So, you want to make a movie? Before going into any production, it's wise to create a business plan no matter the scale of your project. What is a film business plan, and how do you make one? In today's blog, I'll be answering those questions as I get into the nitty-gritty of how to write a business plan for your film and explain why it's necessary.
What is a film business plan?
A film business plan outlines what your movie is, who wants to see it, how you'll make your movie, how much it will cost, where the money will come from, how you'll distribute it, and what kind of profit you stand to see from it. This document shows investors that you've given thought to the business side of things. You want to demonstrate to investors that there's a path to make back their investment and imbue them with confidence that you won't spend their money without a plan to recoup it.
Who is this movie for?
When you're writing your business plan, you want to keep in mind who the audience for this project is. These are your "customers." Is this a feminist piece? Then maybe you'll go to feminist organizations in search of funding. You want to write your business plan to reflect that. You want your target audience to read the description and think, "This is for me! I understand exactly what this movie is!" A solid target audience makes marketing the film that much easier.
Key sections of a film business plan
There are no hard and fast rules about what a film business plan should include, but here are some important sections that will help communicate the project to potential investors.
3-5 Sentence Summary or Logline
Try to describe your film in an attention-grabbing, exciting way that is as brief as possible. You want to be able to communicate quickly and clearly what this project is. Make sure that you've crafted this description to speak directly to your target audience.
Speculative Shooting Schedule
This schedule will likely change, but it's good to show that you've given thought to and planned out when production will begin and how long it will take.
Your budget is preliminary and might not be very detailed, but include as much information as possible based on what you know now. It would help if you estimated how much your project would cost so that you'll know how much funding you'll need to raise. Break it down by all the different facets of production. Equipment costs, talent salaries, city permit fees; when it comes to areas of cost, they can seem endless when making a film! That's why you want to be specific and plan accordingly. Think of all the costs and attribute an estimated amount to them.
It can be wise to include a brief section about any pertinent questions someone might have about the project. For example, if your film is set in a castle, someone might wonder how you'll find a castle in which to film. Say your aunt happens to own a castle and will let you film there for free, then that's something you'd want to let potential investors know now.
Back to your target audience, are there film festivals dedicated to that audience? Does your target audience watch a lot of streaming service content, or are they watching things on YouTube? Do your research to narrow down where your film could reach the most people and have the most success. That might mean coming up with a list of film festivals your film would be perfect for or looking into licensing it to a platform like ShortsTV. You want to have some sort of plan for the life of your film. You don't want to create something that nobody gets to see!
Remember, your film business plan is a tool to help you communicate your project to others. You want it to be an honest representation of facts you believe about your film production. You want your budgeting numbers to be estimates that you believe in. You want your description of your film to get to the heart of things and allow someone to understand what it's about immediately. While business plans are often used to secure investors, they can also just be for you to understand your production's business aspects better. No matter who it's for or how you do it, be sure to keep it honest, clear, and as informative as possible!