How To Make A Film Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

Film Business Plan

The world of filmmaking is as alluring as it is challenging. As a filmmaker, you've likely spent countless hours honing your craft, refining your story, and dreaming of the day when your vision finally comes to life on the big screen. But you'll need more than talent and determination to make that dream a reality. You'll need a  film business plan  that outlines your strategy for success.

In this blog post, I'll take you through the entire process of creating a captivating and compelling film business plan that will help you attract potential investors, navigate the complexities of the film industry, raise money, and ultimately bring your vision to life.

So, grab a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and dive into the world of film business plans!

Understanding the Importance of a Film Business Plan

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of creating a film business plan, it's essential to know why it's so crucial to have one in the first place.

A film business plan is more than a document outlining your project's goals and objectives. It's a roadmap that will guide you through the entire filmmaking process, from the initial concept to the theatrical release.

A well-crafted film business plan will help you:

Clearly articulate your film project's vision and goals

Identify your target audience and market

Establish a realistic budget and timeline for your project

Attract potential investors and secure funding

Create a marketing and distribution strategy that maximizes your film's reach and revenue

Assemble a talented and experienced management team

Manage the risks and challenges associated with the film industry

With that in mind, let's begin our journey by crafting an attention-grabbing executive summary to set the stage for the rest of your film business plan.

How To Make A Film Business Plan?

Executive summary: first impressions matter.

Your film business plan's executive summary is your chance to make a powerful first impression on potential investors and other stakeholders. In this section, you'll provide a high-level overview of your film project, including:

A brief description of your film's story, genre, and intended audience

A summary of your film's unique selling points and market potential

An overview of your marketing and distribution strategy

A snapshot of your film's budget, financial projections, and investment opportunities

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" is an independent film that combines the gripping suspense of the horror genre with the raw, intimate storytelling of found footage films. Targeted at a young adult audience, our movie offers a fresh take on the paranormal activity phenomenon, promising to deliver spine-chilling scares and thought-provoking themes that will captivate viewers and generate buzz. 

With a targeted marketing campaign and strategic distribution plan, we aim to maximize our film's reach and revenue in a competitive market. Our lean production budget and experienced management team ensure we'll make the most of every dollar invested in our project.

Remember, the executive summary should be concise, engaging, and compelling. It's your chance to hook potential investors from the outset, so make it count!

The Film Project: Presenting Your Vision

Now that you've provided an overview of your film project, it's time to delve into the details. In this section, you'll showcase the key points of your film's story, themes, and artistic vision, giving potential investors a glimpse into what sets your project apart from other films in the market.

Here, you should include the following:

A synopsis of your film's story

An outline of the film's themes and messages

A discussion of the film's genre and style

Any notable talent attached to the project (actors, director, etc.)

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" follows a group of friends who become entangled in a web of supernatural terror after they move into a seemingly ordinary house. As they struggle to uncover the truth behind the eerie occurrences, they discover a dark secret that threatens to unravel their lives. 

Our film explores themes of trust, fear, and the blurred lines between reality and illusion. With a gritty, found footage style, we'll immerse viewers in the heart-pounding action, making them feel  like  they're experiencing terror alongside our characters. Our talented cast, including rising stars in the horror genre, will bring the gripping story to life, ensuring a memorable and thrilling cinematic experience.

Be sure to paint a vivid and engaging picture of your film project that leaves potential investors wanting more.

Market Analysis: Know Your Audience and Industry

Understanding your target audience and the film market is essential for crafting a successful business plan. In this section, you'll demonstrate your movie industry knowledge and showcase your film's potential for market success.

To conduct a thorough market analysis, you should:

Identify your target audience and their preferences

Analyze the performance of similar films in the market

Discuss any market trends that may impact your film's success

Assess the competitive landscape, including your film's unique selling points

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" targets a young adult audience aged 18-35 drawn to horror and thriller genres. Our market analysis reveals that films in this niche, such as "The Blair Witch Project" and "Paranormal Activity," have generated significant box office revenues, demonstrating the potential for success with our target audience. 

The rise of streaming platforms has also created new opportunities for independent films, allowing us to reach a wider audience and capitalize on the growing demand for diverse, engaging content. Our film's unique blend of horror, suspense, and found footage elements sets it apart from competitors, giving us a strong foothold in the market.

Marketing and Distribution Strategy: Reach Your Target Audience

Your marketing and distribution strategy is crucial for maximizing your film's reach and revenue. In this section, you'll outline your plan for creating awareness, generating buzz, and ultimately getting your film in front of your target audience.

Your overall marketing strategy (social media, PR, partnerships, etc.)

Describe your distribution channels (theatrical release, streaming platforms, etc.)

Plans for film festivals and other promotional events

Any partnerships or collaborations with other entities in the industry

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" will employ a multi-faceted marketing strategy that leverages the power of social media, targeted advertising, and strategic partnerships to generate excitement and anticipation for our film. We'll capitalize on the popularity of horror-themed content and influencers to create viral buzz while utilizing traditional PR and media outreach to garner critical acclaim and industry attention.

Our distribution plan includes a limited theatrical release and a broader roll-out on streaming platforms, allowing us to reach our target audience in cinemas and at home. We'll also submit our film to various film festivals, such as Sundance and SXSW, to build our film's profile and generate additional interest from potential distributors and sales agents._

Collaborations with other industry players, such as production companies and genre-specific streaming platforms, will further enhance our film's visibility and marketability, ensuring we reach the broadest possible audience."

Production Plan: From Pre-Production to Post-Production

In this section of your film business plan, you'll outline your strategy for bringing your film to life, from pre-production through post-production. This includes a detailed breakdown of your film's production timeline, milestones, key deliverables, and an overview of the resources and personnel required at each process stage.

Be sure to address the following:

Pre-production (script development, casting, location scouting, etc.)

Production (shooting schedule, equipment rentals, crew, etc.)

Post-production (editing, visual effects, sound design, etc.)

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" will follow a carefully planned production schedule to ensure we stay on track and within budget. Our pre-production phase will finalize the script, secure our cast and crew, and scout the perfect locations for our haunting story. With a lean 30-day shooting schedule, we'll maximize our resources, utilizing guerrilla filmmaking techniques and cost-effective equipment rentals to capture our film's raw, visceral energy.

Post-production will be equally efficient, with dedicated editors, sound designers, and visual effects artists working together to create a polished, captivating final product. We aim to have a completed film ready for festival submissions and distribution within six months of wrapping principal photography.

Management Team: Assembling Your Dream Team

Behind every successful full film production is a talented and experienced management team. In this section, you'll introduce the key players on your team, highlighting their expertise and their role in bringing your film project to life.

Include information about:

The film's producer(s)

The director

Any notable cast members

Other key personnel (cinematographer, editor, etc.)

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" boasts an impressive management team with a wealth of experience in the horror genre and a proven track record of success. Our producer, Jane Doe, has produced several critically acclaimed indie horror films, including "The Nightmare Next Door" and "The Haunting of Hill House." Our director, John Smith, is a rising talent in the genre, known for his innovative storytelling and unique visual style.

Our cast features up-and-coming actors with a passion for horror and established genre veterans who bring a wealth of experience and credibility to the project. Our talented crew, including our cinematographer and editor, have worked on numerous successful films and are dedicated to ensuring that "Paranormal Activity: Reborn" is a standout addition to the horror canon.

Financial Projections: Crunching the Numbers

In this crucial section of your film business plan, you'll provide a detailed breakdown of your film company's budget, revenue projections, and financial plan. This will give potential investors a clear understanding of how their investment will be utilized and the possible expected return on investment.

Be sure to cover the following:

A detailed budget, including production costs, marketing expenses, and contingencies

Revenue projections based on comparable films and market research

A financial plan that outlines your strategies for maximizing revenue and minimizing risk

Any transferable tax credits or other financial incentives available to your project

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" has a total budget of $500,000, which includes all production, marketing, and contingency expenses. Our budget has been carefully crafted to ensure we allocate resources efficiently and maximize every dollar invested.

Based on the performance of similar films and our market analysis, we project a potential revenue of $3 million, offering our backers a significant return on investment. Our financial plan includes strategies for maximizing revenue, such as exploring international distribution deals, ancillary markets (DVD, VOD), and leveraging transferable tax credits available in our shooting locations._

We also plan to minimize risk for equity investors by keeping our budget lean and focusing on cost-effective marketing and distribution strategies. This approach ensures that our investors can feel confident in the potential for a healthy return on their investment.

Investment Opportunities: Attracting Potential Investors

Now that you've outlined your film's vision, market potential, and financial projections, it's time to present potential investors with an enticing investment opportunity. In this section, you'll detail the various investment strategies and options available, as well as the potential benefits and returns for each level of investment.

Consider including:

Different levels of investment (e.g., equity investments, loans, etc.)

The minimum investment amount for each level

Expected return on investment for each level

Any additional perks or benefits for investors (e.g., executive producer credit, premiere invitations, etc.)

"Paranormal Activity: Reborn" offers potential investors several attractive investment opportunities, ranging from equity investments to convertible loans. 

With a minimum investment of $10,000, investors can join our exciting project and share its potential success. Higher investment levels offer additional benefits, such as an executive producer credit, invitations to premieres and exclusive events, and a higher percentage of the film's profits.

Based on comparable films and market research, our projected return on investment offers a compelling opportunity for investors and filmmakers looking to enter the thriving world of independent filmmaking.

Final Thoughts: Bringing Your Film Business Plan to Life

Creating a captivating and compelling film business plan is a critical step in your journey as a filmmaker.

By clearly outlining your film's vision, market potential, and financial projections, you'll be better equipped to attract potential investors, navigate the complexities of the film industry, and ultimately bring your vision to life on the big screen.

Remember to infuse your film business plan with creativity, burstiness, and human-like touches that set it apart from the competition. With a well-crafted plan, you'll be one step closer to making your filmmaking dreams a reality.

Now, it's time to implement your plan and start creating the next cinematic masterpiece. Good luck, and happy filmmaking!

Frequently Asked Questions about Film Business Plans (FAQs) 

What is a film business plan.

A film business plan is a comprehensive document outlining a film project's vision, strategy, and financial projections. It serves as a roadmap for the film's production, marketing, and distribution while providing potential investors with an overview of the project's possible return on investment.

Why do I need a film business plan?

A film business plan is essential for several reasons:

It helps you clarify your vision and objectives for your film project.

It provides a roadmap for the various stages of production, from pre-production to post-production.

It demonstrates your understanding of the film market and your target audience.

It serves as a tool for attracting potential investors and securing funding.

What should be included in a film business plan?

