First Steps to Making Your Own Feature Film

How do I get started?

One of the questions I get asked by new filmmakers is exactly how to get started.  They want to know what their next step is.  Here is an extremely practical, where the rubber meets the road answer to that question.

What’s my First Step towards making my feature film?

I usually start the answer by asking a couple of clarifying questions.  Do you have a screenplay written?  (If no, then that’s your next step).  It doesn’t have to be polished and locked for production, but needs to be complete.  Do you have any funding?  Usually the answer is no.  Have you set up the entity?  Usually, the answer is a look of confusion.

So here goes.  First,you need to have some development money ready and able to be spent.  $5K would be good, $10K would be better, and $20K would be great.  Now here’s where one of many Catch-22’s are encountered– you need money to go to the second step, and you need the second step to get the money.

Starting a Feature FilmSecondly, you need to set up a legal entity.  Maybe this is a Limited Partnership or an LLC, or even an S Corp.  If this is your first time, it’s a really good idea to hire an entertainment lawyer to help you with this first step.  One way to beat this Catch-22 is to do some sort of agreement with your investor that they will front you the development money so that you can get your entity and the crucial paperwork that comes with it ready.

Third, you need the Big Four Documents: Entity Papers (for an LP, it would be the LP Agreement), Offering Memorandum (this is the risk factors), Subscription Booklet, and the last one is the Business Plan.  Again, the lawyer will assist you here on the paperwork.

Once these ducks are lined up, you can now approach investors about your film.  Make sure you also consult with a securities attorney in case your entertainment attorney doesn’t do that.

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