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The tightrope challenge of a film producer

Sep 1, 2015 / by Miranda Fleming / In Film Finance / Comments Off on The tightrope challenge of a film producer

Let’s be blunt about it: the financial outlook isn’t great for Film Producers at the moment. A Film Producer Salary is firmly not what it once was…

I remember the days as a Producer in the 90’s where out of every budget (development and production) the producer received 10% as a fee and 10% for the Production Company fee which they could then invest into further films. I’m hearing constantly from Producers that they earn nothing like these percentages anymore.

Development deals barely reap a fee of a few thousand pounds (!!) for the producer and as for the big lucky winner of a fully financed production, I hear more and more that Film Producers are being asked to defer their fee by third party financiers to ‘put their money where their mouth is’ or ‘some skin in the game’.

The Emerging Producer

Generally living hand-to-mouth with development bursaries, consultancy work and grants trying to break into their career with the their first feature. It’s exactly here that I think this Producer MUST wake up and look at their first film as a business – they crucially now need to make money from this first feature or they won’t survive to feature number two. It’s this first feature that so many make – award winning but small first films.

Get yourself some real revenue (£100k upwards) to fund you through to your second feature. Otherwise there WILL BE NO SECOND FEATURE. What is direct distribution? It’s where you organize your own theatrical release directly with cinemas or via a consultant to help you book them and most importantly an aggregator will be your direct broker for your VOD and your Netflix deals – giving you direct revenue. The consultants are here in the UK now, they exist, you just need to look around – start WE ARE THE TONIC and ORGANIC.

The Mid-Tier Producer

And for the mid-tier producer upwards – the successful producers take on television. It provides a stable income for them. And more interestingly, the smart ones are now building in 360 degree production models to run distribution in- house. It’s the only way of survival in the years to come.

The Established Producer

And for the top tier producers – here’s a great story from Indiegogo this month.

Anyone remember “mustaches-a-go-go” in the US Fox Searchlight film SUPER TROOPERS in the early 90s? The Producers and the actors decided, 15 years on, now was the time for the sequel. SUPER TROOPERS 2 went to Fox Searchlight who agreed to distribute but interestingly not fund the production. The producers raised $12m equity of the $14m budget. And they put the last two million out to the fan base on a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for a $2m campaign. And they launched and – astoundingly breaking all film crowdfunding records in the process – raised $2m in 24 hours. The campaign went on to become the highest-funded film and creative project in Indiegogo’s history, raising $4.5m. Money to Producers? All of this goes to the producer. Rights Free and 100% non recoupable.

super-troopers-2

Now that’s what I call good Producer finance. It will also empower them with their new data and proved concept of a big fan base wanting the sequel. clash royale free gems They top trended on Facebook on their first week and I bet they’ll find their P&A upped considerably by Fox Searchlight. I’m looking forward to seeing a film of this scale reach out to a UK fan base. The gauntlet is thrown down, it’s official.

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