A comprehensive film business plan should include the following sections:

Executive Summary

The Film Project

Market Analysis

Marketing and Distribution Strategy

Production Plan

Management Team

Financial Projections

Investment Opportunities

Appendices (optional)

How do I determine my film's target audience?

To determine your film's target audience, consider the following factors:

Genre:  What type of film are you making, and who is the typical audience for that genre?

Themes and subject matter:  What topics does your film address, and who might be interested in those themes?

Demographics:  Consider age, gender, ethnicity, and other factors that might influence audience preferences.

How do I create a marketing and distribution strategy for my film?

A marketing and distribution strategy should include the following elements:

Identify your target audience and their preferences.

Determine your marketing channels (social media, PR, partnerships, etc.)

Create a distribution plan (theatrical release, streaming platforms, etc.)

Identify film festivals and other promotional events to showcase your film.

How do I calculate the budget for my film?

To create a detailed budget for your film, consider the following cost categories:

Marketing and distribution expenses

Contingency funds (for unexpected expenses)

How do I attract potential investors to my film project?

To attract potential investors, your film business plan should:

Clearly outline your film's vision, objectives, and unique selling points.

Provide a thorough market analysis demonstrating your understanding of the film industry and your target audience.

Include detailed financial projections, including a comprehensive budget and potential return on investment.

Offer various investment options, along with the potential benefits and returns for each level of investment.

How do I update my film business plan as my project evolves?

Updating your film business plan is essential as your film project progresses and evolves. This may involve updating your financial projections, revising your marketing and distribution strategy, or adjusting your production timeline.

Regularly updating your plan ensures that it accurately reflects your project and continues to serve as a valuable tool for attracting investors and guiding your film's development.

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The Anatomy of a Film Business Plan

Making an independent film is like starting a company from the ground up: you’re creating a brand, operating a business and selling a product or service. You will address issues such as raising capital, hiring talent, marketing and distribution, including, States’ Blue Sky and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) laws, rules and regulations related to fundraising.

Generally, the first step to completing a film and exploiting it in the domestic and international markets is raising financing. Any movie proposal or investor deck that seeks to raise money from private investors, private equity groups and venture capitalists (VCs), will, in general, have to be supported by a good business plan. All the research and financial data involved in creating your business plan will be used to provide all the information you need in a pitch deck, film finance plan, prospectus and even in the  private placement memorandum  (PPM) (if you are using one).

The information that is usually included in a film business plan include:

1. Confidentiality Agreement:

Often a business plan may contain revelations or confidential information that the producer wishes to protect until the movie is completed and available to the public. In order to insure that potential investors or other third parties do not reveal the secrets, the business plan may include a confidentiality agreement, requiring that the potential recipient promise not to reveal any of the information given to them or contained in the plan.

2. Project Summary:

This is an overview of the project and the production company: the production company’s mission, the kind of project, the logline of the project, the production team, the target market, distribution strategy, etc.

3. Story Synopsis:

This provides an overview of the story, characters and plot.

4. Investment Opportunity:

This focuses on why the film project should be made: it has the best chance to make a profit, the filmmaker has a unique insight into the subject matter that no one has heard before, the different ways the project can earn revenues, any niche audiences the film can target, the size of the market and how the producer plans to access it.

5. Project Team:

This focuses on who is managing/producing the project and why the producer and his/her team are the ones to make the movie. It may list any “bankable” or “bondable” attachments that will bring credibility to the project. Sometimes money well spent, even before funding is in place, is to hire legal and creative representation, a line producer and a good casting director. Production counsel will draft or review contracts and advise you in both the creative and the business aspects of development, production, content licensing, distribution and ancillary exploitation transactions. A line producer creates the budget. A casting director is helpful so you can cast and raise funding simultaneously. This is helpful when you need a name actor to raise the money and the money to attach the actor.

6. Marketing Plan:

This shows how the producer plans to build an audience around the film and drive significant revenue. For example, use of social media (including twitter, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, etc.), film festival, and promotional campaigns, can serve to position the film in front of an audience, create opportunities for press coverage, and hopefully obtain positive reviews, good word of mouth and potential distributors.

7. Distribution Strategy:

This clearly communicates a realistic distribution strategy for how you plan to generate revenue on your film. Avoid using template-like business plans. Say which distribution platforms work best for your film, which ones work best for your different audiences, what your strategy is for getting onto these platforms, and once you’re on these platforms, what your strategy is for maximizing your revenue on each of them.  It says if you will be going the route of traditional or non-traditional distribution, self-distribution, independent distributor, studio or network. It says what platforms you will use to land a good distribution deal, such as, aggregators, film festival premier, film market, big theatrical exhibitors, small art house cinemas, broadcasters or cable networks.

Traditional Distribution –

Traditional distribution platforms include:

  •  Theatrical – In a traditional distribution deal, theatrical release              comes first. The producer should be aware that only a small percentage of the films shown at even the most prestigious film festivals get theatrical distribution, and that it’s incredibly difficult to get your film into one of the major festivals unless you are a producer or director with previous track record there.
  • Video on Demand  – This is digital and OTT/VOD (over-the-top and video-on-demand). VOD is now considered traditional distribution. VOD rights include TVOD (transactional video on demand), SVOD (subscription video on demand) and Add-Sponsored-Video-On-Demand (AVOD). TVOD includes Electronic-Sell-Through (EST) which allows the consumer to permanently retain a copy of the work, and Pay-Per-View (PPV). SVOD is a service that offers its subscribers a monthly subscription package for a monthly fee. An AVOD platform streams its library of content to consumers for free but inserts advertising into the program.
  • Broadcast  – pay TV, pay Cable, free TV
  • Home Video  – This involves the rental or sale of the film on DVD or Blu-ray for use on home television sets and other playback devices.
  • Non-Theatrical  – This involves the distribution of films for public screening to a gathered audience outside of traditional movie theaters. This includes airplanes, trains, ships, schools, colleges and other educational institutions, etc. A sub-set of Non-Theatrical rights are “Educational” and “Transportation”. Educational specifically refers to a film being shown in an educational setting (in a classroom or on a school campus). Some distributors will handle only a film’s educational rights. Transportation includes in-flight exhibition, ships at sea, oil rigs, military, etc. Some distributors will handle only the film’s transportation rights.

Non-Traditional Distribution  – These are your DIY distribution options, also called self-distribution. The budget will dictate if a self-distribution route is right for your project. For example, if your budget is over $1 million, you may not make your money back, let alone make a profit. You’ll either need traditional distribution, or a hybrid approach, that is, both traditional and non-traditional methods.Obviously, self-distribution is not easy. You’re going to have to get creative with your marketing strategy and your budget. It helps if there’s a niche audience for the film that you can market to and promote the release, such as, a school club or community organization. For example, if your movie audience is faith-based, religious, LGBT, or a college campus, traditional theater exhibitors may not be able to promote within those communities as well as the filmmaker who has created a work geared toward that particular audience. Self-distribution includes:

Foreign  – DIY international sales will be costlier and will require more time and effort than setting up a basic domestic self-distribution plan.

VOD  – As film and digital are converging, there is increasingly more creative freedom for online content distribution. These includes “self-service” distribution platforms, where you pay no or a low upfront fee to access VOD and DVD distribution, but for a higher share of profits.

Home Video  – This is also known as direct-to-consumer. It includes physical DVD sales or digital download on your website.

Theatrical self-releasing  –  This is also known as “four-walling”. You may plan to do a limited theatrical run to help build a buzz around your film that will drive eventual digital and VOD sales.

Non-Theatrical  – Generally, whenever this involves the exhibition of the film at hotels and airlines, this only works for star-driven narrative feature.

8. The Budget:

This says how much it will cost to take the project from inception through to release of the finished negative. The budget must reflect where you’re at in your career, the choices you will make regarding the level director, cast, locations, wardrobe, props, set design, stunts and special effects needed. The budget must reflect what the project should cost to make, not what you want it to cost. Making the film for what it should cost is particularly relevant to maintaining a long-term relationship with your equity investors. The size of the budget directly affects the amount of money that needs to be raised, the investment strategies to employ, the financial caps placed by securities laws and regulations, the completion bond company and the type of collective bargaining agreements between the industry unions and the producer. The budget costs include:

  • Negative Cost  – This is how much it costs to produce and shoot the film. This is also called the direct production costs. This consists of:
  • Development – Getting from inception of the project through to a final script.
  • Pre-production – Building a team and planning the shoot.
  • Production – Shooting the movie, including fees for cast, director, producer, crew, locations, security, sets, costumes, makeup, transportation, permits, equipment rentals, labor union (e.g. SAG-AFTRA, IATSE).
  • Post-production – Editing, visual effects, titles, sound design, duplication and licensing fees (including music, artwork, brand names, stock footage, etc.).
  • Insurance  – Liability insurance on the negative and videotape, sets, equipment, and property; workers’ compensation insurance; cast insurance; and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance to cover problems with the script such as defamation or copyright infringement.
  • Contingency Reserve  – Typically 10% of the total budget. This is usually required by a completion bond company to be set aside in an escrow account to cover contingencies and “deliverables,” such as dupe negatives for foreign distributors.
  • Completion Bond  – If you plan to borrow money for all or part of the budget, the lender, especially a bank, will demand that there is a completion bond in place. The completion bond company agrees to pay those fees in excess of the 10% contingency. The bonding company charges a fee, typically up to 6% of the budget (including the fee).
  • Deferred Compensation  – This covers income earned but not paid to cast, crew or other parties. This expense must be separately identified in the budget since this reflects the cash needs of the project and any additional royalties and residuals that will be paid to the deferred income participants.
  • Legal Fees  – This covers costs to hire a lawyer or production counsel to do all the legal work on the film.
  • Marketing and Promotion  – The budget must have enough left over to do the festival circuit and launch the initial marketing campaign for your film. These include: costs of film festival submission fees, deliverables and travel to festival premiere; costs to hire a publicist; and costs to attend film markets (AFM, EFM, Cannes, MIPCOM, MIP, etc.) and meetings with sales agents, potential distributors and networks to try to sell the finished negative.
  • Distribution – Most distribution expenses, such as, the costs of advertising and preparing release prints (P&A), are generally not included in the budget. However, unless your picture comes within the rare case that a distributor pays you to distribute your movie, you should plan to spend some money for your distribution. Often the distributor doesn’t have the resources to do the grassroots marketing the filmmaking team can. Nevertheless, due to SAG-AFTRA budget caps, e.g., the Ultra Low Budget Agreement and Modified Low Budget Agreement, it can often be beneficial to raise your P&A budget at a later date, rather than including it in your budget.

