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Insight + analysis on indie film legal issues

Financing independent films: How to use equity and debt to fund an indie production

Funding for an independent feature production usually comes from a variety of sources. This post will introduce two that are most frequently used to raise the capital needed to produce a full-length motion picture: investor, or “equity”, financing and lender, or “debt” financing.

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Four ways to find the money to make movies.

Unless you’re shooting a Super 8 short, your film likely needs financing. It’s the difference between cinematic dreams and reality, so raising money may be the most important aspect of making movies. But how do you go beyond Indiegogo? The path to funded production can seem like one giant snarl. Here are a few key components to plan a professional indie film:

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Anatomy of an independent film business plan.

Planning is key to the successful development, production, release, and profitability of independent films. As an indie filmmaker, you’re in the business of making and selling a product that just happens to involve entertainment. Like any entrepreneur, your business plan should be considered essential. You wouldn’t start making a movie without a shooting script. Probably not without storyboards or some other form of pre-visualization of your shots. Think of your film business plan the same way.

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Three reasons your independent film or television project needs a clean chain of title.

Where is the title to a film or television project? If your first thought was something like in an animated opening sequence starting off with James Bond turning abruptly to camera with raised .25 Beretta, in a continuous opening shot of “The Player” heading across a studio lot, or in disturbing typography like Se7en, you’re thinking of the wrong titles. This kind of title is critically important, of course. But unlike the title in your film’s chain of title, it’s unlikely to stop your project from ever being seen.

That’s because chain of title in the film industry refers to the ownership of intellectual property rights, life rights, and other rights involved in a cinematic project. The “chain” is a series of documents that link current ownership of those rights to their original owners. One link might be rights of publicity that belong to the subject of a life story. Another might be copyright in a screenplay or the literary fiction, short story, or comic on which it is based.

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Why you should consider using product placements to finance and promote your independent film production.

Porsche logo on the back of a car in an action movie scene

Advertisers are increasingly searching for more and better opportunities to place brands and products into films and television productions. Variety this week reports that global advertising group Interpublic has announced a new data analysis product planned for internal use in finding movies and broadcast and streaming series that “will serve as a good fit for in-show product placement.”

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