a division of Media Pro Tech Inc.