9. Financing Plan:

This says what financing methods and investor risk-mitigating strategies are available to the producer that work best for the project. These factors will be influenced by the type of project: the budget, the genre, the level director and cast, type of story, and the relationships and track record of the production team. A typical  film financing model  can comprise any one or combination of the following:

  • Soft Money  – These include refundable and transferable tax credits, sales tax immunities, lodging exemptions, fee-free locations tax credits, cash rebates, grants, film funds (including regional funds that only need to be paid back if and when the film is deemed sufficiently successful), and foreign subsidies. Producers can raise from 50%-80% of their film budgets from foreign subsidies. Productions which qualify for tax incentives can receive from 25%-35% of their qualified production and post-production expenses. In a previous article I shared some information about  New York film tax credit incentives . Unlike grants, you can’t spend a tax credit or rebate. Producer will have to spend money in order to get them (usually after production is completed). Therefore, for those productions which qualify for tax credits, producer will have to raise equity or borrow money to cover the full cost of producing the film.
  • Pre-sales  – These are financing in exchange for certain distribution rights within a particular foreign territory, usually in the form of minimum guarantees (MGs) or advance on future royalty income. Bank loans and gap/mezzanine financing are mechanisms usually used to cash flow pre-sales. Pre-sales may also be used as a tool in structuring foreign co-productions. The amount of MGs that the producer has the ability to negotiate depends on his (or her sales agent) negotiating strength (bargaining power) compared to the foreign distributor. That power can be based on any number of factors including whether there are multiple offers, the size of those offers, the projected commercial success of the film, the perceived value of the elements in the film, including, most notably the star-power of the actors. Nevertheless, the best a producer can hope for these days from the foreign markets is 80% of the budget. There are costs involved in putting pre-sales deals together. Packagers can take anywhere from 5%-15% of every sale. Foreign sales agents’ fees vary between 15%-25% for obtaining distribution contracts only — and as much as 30%-35% should they secure a cash advance or bank contract.
  • Negative Pickups  – A negative pickup is a form of pre-sale deal, whereby the distributor (usually a studio) guarantees the producer that it will distribute the finished picture and reimburse the producer for an agreed amount for the negative costs, subject to the picture conforming to terms detailed in the negative pickup agreement. With distribution and reimbursement of production costs secured, the producer will then borrow money from a bank or other third-party lender using the negative pickup contract as collateral.
  • Production Loans  –  In order to secure a loan from a bank, a producer has to enter into pre-sales or negative pickup agreement, which are acceptable collateral. In the case of a pre-sales agreement, banks will usually lend no more than 80% of the face value of the collateral. The maximum amount of the loan usually depends on the bank’s history with the distributor, country/territory, and/or producer. But from that sum, the bank will deduct its own fee. Once the loan is delivered, the producer must pay the foreign sales agent’s fee. On the other hand, unlike, pre-sales, the bank usually lends up to 100% of the negative pickup contract value, and the lender just takes a basic origination/setup fee.Outside of banks, there are private individuals and private companies that finance films on so-called “debt deals (usually at interest rates of 10%-%15) against pre-sales agreement. Using a private investor to cash flow pre-sales versus a bank loan will dictate if you need a completion bond or not. In addition, some private companies will lend against tax credits or bankable tax rebates.
  • Gap Financing  – This covers shortfalls between the film’s budget and what the producer is able to accumulate in soft money, pre-sales and equity. With gap financing, a lender provides a loan of between 10%-30% of a film’s budget against the value of all the unsold foreign distribution markets. An experienced foreign sales agent/company makes an assessment of what these foreign markets are worth. With gap financing, the documentation and legal fees can be quite considerable, constituting another expense to be built into the budget. Some of these deals are structured as mezzanine financing.
  • Mezzanine Financing  – This is often referred to as “super-gap” financing. It is a junior debt capital for a portion of the film’s budget against future revenue projections. It often gives the lender the rights to convert to an ownership or equity interest in the production company or underlying film project if the loan is not paid back in time and in full. This is a very risky form of capital investment and accordingly, usually carries interest rate of 15-20%. Mezzanine investment typically provides 65%-75% of the film’s budget.
  • Foreign Co-production  – This include: (1) co-financing, where more than one party invests in a production to share both risk and upside; and (2) certain pre-sales. Some countries have co-production treaties with each other that provide tax benefits and/or subsidies when production companies from the two countries co-produce a film. These deals may also involve soft loans (i.e. at below-market rates of interest) and equity in form of services or equipment.
  • Donations and in-kind Contributions  – This include crowdsourcing to solicit donations by offering perks in exchange for financing. In addition, the producer may partner with service-providers such as production facilities, who provide services or goods for free, including, stock footage or editing services.
  • Sponsorships and Product Placement  – This include upfront funding via embedded product placements. Income from product placement can be used to supplement the budget of the film. Sponsors spend for placement in the film, based on the amount its brand is integrated into the storyline, including, the number of times its brand appears onscreen or is mentioned in the script. Product placement may also take the form of in-kind contributions to the film, such as free cars, watches or computers (as props or set-dressing). While no money changes hands, the films budget will be lowered by the amount that would have otherwise been spent on such items.
  • Ancillary Advances  – These are other downstream revenues, such as from music and publishing, merchandising or video games. Because these downstream revenues are dependent on the success of the film (e.g., there will likely not be any spin-offs based on the film until it is a box office hit), these amounts are speculative. Accordingly, these are harder advances to obtain, and will usually be discounted given the uncertain value.
  • Producer’s Investments and Deferrals  – An actor, producer and crew may invest or defer his/her own fee for producing the movie. Note any restrictions on producer and crew deferrals (e.g., for calculating qualified costs for state tax credits purposes).
  • Bank Credit Lines  – If a producer has a sufficient track record and consistent volume of production, a direct bank credit line may be able to be secured. This will often take the form of a revolving credit facility. It is also possible to structure a bank line as “gap financing.”
  • Private Equity  – The new and first-time producer usually has to go the private equity route. The other financing methods usually depend on relationships and track records the producer has, which, if you’re a first-time filmmaker, you may not have. In general, unless you’re a producer with a track record and strong connections, you may need to write a business plan (or a business-like plan) in order to get anyone to invest in your movie.With larger budgets, equity usually covers 25%-60%. For lower budget projects, equity usually covers 80%-100% of the budget. Generally, for the lower budget indie film, producer is unlikely to get pre-sales, mainly due to the inability to attract pre-sellable cast at lower budgets. Therefore, if your budget is $500,000 and you have pre-sales in your finance plan, it’s a dead giveaway to the savvy investor that you do not know what you’re doing.Private equity typically comes from wealthy or high net worth individuals (also called angels) and private companies. The producer can promise repayment from the domestic (USA and Canada) release and from unsold foreign territories and soft money not covered by production loans. If the producer manages to bring the movie in on budget, the funds that were held for contingencies can also be used to further repay the equity investor.

Depending on the amount of money involved, the nature of the potential investors and if the producer elects to use a prospectus or PPM, this section is somewhat optional. Nevertheless, the key to properly structuring documents that describe the investment opportunity is that all the information is true, accurate and sufficient to help the investor to completely understand the risks involved with an investment in the film industry. The potential investor should be advised that the producer makes no guarantees that the film will get a theatrical release, or that the film will make any money at all. The film & TV industry is a hit-based business. No matter how good the script, cast and execution, the investors are exposed to risks.

11. Comparables:

Film Comps are previously released movies that are used to estimate sales projections for the current project. Do not use comps that are older than five years. Use comps within the project’s budget range, genre, sub-genre, subject matter (theme as opposed to story line) and potential audiences. Say where your comps were distributed, for how long, the number of screens and what those marketing strategies and logistics look like. Even better, if you can draw on your own experience with taking previous films to market and what your personal track record is. Show which of your comps did well domestically, yet flopped overseas, and vice versa.  You’re probably thinking, the territory-by-territory sales technique makes it difficult to establish how successful some films have been worldwide. That’s true. That doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you can’t say how well films like yours do overseas, mention it, and say what will make your film marketable overseas, or why it will not. If you have answers, you’re going to instill confidence.

12. Sales Projections:

This says what your realistic sales estimates are. Remember you will be sending your business plan to savvy investors and people who work in the movie industry. Be careful not to show basic assumptions that are so erroneous that they show you do not know what’s going on. A common mistake in business plans is to equate box office success with massive returns for investors. For example, savvy investors tend to reject business plans which recite how “Paranormal Activity” cost $15 thousand to make and went on to earn $194 million in the box office to suggest that the investor will receive a big chunk of cash from the theatrical distribution of the film. This is because the advances or MGs paid for indie films are typically the only money the production company ever sees from theatrical rights.Show how your sales projections match with your planned distribution strategy. Explain any assumptions about your film, such as, it will be sold on a territory-by-territory basis or acquired in a worldwide all-rights deal. The prices distributors are willing to pay to exclusively acquire a film at any given time depends on several factors: does the film have A-list stars, is it considered commercial or have broad audience appeal in a specific region? You may even start with your projections as a baseline from which to build your financing plan.The type of information typically found in sales projections include:

Foreign Sales Revenue

  • Foreign Box Office  – This is how much money the film is estimated to make in theaters in the foreign territories. Less foreign exhibitor share (usually 40%-65% of box office gross), distribution fee (10%–30% of what’s left from the box office after exhibitor takes its share), P&A, MGs, etc. Depending on what “back-end” agreements were or will be struck with the film’s stars, writers, and director, residual payments and talent participations might also kick in, usually within 60 days of the film’s release.
  • Foreign Sales  – This include VOD, pay cable, TV revenues and Home Video and foreign ancillary revenues. Less distribution fee, P&A, interests (against P&A spend), dues (e.g., talent guilds and distributor’s association dues).

Domestic Sales Revenue

  • Domestic Box Office Gross  – These are theatrical estimates for the United States and Canada. Less distribution fee (including, sales agent fees and expenses, producer’s rep fee), P&A, MGs, exhibitor share, etc.
  • Home Video, VOD, Streaming and Ancillary Revenues  – These are estimates from DVD/ Blu-Ray sales, VOD, Non-Theatrical, pay cable sales, network television, TV syndication, soundtrack albums and music publishing, and merchandising (e.g., toys, games, etc.). Less distribution and licensing fee.
  • Soft Money  – This lists the locale incentives and rebates on production.

13. Return on Investment (ROI ) / Anticipated Profits Over Time:

Most investors almost always skip to this. Therefore, it is very important that a good business plan set out exactly how a potential investor is going to get their money back and make a profit, how much time it’ll take and the order in which investor will recoup its investment. Whether or not day-and-date theatrical and streaming release is part of your distribution strategy, you should show how your planned release will affect your recoupment schedule. For example, in a typical sales cycles, it may take 18-24 months after completion of the film before you can start positive cash flow. Another thing to keep in mind is the turnaround time on getting the tax credit for the rebate. In New York, for example, it may take 16-18 months to receive a tax rebate.

  • Revenue Waterfall  – This is the contractual order in which financial contributors to a film’s production are repaid. From the total income to producer from worldwide sales and government incentives, any tax obligations and bank loan are repaid first. Next, the costs associated with arranging distribution, including, sales agent’s fee and expenses, are paid. Next, you deduct investor’s first share (up to 120% of their investment). Next, the completion guarantor is repaid. Next, payment of any deferments to talent. Finally, you deduct investor’s share of profits (50%). Typically, any third-party talent participants (residuals/participation share) are paid from the producer’s share of profits, except for those participations that are deducted “off-the-top”, that is, before any division between producer and investor.The process of structuring the revenue waterfall is usually done when the producer negotiates the agreements between the parties. Therefore, in what order the monies are paid out – and to whom – will vary from one project to another. This is also why a well-structured business plan is so important.Since equity is customarily at the bottom of the revenue-sharing waterfall, one of the reasons why investors like to keep budgets low is that this accelerates the break-even point and improves the internal rate of return on that investment.

14. Project Schedule / Funding Release Schedule:

if funding source is already known and targetable, you have any talent attached, there are notable crew on board, and you are talking with sales agents, you will then provide an actual set of dates for pre-pro, principal, post, a few festival submissions, meetings with distributors and networks etc and theoretical release dates, usually anywhere from 6-to-12 months after film is completed, though sometimes sooner if going direct-to-digital or direct-to-video. National release dates of tent-poles and major studio releases must be carefully considered lest the indie film be forced out of theaters to make room. Depending on the genre, budget and type of film, producer must carefully consider the impact of a release of the film in foreign territories will have on domestic release, and vice versa.

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Regardless of your experience, a Film Business Plan is the essential document to present to funders to obtain funding. It gives investors a clear blueprint of the project’s potential and viability. 

Investors need concrete details and assurances before committing their capital to a film project, while the Film Pro Package helps you develop your idea and keep it on track.

From submitting to film grants, government funding, private investors to tax rebates, these documents are your crucial package you need to convince an investor.

Film Business Plan Template

Our Pro Package makes crafting a film business plan simple with easy-to-follow steps and examples.

The templates everything you need: Income Predictions, Budgets, and Contracts, which are key for securing funds from investors and organizations. This guide isn’t just about paperwork; it’s your roadmap to a successful film journey.

The Film Business Plan Pro Package includes:

  • Film Business Plan (10 Pages): An intuitive template that’s easy to edit using the provided example, instantly showcasing your film’s potential and crystallizing your vision.
  • Income Revenue Predictions : Estimate your film’s revenue with ease, complete with an example, offering backers a tangible view of your film’s lucrative potential.

Also Included:

  • Film Research and Development Budget
  • Film Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • Actor Contract
  • Film Crew Deal Memo
  • Extensive Tabbed Film Budget

Download, customize with ease from clear examples, and confidently approach investors. With the Film Business Plan Pro Package, you’re not just prepared—you’re ahead. 

Your Film’s Journey Starts Here

Download the template and supporting documents directly to your computer, and open them in Word .docx and Excel formats.

  • Editing the text and images is a breeze, allowing you to tailor the plan to your unique project.
  • Save it as a PDF and send it to potential investors, confidently stepping into the spotlight to showcase your visionary film project.

Don’t let funding hurdles hinder your film’s potential; take action to give your project the best chance of success with the Film Business Plan Pro Package today.

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You have the power to impress investors and make your filmmaking dreams a reality. 

What’s Inside the Film Business Plan:

The Film Business Plan Template is 10-page easy-to-use template designed to guide you through the entire process, saving you time and effort.

  • Executive Summary : A concise overview of your film project, including its concept, target audience, budget, and key personnel. This sets the stage for what’s to come and captivates potential investors, while also keeping you focused on your core idea.
  • Film Concept : Dive deep into your film’s story, genre, and intended audience. A compelling logline and treatment will leave investors eager to know more about your project, while guiding you in refining your creative concept.
  • Market Analysis : Understand your target audience, analyze the competition, and identify potential revenue streams. Learn from the success of similar films and tailor your approach for maximum impact, keeping your idea relevant and marketable.
  • Production Plan : A detailed blueprint of how your film will come to life. This includes the budget, shooting schedule, and the talented team that will be instrumental in its creation, ensuring you remain focused on the practical aspects of your project.
  • Distribution Strategy : A winning plan to get your film to its audience. Explore distribution channels and target markets, ensuring your masterpiece reaches the masses, while also considering the best approach to promote your unique concept.
  • Financial Plan : A comprehensive analysis of your budget, revenue projections, funding sources, and investment strategies. This section instills confidence in potential backers and keeps your financial goals in line with your creative vision.
  • Management Team : Showcase the impressive backgrounds, experience, and roles of the key personnel involved in your film project. Prove that you have the dream team to bring your vision to fruition, reinforcing your commitment to seeing your idea through.
  • Conclusion : A summary of the business plan’s key points, reinforcing the viability of your film project and its potential for remarkable success. This summary serves as a reminder of your creative direction and the ultimate vision you strive to achieve.

Editing the text and images is a breeze, allowing you to tailor the plan to your unique project. Save it as a PDF and send it to potential investors , confidently stepping into the spotlight to showcase your visionary film project.

Filmmaking Stuff

The Minimalist Guide To Writing A Film Business Plan

Film business plan essentials, movie pitch deck vs. movie business plan, legal aspects of film business planning, private placement memorandum, movie business plan template, tl;dr (too long; didn’t read).

  • FAQs on Film Business Plans

Film Business Plan Glossary

A film business plan is important to raise money for a movie. This document outlines how you plan to produce and sell your film.

It’s a confidential information overview that you’ll “leave behind” with prospective investors after pitching. And it needs to be solid.

If you’re like many filmmakers, you’ve likely come across at least a dozen examples of what should go into a film business plan created by film finance “gurus” who teach business planning but have never raised money for a movie.

Many of these people make an entire living creating movie business plans full of nonsense and stuff that doesn’t work in the real world.

If this describes your plan, you are not alone.

film business plan

As a result of all the terrible movie business plan information, many filmmakers get it wrong. So the first thing you need to do is stop listening to idiots. The second thing you need to do is cut your plan down to the essentials.

Take a few minutes and write out the following:

  • Executive Summary: A snapshot of your film and team.
  • Project Synopsis: The pitch.
  • Hypothetical Investment Return: How the investment could pay off.
  • Distribution Fees Example: A look at revenue sharing.
  • Timeline/Production Plan: Key milestones.
  • Bios/Resumes: Who’s on board?
  • Budget Top Sheet: The financial outline.
  • Supporting Article: Why this film, why now?
  • Risk Management Details: The risks and the plan to tackle them.
  • Contact Info: Get in touch.

You might ask: “What if I just want to make movies and sell my movie?”

My response: “1995 called, and they want their dumb distribution plan back.”

You might run into info about movie pitch decks when you’re looking up how to create a movie business plan. But remember, they are not the same thing.

A movie pitch deck is a quick, visual look at your film. It’s not for the money people or investors. It’s for creative people, like directors and actors. It’s about giving them a feel of the story and style. And hope that you can entice them to work with you.

On the other hand, a movie business plan is all about the details. It talks about money, timelines, and marketing.

This is stuff that investors care about.

It’s your way of showing them how your film can succeed and make money. And importantly, it’s about showing them that you’re a professional.

And although it’s detailed, a movie business plan is not a contract. It’s just a way to show potential investors what you’ve got planned and how you aim to pull it off .

Creating a film business plan is a crucial step, but getting the funding requires more than just a well-laid plan.

In the U.S., laws are in place to protect investors from fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversees this, ensuring people aren’t tricked into shady investments.

You’ll need to decide on the legal structure for your film’s business side. It could be a corporation, an LLC, or something else, each with its rules and benefits.

Get a good entertainment lawyer to help you through this.

Doing this will not only help you stay compliant, but doing things right also boosts your project’s credibility in the eyes of potential investors.

They’ll see a well-structured, professionally managed venture ready for investment. In this regard, the name of the game is compliance, transparency, and trust.

Your attorney will advise you on the steps you need to take before investors can fund your film . These steps usually include paperwork and other legal requirements.

Sometimes, your attorney may draft up a set of documents called a private placement memorandum. Like a film business plan, your PPM will outline the goals for your film.

It will explain the possible upside to your project. But unlike a business plan (a confidential information overview), it doesn’t sugar-coat things.

It lays out the risks. That way, anyone considering putting money into your film knows exactly what they’re getting into.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to raising money. If that describes you, check out this business plan template .

Why Choose Movie Plan Pro?

Movie Plan Pro is more than just a template. It’s a comprehensive guide based on Tom Malloy’s experience raising over $25 million to produce multiple feature films.

Unlike the majority of templates out there, this movie business plan template is simple. Using it will help you quickly finish your film business plan so that you can focus on the next steps of the process.

  • User-Friendly: Movie Plan Pro is designed to be intuitive and easy to use, ensuring that filmmakers can finish the plan fast.
  • Comprehensive: It covers every aspect of a professional film business plan.
  • Proven Success: Backed by Tom’s track record of securing film financing, users can access tried-and-tested tactics.

With Movie Plan Pro, filmmakers are not just filling in the blanks but are guided through creating a plan tailored to their specific film project.

Each section is complemented by tips and examples that breathe life into the plan, making it a dynamic tool for securing funding.

With Movie Plan Pro , ensure that your film business plan is comprehensive, compelling, and investor-friendly. Getting money to make your film begins with a plan, and there’s no better companion than Tom Malloy’s Movie Plan Pro.

Here’s a quick overview of what goes into a movie business plan:

A film business plan is vital for securing funding focusing on essential content like team, budget, marketing, and sales strategy. Legal compliance and consultation with an attorney are crucial for credibility. A clear, simple business plan template streamlines the process.

Film Business Plan Questions

Here are answers to common questions on crafting an effective film business plan. From the basics to legal compliance, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started.

A film business plan outlines the budget, goals, and strategy to produce and distribute a film, targeting potential investors with detailed financial and operational information.

Be clear and concise, focusing on the budget, timeline, marketing, expected returns, legal compliance, and risk assessment.

A movie pitch deck is a visual presentation, giving a snapshot of a film project, typically aimed at creative professionals to attract collaborations.

A film business plan focuses on financial and operational aspects for investors. A pitch deck is a visual, concise overview for creative collaborators.

They ensure legal compliance and help set up the business structure, protecting filmmakers and investors.

A PPM is a document detailing the investment terms, risks, and rights for prospective investors. It’s an investment document.

Online resources offer various templates. Choose one focusing on essential elements to attract investors effectively. We recommend Movie Plan Pro .

These key terms are essential for understanding the film business planning process and the steps involved in raising funds for a film project.

  • Film Business Plan : A document outlining how a filmmaker plans to produce and sell a film. It serves as a roadmap for the project and is presented to prospective investors after pitching.
  • Budget : A financial plan that outlines how much money is needed for various aspects of the film’s production, including pre-production, shooting, post-production, marketing, and distribution.
  • Target Audience : The specific group of people the film intends to reach and resonate with. Understanding the target audience is crucial for marketing and distribution strategies.
  • Marketing Strategy : A plan that details how the film will be promoted to the target audience, including advertising, public relations, social media, and other promotional activities.
  • Sales Strategy : The approach for selling the film to distributors, streaming platforms, or other outlets. It includes strategies for negotiating deals and securing distribution agreements.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) : A regulatory body in the United States that oversees securities markets and works to protect investors from fraudulent activities and scams.
  • Legal Business Entity : A formal legal structure, such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), established to separate a film project’s assets and liabilities from the personal assets of the filmmaker.
  • Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) : A set of documents prepared by an attorney that outlines a film project’s goals, potential returns, and inherent risks. It helps potential investors make informed decisions.
  • Compliance : Adherence to laws, regulations, and guidelines, particularly in the context of securities laws and regulations, to make sure that a film project is credible and transparent to investors.
  • Distribution Plan : A strategy for how the film will be released and distributed to audiences, including decisions about theatrical releases, streaming platforms, DVD sales, and international distribution.

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How To Sell Your Movie Idea (Without Movie Studio Connections)

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  • How to Write a Film Business Plan

How to Write a Film Business Plan

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How to Write a Film Business Plan is the Number 1 goal of most of our filmmakers, so we wrote a FREE How to Write a Movie Business Plan E-Course (sign up FREE right here and start immediately). Our entire Business Plan E-Course is also included in our Film Financing Manual , so if you're on the fast track to film financing and don't want to wait 8 weeks, get it all in the manual and go at your own pace.

Writing a business plan can be overwhelming to some, and while our FilmProposals Bundles & Toolkits will save you hundreds of hours with prewritten text and templates and speed up your learning curve by showing you how to complete complicated financial projections, there is still a lot of information to process. We designed this Film Business Plan Course to be sent once per week to break the process of writing your business plan into manageable pieces, and to keep you accountable and focused. In case you can't see the sign up form, try here .

Our goal is that no matter where you in the process of making your film, we help you to succeed with really understanding the entire business side of the film industry. Each week you'll receive your homework assignments, and if you follow along and stick to the plan, it will be 10 short weeks until you have a complete film business plan and are totally ready to approach the film investors we teach you to find.

Some areas the course covers are as follows:

The Company Section - Week 1

How to Write a Film Business Plan - Company Section

A business plan is only as good as the company or organization behind it, so you will have to remove your creative filmmaker thinking cap and be willing to think like and wear the hat of an investor...or be willing to hire people to do this for you. We show you exactly how to do this, where to find the right people for your film and how to best showcase all your team's talent in your Business Plan.

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The Project Section - Week 2

How to Write a Film Business Plan - Project Section

Do you know what makes your independent film special and sets it apart from the others? Do you know the answer to this question in such a way that it makes it clear your film is a good investment? While your film may have a great social message or even its potential cast and production are merits you wish to highlight, know the investor reads every word in your plan with the mind and eye of a business person. We want to ensure the content of your plan continually reinforces there is a promising opportunity for return on investment and we show you how to make it look like your project does just that.

The Industry Section - Week 3

How to Write a Film Business Plan - Industry Section

You should write your industry section as if you are describing the ins and outs of the industry to someone who does not know the film business at all. Statistics, history, industry successes, how and why the industry is growing, both domestically and internationally, and home video streaming trends are some of the areas you will cover in this part of the feature film business plan.

The Market Section - Week 4

How to Write a Film Business Plan - Market Section

One of the MOST important questions you are going to ask yourself while writing your your film business plan is, "Who is going to pay money to see your independent film?" Who is your target market? Where are they? How many of them are there? What are their movie-going habits? How and where do they spend their money? What are their other habits that might piggy-back well with film? We show you dozens of resources to help you answer these questions and make a compelling case to your investors that your film does, indeed, have solid market potential.

The Film Investment Section - Week 5

How to Write a Film Business Plan - Film Investment Section

In order to effectively convince your film financing investors and build a solid feature film business plan, you will need to understand the ins and outs of film investment. Learn about multiple financing sources, such as cash, soft and hard money and multiple other ways of coming up with your negative pick up costs and how to show investors you've put real financial value into your project - even if you have NO cash to add!

Film Distribution Strategy - Week 6

How to Write a Film Business Plan - Film Distribution Strategy

How are you going to maximize the distribution of your film? Here is what the Wall Street Journal tells film investors when advising them on the BEST films in which to invest, " with any business investment, you want to see a well-conceived marketing and distribution plan that makes sense and isn't built on hope." We want YOU to have your own distribution plan that makes sense, whether traditional distribution S/VOD, TVOD and all the various combinations of distribution channels and release types.

How to Write a Film Business Plan - Financial Projections - Week 7

How to Write a Film Business Plan

If you think the hard part of writing a film business plan is the Financial Projections, don't worry for a minute. We break this down for you in an easy to follow and understand format. We tell you what potential investors will expect to see, how to choose the correct films for comparison, all disclosures and risk statements required and much more.

Extra Tips and Next Steps - Week 8

How to Write a Film Business Plan Bonus Tips

What else do you need to know about writing a Film Business Plan? After this course, you will know so much more about YOUR film and about the movie business and film industry. We'll go through some additional investors, keys to film financing and leave you with all the right tools, tips and templates to complete your business plan.

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Finished my deck on Friday. Got it into a few potential investor’s hands over the weekend, and by Monday had 3 out of the 10 available memberships spoken for at $160K each. The revenue projections and film comparable services by NASH, along with the business plan and pitch deck templates were instrumental in presenting the project in such a way that financially minded potential investors could understand the movie business, the market and how my project could possibly give them a substantial ROI. Melissa was amazing throughout the entire process. Always there to answer any questions. Couldn’t have done it without you guys. Can’t thank you enough. Best money I’ve ever spent. - Michael F, Executive Producer, Inside Sportfishing ( Gold + Financials Bundle )

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How to Write an Independent Film Business Plan - 1/7 Executive Summary

One of my more popular services for filmmakers is Independent Film Business Plan Writing.  So I decided to do a series outlining the basics of writing an independent film business plan to talk about what I do and give you an idea of how you can get started with it yourself.  

Before we really dive in it’s worth noting that what will really sell an investor on your project is you. You need to develop a relationship with them and build enough trust that they’ll be willing to take a risk with you. A business plan shows you’ve done your homework, but in the end, the close will be around you as a filmmaker, producer, and entrepreneur.

The first Section of the independent film business plan is always the Executive Summary, and it’s the most important that you get right.  So how do you get it right?  Read this blog for the basics.

Write this section LAST

This section may be the first section in your independent film business plan, but it’s the last section you should write.  Once you’ve written the other sections of this plan, the executive summary will be a breeze.  The only thing that might be a challenge is keeping the word count sparse enough that you keep it to a single page.    If you have an investor that only wants an executive summary, then you can write it first.  But you’ll also need to generate your pro forma financial statements for your film, and project revenue and generally have a good idea of what’s going to go into the film’s business plan in order to write it.  I would definitely write it after making the first version of your Deck, and rewrite it after you finish the rest of the business plan. 

Keep it Concise

As the name would imply, the Executive Summary is the Summary of an entire business plan.  It takes the other 5 sections of the film’s business plan and summarizes them into a single page.  It’s possible that you could do a single double-sided page, but generally, for a film you shouldn’t need to.  

A general rule here is to leave your reader wanting more, as if they don’t have questions they’re less likely to reach out again, which gives you less of a chance to build a relationship with them.

Here’s a brief summary of what you’ll cover in your executive summary.

As the title implies, this section goes over the basics of your project.  it goes over the major attachments, a synopsis, the budget, as well as the genre of the film.  You’ll have about a paragraph or two to get that all across, so you’ll have to be quite concise.


This section is a brief description of the values of your production company.  Generally, you’ll keep it to your mission statement, and maybe a bit about your key members in the summary.


In a standard prospectus, this would be the go-to-market strategy.  For a film, this means your marketing and distribution sections.  For the executive summary, list your target demographics, whether you have a distributor, plan to get one, or plan on self-distributing.  Also, include if you plan on raising additional money to assist in distribution.

SWOT Analysis/Risk Management

SWOT is an acronym standing for Strengths Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  For the executive summary, this section should include a statement that outlines how investing in film is incredibly risky, due to a myriad of factors that practically render your projections null and void.  Advise potential investors to should always consult a lawyer before investing in your film.  Cover your ass.  I’ve done a 2*2 table with these for plans in the past, and it works reasonably well.  Speaking of covering one’s posterior, you should have a lawyer draft a risk statement for you.  Also, I am not one of those, just your friendly neighborhood entrepreneur. #NotALawyer #SideRant

Finally, we come to the part of the plan that the investors really want to see.  How much is this going to cost, and what’s a reasonable estimate on what it can return?  There are two ways of projecting this, outlined in the blog below.

Related: The Two Ways to Project Revenue for an independent film .

In addition to your expected ROI, you’ll want to include when you expect to break even and mention that pro forma financial statements are at the end of this plan included behind the actual financial section.

Pro Forma Financial Statements.

If you’re sending out your executive summary as a document unto itself, you will strongly want to consider including the pro forma financial statements. For Reference, those documents are a top sheet budget, a revenue top sheet, a waterfall to the company/expected income breakdown, an internal company waterfall/capitalization table, a cashflow statement/breakeven analysis, and a document citing your research and sources used in the rest of the plan. Writing an executive summary well requires a lot of highly specialized knowledge of the film business. It’s not easy to attain that knowledge, but my free film business resource package is a great place to start! You’ll get a deck template, contact tracking templates, a FREE ebook, and monthly digests of blogs categorized by topic to help you know what you’ll need to have the best possible chance to close investors.

Here’s a link to the other sections of this 7 part series.  Executive Summary (this article) The Company The Projects Marketing Risk Statement/SWOT Analysis Financials Section (Text) Pro-Foma Financial Statements.

business proposal for a film

How to Write an Independent Film Business Plan - 2/7 Company Section

5 rules for finding film investors.

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How to Write a Film Production Company Business Plan?  

Film Production Company Business Plan


A film production company is a business entity that produces, markets, and distributes long- or short-form films. As the owner or manager of a film production company, you will produce, market, and distribute films.

Suppose you have a knack for graphics, filming, and video editing. In that case, you might be interested in launching your own production house and break into the film production industry.

Nothing will guarantee you more profitability and success in running your film production company other than a well-written and comprehensive film production company business plan.

What is a Film Production Company Business Plan?

A film production company business plan is a written document that clearly outlines your business’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. Writing business plan will help you persuade investors to support your company and get loans from commercial banks. This document is also helpful for you to determine if your business idea is viable.  

Preparing a film production company business plan is like creating a comprehensive roadmap. Writing a film production company business plan can seem daunting and tricky. However, with the proper guidance and resources, such as a film production company business plan template, you can develop a solid plan.

A film company business plan should have all the necessary information and details about your film company. Some include the executive summary, mission statement , market analysis, and funding request.

Why Write a Film Company Business Plan 

A film company business plan is essential for filmmakers to secure investments, loans and grants.

Attracts Investors

Investors and lenders, such as banks, want a well-thought-out business plan before investing in a film or video production company. A clear, concise, and well-researched business plan will help attract potential investors and grant providers and secure funding. Your business plan will not just showcase your commitment and professional approach to the project. Still, it will likely be the deciding factor in getting investors on boar.

Helps with Decision Making

A business plan for a film production business helps you make informed and sound decisions about your film company.  For example, it will help you decide the type of film company you want to focus on, such as a film development or distribution company.

Also, by analyzing your market and competition, you will be able to identify potential challenges, risks, and opportunities and develop strategies and plans to address them.

Establishes a Reliable Marketing Strategy

A business plan for your film production company helps you develop a marketing strategy for your business. It will help you understand how to build an audience around the project and drive significant revenue.

For instance, using social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you can create opportunities for press coverage. By identifying your target audience, such as teenagers, you can develop a marketing strategy that effectively reaches and engages your customers.

Film Business Planning and Compliance

Drafting and completing an independent film business plan is one of the significant steps toward getting the finding, but this isn’t the only step. There are other considerations. For example, in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) works to protect uninformed or unsuspecting investors from scams. So, to stay compliant, you should talk with a qualified and experienced entertainment attorney who focuses on securities law before trying to raise money for your company.

However, many filmmakers misunderstand a film production company’s business plan. You should focus on the essentials and outline your budget, showing how you will allocate and spend the money. Also, it is essential to highlight your team, objectives, sales strategy, management team, marketing strategy, risks, and distribution strategy.

If you are about to start a film or video production company, you will benefit from a film production company’s business plans and templates.

Components of a Film Production Company Business Plan

You may be lost and confused if you have never created a business plan before! You are not alone. Most filmmakers and film producers turn to their attorneys or legal experts to help with the business plan.

Starting a production company is not easy. However, if you are going it alone, here is what you should include in your business plan to satisfy investors, banks, and other entities interested in knowing your goals.

Executive Summary

The executive summary should provide an overview of your film production company and what you intend to achieve. It is usually a brief overview of the film company and project, including the concept, target market, budget, and key management personnel.

The executive summary should also include your mission statement, target audience, business goals, and the products or services you offer.

Company Information

Any business plan is as good as the organization or company behind it. In this section, you should describe the type of production company, including its legal structure, management team, production team, and any partnerships and collaborations you have formed.

What is your project about? What will your business do? Who is your production team? You should mention these details to convince investors to support your company.

A Confidentiality Agreement

One of the important items to include in your film production company business plan is a confidentiality agreement. A confidentiality agreement for a film production company is a legal contract that outlines the terms and conditions governing the use and protection of confidential information about film production.

This agreement is typically used to safeguard sensitive, confidential, and proprietary information, such as story concepts, casting decisions, script drafts, financial data, and marketing strategies, from being disclosed or shared without the company’s consent.

The agreement should be signed by all parties involved in the production process, including employees, contractors, investors, and other stakeholders.

You should mention the services your film and video production company will offer. This may include movies, documentaries, television programming, industrial films, commercials, or other related work.

Clearly describe the services and products your film production company will offer, including producing films, post-production services, and film distribution. Your business offerings can include the following:

  • Action and adventure films
  • Drama films
  • Comedy films
  • Thriller or suspense films
  • Documentaries
  • Musical Videos

Mission and Vision Statement

The mission statement of your film production company should include its goals, values, and purpose.  Your vision could be to develop a first-class film and video production company that can compete with leaders in the industry.

Your company’s mission statement may also include its goals and objectives, like producing a certain number of movies or commercials per year or winning awards at major film festivals.

Industry and Market Analysis

You should write the industry analysis section as if you’re describing the ins and outs of the film industry to somebody who doesn’t know the film business. This should include statistics, industry successes, history, and why and how the industry is growing internationally and domestically.

You must research the film industry and your target market in the market analysis section. You should also include information on the size of the market, trends in the film industry, competition, target audience, and customer demographics .

Production Plan

This detailed plan will describe your projects and how films will be made, including the budget, production costs, shooting schedule, and key personnel involved.

Team Details

You should include details of any reputable team members or those with a reputation within the industry in your film production company business plan. Describe your management team and any key personnel, including their educational backgrounds, qualifications, notable past projects, and experience.

However, you should also include relevant information about who is producing your film, your project managers, and who will direct it.

Target Market

When creating your film business plan, the essential question is, “Who will be willing to pay to watch or buy your film?” This requires identifying your target audience, including their demographics, such as age, movie preferences, and spending habits.

You should also consider potential interests that may align with your film company. After doing your research, you may come up with the following as the groups making up your target market:

  • Families and Households
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Corporate Organizations
  • TV Stations
  • Children and Adolescents

Film Marketing Strategy

In the last few years, film marketing has changed considerably . The traditional way of promoting and marketing a movie is no longer effective. You need a modern and effective marketing plan.

You may know that marketing campaigns have shifted to digital and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which are far more accessible to potential viewers. A compelling film marketing campaign has to capture the attention of your target audience and get them excited and enthusiastic about seeing your film in theaters.

How much will you spend on the production? Your film production company business plan must include details about the project budget and any individual costs you can itemize. Also, have details about individual cost allocations by project stage. For instance, what will pre-production cost? What will development cost? What will production cost? 

Risks Involved 

Your film production company business plan should mention and address any risks associated with any funds that may be invested into your business or project.

Film Distribution Strategy

How will you maximize and streamline the distribution of your films? Much of your film production business plan will tap into what investors, such as banks, want to know. So, you must provide a well-thought-out and planned film distribution strategy that will work for your ideal audience and target market.

Financial Plan and Projections

How will you finance your projects and company? Your financing plan must include information regarding any soft money and hard money financing and production loans that will be incurred for your project.

Soft money includes transferable and refundable tax credits, lodging exemptions, sales tax immunities, and fee-free locations tax credits. Gap financing is another method that covers shortfalls between the project’s budget and what the producer can accumulate in soft money, equity, and pre-sales.

Your business plan will help you develop financial projections for your film production company. This includes revenue and expense projections, cash flow analysis , and break-even analysis. Include information on how you are looking to secure funding for your company.

Operations Plan

This section of your business plan should describe the day-to-day operations of your film company, including film equipment needs, production schedules, and staffing requirements.

Legal Considerations

You should also outline any legal considerations that may production company, such as permits, licensing, and insurance.

Final Thoughts

All businesses, including small businesses and startups, need a business plan, and you should prepare a film production company business plan before starting the business. This plan functions as a guidebook to take your film production business through the launch process and help maintain focus on your key goals. It also lets you determine if it is worth investing time, money, and effort in starting a film production business.

Write a comprehensive business plan to help you document and envision your idea, how you will make money, and where you will find financing for your company. You will likely require a film production company business plan for everything from financing to tax write-offs.

If you’re serious about starting your own film production company, a solid business plan is essential. Our team at Synvest Capital has helped many entrepreneurs like you turn their dreams into reality by providing expert business consulting services, including business plan writing.

We understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the film production industry, and we can help you create a customized business plan that meets your specific needs and goals.

So, whether you’re looking to secure funding from investors or need a roadmap for your own success, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Contact us today to learn more about our business consulting services and how we can help you take your film production company to the next level.

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Short Film Business Plan - Featured Image - StudioBinder

How to Write a 4-Part Film Business Plan That Gets You Funding

ou’ve got an awesome concept for a short film.  Congratulations!  Now you need a short film business plan.

Perhaps your idea just came to you out of the blue, perhaps you’ve developed it with my systematic process. Either way, you want to know what the first step towards turning your idea into an actual movie is.

Well, it’s not one step. It’s four.

There’s No Such Thing as a “Short Film Business Plan”

Don’t plan the oscar party yet, what are the pieces of a film production business plan.

  • A Film Synopsis for Your Target Market

The Roadmap and Compass of your Film Production

  • Funding your Short Film
  • Film Distribution
  • The Short Film Business Plan

 4-Part Film Business Plan That Gets You Funding

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare one!

The term “Business Plan” comes out of the corporate world. It refers to a document that is prepared before a business launches.

Short Film Business Plan - Boromir - StudioBinder

Short Film Business Plan - Boromir - StudioBinder

  • The document describes what the business will do, how it will do it, how much money it needs, and how it expects to recoup that money. Business plans are shown to investors to help them determine whether or not to invest in a company. They are also useful guides for new employees to understand the company’s mission and purpose. Your short films ideas generally won’t make money. That’s not typically their purpose. But that doesn’t mean that the content of a short film business plan isn’t an important part of how to make a short film! It can:
  • Clarify your purpose, define your process and articulate your film’s potential.
  • Inspire donors, supporters or high-value collaborators to join the project.
  • Communicate your film’s purpose to your cast and crew, to make sure you’re all working towards a common goal.
  • Define the film’s marketing angle, to inspire festivals to screen it or to inspire audiences to check it out.

Most importantly, defining your plan will give you the framework and focus to make sure you keep yourself on-track.


We’re all dreamers in this business - how can we be anything else? But as tempting as the dreams of success and creative freedom may be, we’ve got to remember to take the first steps first.

A few years ago, I wrote a short film and got very excited about casting it.

There was a perfect role in the film for an old legend - an actor in his 80s or 90s. Perhaps an Oscar winner, someone who was once a luminary in Hollywood, but who’s probably not very busy anymore.

I spent my time thinking of great actors. The ones who starred in the classic films that I loved as a kid. I looked up which of them might still be alive and willing to work for a day.

It was thrilling to imagine directing these men… but did I ever make that film?

You see, I skipped a vital step. I never really worked through the “film business plan” - the part of development where a producer figures out how and why the film will attract funding, and how and where it will reach its audience.

So what’s the first step? Let’s take a look at the big picture first.

Your plan should consist  of these four pieces:

Short Film Business Plan - 4 Keys - StudioBinder

Short Film Business Plan - 4 Keys - StudioBinder

Before we dive into these sections individually, there’s something important we need to understand that will tie them all together.

All of the pieces of your short film’s business plan connect in some way to your target market.


Your target market is the audience (or audiences) that are most likely to seek out and enjoy your film.

A film about bullying might target high-school-age YouTubers (a demographic group, defined by age).

On the other hand, a film that takes place on a spaceship as it approaches an alien planet might target the sci-fi market (not a demographic group, but an interest group).

While a film about a gay Jewish boxer might have several simultaneous target markets.

  • Jewish (a religious group)
  • LGBT (a cause-oriented group, but also a group defined by lifestyle and social structure)
  • Sports (an interest group)

In that last case, it’s helpful to know which is the dominant audience for the film. Is it more of a Jewish film? More of an LGBT-themed film? More of a sports film?

It’s also useful to understand where and how the markets intersect. There are many active Jewish LGBT organizations - not nearly as many Jewish/sports organizations.

If you’ve selected one your short film ideas with your target market in mind, this step will be easy.

If not, you’ve got to answer the following question:

What audience group is most likely to show interest in this film?

Once you know who you’re making your movie for, you can develop a specific strategy for crafting a film for them. And here’s the magical secret of this process:

The money and resources for your film will come from a subset of your target market.

Short Film Business Plan - Monopoly - StudioBinder

This individual is key to many a short film business plan.

Once you know your target market, you can get specific about the elements of your short film business plan:

  • What film are you making (for your target market)? What short film ideas appeal to them?
  • How much money do you need (to pay for the elements that your target market will expect)?
  • Where (from within your target market) will you raise funds or gather resources?
  • How will you release your film (so your target market can see it)?


If you’re making a film with a particular social or political cause, you might want your film to reach an audience that isn’t a natural fit.

Let’s say one of your film ideas would shed light on the plight of the  Yazidi  people who are facing severe persecution in parts of the Middle East. That’s essentially your logline.

The Yazidi already know this story - they aren’t your target audience.

But the people who you’re trying to influence, perhaps middle-class American voters, might not have a natural interest in the story. So how can you interest them in your film?

The answer can be hard to do, but it’s pretty straightforward:

Define your film for your target market.

This hypothetical film’s logline is “a film to shed light on the plight of the Yazidi people”. The logline could also be “a harrowing tale of survival in an exotic and faraway land”.

One description is very specific to people who know and care about the Yazidi situation. The other might appeal to a much broader audience.

If your intended audience doesn't match your subject matter, you need to make sure that you can frame the film in a way that appeals to them.

If you don’t, your film will never reach the people it was made for.

Now we can get into the details of your short film business plan.

A Film Synopsis for Your Target Market 

Whether you’re working off of a written screenplay, or you have yet to commission a screenwriter, you already know the story of your film. Before you can get into the details of your short film business plan, you need to lay out the story, as you expect it to be told, for others.

There are lots of definitions and “rules” when it comes to writing a feature film synopsis, especially if you plan to use it to pitch or promote your film.

But since we’re creating a short film business plan, you might be reassured to remember that there are no rules here.

That said, the purpose of this business plan may help guide you in terms of  short film ideas to work on.

  • The business plan is your personal tool to help keep you focused as you shepherd this short film from development through its release.
  • Your synopsis should be focused. Tell the skeleton of the story. Don’t go into detail.
  • It’s your communications tool, to help describe the project to potential supporters and collaborators.
  • Keep the synopsis short. A 3-5 sentence paragraph might suffice. A logline might be better

Make sure your logline is written with your target market in mind.

Remember: The money and resources for your film will come from a subset of your target market.

You want people in your target market to respond, “wow, it’s like this short film is being made just for me!”

Short Film Business Plan - Audience - StudioBinder

Appealing to the egotism of others: also key to a short film business plan.

In some cases, a synopsis or logline is enough of a description of the project to give people a clear sense of what you’re trying to accomplish.


Sometimes, it may be worthwhile to write a paragraph or two describing the strategy behind the film production.

This is especially true if there are elements in the logline of the that might make people skeptical of your ability to pull it off.

When I began to raise money for “ The Pirate Captain Toledano ”, the first and obvious question that everyone asked was “how will you shoot this film? It’s set on a pirate ship!”

It was important to preempt that question by explaining that I had already negotiated for not one, but two tall ships where the film could be shot.

business proposal for a film

Remember this from my  first article ?

If your film is set in a hard-to-secure location or features elements that are typically expensive or hard to find, write a paragraph or two explaining how you plan to tackle those challenges.

If you don’t tell people what you need, they won’t know how to help you. And if you don’t tell them when you need it, they won’t help you soon enough.

That’s why you need to prepare a preliminary production schedule and a rough budget for your short film project.

At this stage, your production schedule and budget are very speculative. You might not even have a script yet!

That's alright.


You’ve got to put some dates down on a calendar, and some figures down in a spreadsheet. They’ll shift and change, of course, but this starting point will anchor you as the project develops.

For your preliminary schedule, you should look at two factors:

  • When will production happen?
  • How long will production last?

For the first, consider how long it will take you to raise money, assemble a team and line up all the bits and pieces before production can get started.

If you’re a veteran producer, you’ve done all of this before, and can probably estimate the timetable pretty well. If you’re relatively new, consider this guide  to the pre-production process.

It’s written with feature films in mind, so you should be able to take each of those stages and shorten it quite a bit for how to make a short film.

Look at the calendar and pick a reasonable shoot date. It can be vague, too - “we’re aiming to shoot the film in December”.

Just make sure to give yourself enough time to get everything ready!

Don't worry too much if it takes a little longer to raise money. You usually have a lot of flexibility with the shoot date until you start booking locations, cast, crew and equipment.

The exception, of course, is seasonal. If your short film ideas require you to shoot in a snowy field in North Dakota, you can’t push production to July.


The second factor you should look at is the duration of production. If you have a script, you may want to do a preliminary script breakdown and use that to generate a stripboard and schedule.

Software like StudioBinder, Gorilla, and MovieMagic can streamline that process.

But at this early stage, a paper napkin schedule may suffice for your script breakdown.

Other articles on StudioBinder can offer you guidance on  screenplay scheduling . We even have a video on the subject that you may find helpful. 

Starring none other than yours truly!

Even if you don’t have a screenplay yet, you should still have a sense of whether your film can be shot in a day or if it requires a full week.

Again, this can shift and change as your project evolves. You need some starting definitions of your plan and your needs so you can communicate them.

Armed with a preliminary schedule, you can then pull together a rough  film budget for the project.


This budget won’t be detailed. That’s okay. In fact, it might be just a budget top sheet.

All you need to know now is the ballpark cost of your project so that you know how much money you need to raise, or how much support you need to inspire.

If you’ve selected your short film concept carefully, you probably have a sense already of how much it’ll cost to pull off. At the very least, you have a sense of how much money you’ll be able to raise for it.

If that’s the case, you might find yourself ‘backing-into’ the film budget. Starting with a bottom-line figure, and massaging the numbers to make them fit that bottom-line.

If you're an experienced producer, you may not need as much detail in your preliminary budget. Your experience will guide you for how much your major budget categories will cost.

But if you’re still new to this, I advise you to take the extra time to budget in more detail.

You only need the top-sheet for your short film business plan. However, the more you familiarize yourself with the details of your budget, the more control you’ll have over it.

Once again, an understanding of your target market will help you here.

If there are certain personalities that your target market responds to, consider setting aside money to hire them.

Are there certain details in the production that your target market would expect to see? Account for them.

Does your target market only read a specific newspaper on Tuesdays? Make sure you’ve budgeted for a full-page ad in the Tuesday edition.

Short Film Business Plan - Newspaper - StudioBinder

I say, have you heard about this short film?

Funding your short film: which tree to shake.

You’ve described your film, set a target shoot date, and prepared a preliminary schedule and a film budget. Now you have a valuable piece of information: How much money you need to pull this off!

There are several ways that filmmakers commonly raise money for short films. Pick a method (or a combination of methods) that works for you, and take a page to describe how you’ll go about it.

Will you run a crowdfunding campaign? Solicit direct contributions from friends and family? Try to get an “investor”? Fund the film yourself?

Whatever fundraising method you choose, go into detail on your strategy. Crowdfunding, in particular, requires rigorous preparation.

An important piece of this process is connecting your fundraising strategy to your target market.

So, who do you know in your target market? What organizations will you connect with? Who in your target market is most likely not just to enjoy the film, but to contribute to its success?

Are there people in your target market who are also in the film industry? Might they be potential collaborators on your short film?

Figure out your strategy, and boil it down to a page.

Film Distribution: A Plan for Connecting Your Film to its Audience

The final piece of your short film business plan is your release strategy. How will you bring your film to the attention of your target market?

Most filmmakers make their shorts without much thought for distribution. As a result, most short films are barely seen by anyone.

People who might consider supporting or joining your short film are more likely to do so if they feel that the project has a strong chance of actually connecting with its audience.

Once again, understanding your target market is critical here. Where do they see short films? Festivals? YouTube? In-flight movies?

Short Film Business Plan - Airplane - StudioBinder

In-flight movies might not be the best idea for your short film business plan, as it is not the 

Wherever they consume this type of media, you’ve got to figure out what it takes to get your film there.

In most cases, your rollout strategy will consist of several steps or stages. For example:

You might want your film available for purchase on Amazon Streaming (through  Amazon Video Direct ).

Maybe you've discovered that your target market seeks out films like yours only if they’ve been covered in certain newspapers, magazines, or blogs.

Look at those publications, and you might find that they only cover short films that appear at certain film festivals.

You now have a film distribution strategy. Start with certain festivals. Combine it with a PR push to specific publications. Finish with a rollout to Amazon Streaming.

Maybe you’re creating a proof-of-concept or a calling card film. Then, your target market is agents, managers, producers and other decision-makers in the industry.

Your choice of festival submissions, screening venues, and the final online platform would be quite different in this case.

Whether you define your release strategy in an outline, a paragraph or two, or a flow chart, make sure you put it down on the page so it can be communicated.

The Short Film Business Plan: Your Communication Tool

Ultimately, your short film business plan is a communications tool, so make sure it says what you want it to say.

Keep it honest. Don’t put down budget numbers that you don’t believe (even if you think they might impress someone!)

Don’t describe the film in a way you can’t relate to (even if you think that’s what your audience will want to hear).

Add graphics, charts, whatever you need in order to communicate what you need to communicate.

In the end, it’s possible no one will see your business plan. It could be just a tool for you, a method of framing up the entire filmmaking process in your mind.

Even if no one else sees this document, it will be of tremendous value in helping you stay on track.

If you put something like this together for your next short film, please let me know how it goes! If you’re still looking for more short film ideas, check out the  first post  in my short film series.

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  • How to Design an Effective Business Plan
  • Keys to an Effective Proposal for a Video Production

More than 400 movies are expected to hit theaters in 2010, according to The Motion Picture Association of America and production companies are notoriously quiet about the exact amount spent on a movie production, the amount used for marketing, and what the returns will be. Creating a business plan for a new film requires highlighting the creative elements of the project while demonstrating the business savvy of the industry and a realistic projection of what a film can make.

Create the outline of your business plan centered around the screenplay (or concept). The business plan should contain an executive summary, company overview, film summary, industry information, marketing plan, distribution and risk factors. You will also need to include financing requirements and a financial plan that returns investment principal and earnings to investors.

Write your company overview that includes information about the producer, writer and director's experience. Include a synopsis of the budget size, distribution and notoriety of previous projects. This section tells the reader who you are, and why you are the company to invest in, on two straightforward and concise pages of content.

Summarize the screenplay in a one-page synopsis. Investors won't want to read an entire screenplay at first glance. Provide them with a well-written summary of the key plot points.

Write an overview of the film industry at present time. Use resources like the Hollywood Reporter, or for current financial information and gross dollar receipts for films with a similar genre to yours. Use conservative numbers that reflect an understanding of both moderate theater success and DVD sales and rentals.

Establish a marketing plan based on the budget you are seeking. A film like the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" relied on social networking and small theatrical releases where the film, "Transformers" used massive marketing budgets with wide theatrical releases.

Establish the distribution goals in a few pages. Include any resources your team already has to obtain a theatrical or DVD distribution deal. These resources become a foundation for how you will be able to return investors' money.

Summarize the financial needs of the project. Hire an experienced film line producer to create a budget and a budget "top-sheet" summarizing what is spent on talent and actual production labor and hard costs. Line producers budget expenses and hire the labor on the movie set; producers manage all aspects of the project from inception to distribution.

Create an executive summary no more than two pages long that provides an overview of all the segments you have created in your plan. Some investors will never read beyond the executive summary, so make this sizzle with facts and numbers extrapolated from all the other sections written.

  • MovieWeb: 2010 Movie Releases
  • MPAA: State-by-State
  • Filmmakers & Financing; Levison, Louise; Focal Press (2004); pp 17-24, 170-185.
  • LA Times: MPAA draws curtain on movie production

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.

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Filmmaking Lifestyle

Film Production Company Business Plan: The Complete Guide

business proposal for a film

The process of film production is a long and arduous one. It starts with the writing stage, where screenplays are written by a writer or multiple writers.

The screenplay typically has at least three acts that have to be edited for pacing and story development purposes. Once the script is finished, it’s time for pre-production!

There’s a lot of misconception about what film production really entails. This article will clear up some of the misconceptions and give you an idea of what it is like on set, as well as how to break into the industry.


What is a film production company business plan.

A film production company business plan is a document that can help you to get investors and loans from banks, but it’s also useful for you to see if your idea is viable. It helps you determine if it’s worth investing money, time, and effort.

Film production company business plans are documents that should be created before starting the business.

They will help you gain investors so you can start your film production company and make money out of your films.

A business plan should have all the necessary information about your film company, including the mission statement, executive summary, market analysis, funding request, financial projections, and management team.

The film industry is booming. Every year, Hollywood churns out more than 1,000 movies with a total budget of $100 billion dollars.

The past few years have seen an increase in the number of independent films and documentaries being made thanks to new technologies such as the availability of digital cameras and editing software.

Still, it’s not easy for filmmakers to get their stories on-screen – even if they’re backed by major studios or are indie darlings.

Here are four things you may not know about film production.

business proposal for a film

Structure Your Film As A Business

The film industry is a business. It’s not just about the art, but also about the bottom line.

You’ve watched a ton of movies, but have you ever wondered how films are structured?

There are many ways to make money in film, and it’s important to structure your movie as an investment that will create financial returns for you and your investors.

The truth is that most filmmakers never make another movie after their first one and the ones who do often only make one more. 

So if you want to keep making movies for the rest of your life, you’re going to need some help from a business-minded partner like me.

business proposal for a film

Would you like to learn how to get more video production clients? Click the image below to get your free, downloadable guide to getting more video clients and growing your video company!

business proposal for a film

What Is Included In A Film Business Plan?

The film business plan should include a thorough description of the product, market research , production costs and expenses, sales strategy, marketing plan, and projections for profit.

The product is typically an independent film with limited distribution.

For example, if you’re making a documentary on the history of jazz music in North Carolina, you’ll need to have your budget broken down by type of expense (equipment rentals or production staff), as well as what services you will need from outside vendors (music licensing).

If you are producing a feature-length movie that tells the story of two friends who meet in college but lose touch with each other after graduation until they find one another again 10 years later at their high school reunion – then your marketing strategy would be different.

What Is An Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a document summarizing the key points or main ideas of a longer text. It usually includes an overview, background information, and future projections with supporting data.

Creating an executive summary can be very beneficial for anyone who needs to quickly understand the full scope of a project in order to make decisions about it.

The idea behind an executive summary is that it should be short enough to read at a glance but still contain all the necessary information for someone to gain access to what you’re trying to say. This includes writing with clear language and using bullet points wherever possible.

An executive summary is a concise, objective summary of the main points of an event or report. It’s often used as a quick reference for those who are looking to learn more about what’s been happening in your business.

Film Marketing Strategy

In recent years, the world of film marketing has changed drastically. The old way of marketing a movie through traditional methods is no longer effective.

Marketing campaigns have now shifted to digital media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which are more accessible for potential viewers. A successful film marketing campaign needs to capture the attention of your audience and get them excited about seeing your movie in theaters.

One of the most popular methods is through social media and word-of-mouth. It also helps to have a recognizable cast, a catchy tagline, and an interesting plotline.

However, one of the best ways to market your film is by using traditional marketing strategies like billboards or posters in high-traffic areas with strategic messaging that will reach your target audience.

business proposal for a film

Distribution Strategy

The distribution strategy of a company is the way in which they plan to market their product.

The main objective for any distribution strategy should be to get the product out there and make it available to as many people as possible.

When thinking about how you want your products distributed, you should consider what kind of tone you would like your brand to portray.

As a business owner, you want to make sure that your product is distributed in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Film Budget Template

A business plan template is a document that outlines what your company will be doing, how it will operate, and what its goals are. It’s important to note that this isn’t just about coming up with ideas for movies or TV shows; this document provides an outline of your entire filmmaking process from start to finish.

business proposal for a film

The first step in creating a budget is determining how much money the production has available for the film. The next step would be to decide which expenses can be covered by this amount of money and which ones cannot.

For instance, if $10,000 is allocated towards the film’s budget, then it may not be possible to cover all of the expenses associated with filming on location or hiring actors who are outside of their home state.

The third step would be to determine what costs should come from other sources such as grants or crowdfunding campaigns and allocate these funds accordingly.

Business Plan Template

If you are in the business of starting a new company or looking to make changes to an existing one, the first thing that comes to mind is a business plan.

However, many small businesses find writing a business plan too difficult and time-consuming.

Businesses are dependent on having a successful business plan in order to have the funds they need to start up and maintain their company.

There is no such thing as too many plans, but there is definitely such thing as not enough of them.

Some people think that they don’t need a formal written business plan if their company is still in its infancy, or if the type of business doesn’t require one.

This could be true for some small businesses, but what about when your company grows and needs more funding? Or when you decide to sell off parts of your company to investors?

Film Proposal Template

A film proposal is something that filmmakers present to producers, production companies, and distributors. It’s a way for the filmmaker to pitch their idea in hopes of getting funding or support from them.

You should include all the information needed for someone reading it (like what your movie will be about) as well as some visuals so they can get an idea of what it would look like if they were watching it on TV.

I recommend starting out by telling them if they are looking into a certain type of topic such as “what’s new.” Then give three reasons why it should interest them.

Next, provide a brief summary of what someone can expect from reading or watching your content.

Best Mafia Movies: 15 Top Mafia Films Of All Time

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business proposal for a film

Matt Crawford

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Iam having a movie by the name from the streets to the world

business proposal for a film

Best of luck, Kelvin!

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Matt .. would you have template of the Biz Plan .. and are you Fine with sharing the same? – AMAAN

Here’s an idea for a template:

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How to write a business plan for a film production company?

film production company business plan

Creating a business plan for a film production company is an essential process for any entrepreneur. It serves as a roadmap that outlines the necessary steps to be taken to start or grow the business, the resources required, and the anticipated financial outcomes. It should be crafted with method and confidence.

This guide is designed to provide you with the tools and knowledge necessary for creating a film production company business plan, covering why it is so important both when starting up and running an established business, what should be included in your plan, how it should be structured, what tools should be used to save time and avoid errors, and other helpful tips.

We have a lot to cover, so let's get to it!

In this guide:

Why write a business plan for a film production company?

  • What information is needed to create a business plan for a film production company?
  • What goes in the financial forecast for a film production company?
  • What goes in the written part of a film production company business plan?
  • What tool can I use to write my film production company business plan?

Understanding the document's scope and goals will help you easily grasp its structure and content. Before diving into the specifics of the plan, let's take a moment to explore the key reasons why having a film production company business plan is so crucial.

To have a clear roadmap to grow the business

It's rarely business as usual for small businesses. The economy follows cycles where years of growth are followed by recessions, and the business environment is always changing with new technologies, new regulations, new competitors, and new consumer behaviours appearing all the time...

In this context, running a business without a clear roadmap is like driving blindfolded: it's dangerous at best. That's why writing a business plan for a film production company is essential to create successful and sustainable businesses.

To write an effective business plan, you will need to take stock of where you are (if you are already in business) and where you want the business to go in the next three to five years.

Once you know where you want your film production company to be, you'll have to identify:

  • what resources (human, equipment, and capital) are needed to get there,
  • at what pace the business needs to progress to get there in time,
  • and what risks you'll face along the way.

Going through this process regularly is beneficial, both for startups and existing companies, as it helps make informed decisions about how best to allocate resources to ensure the long-term success of the business.

To get visibility on future cash flows

If your small film production company runs out of cash: it's game over. That's why we often say "cash is king", and it's crucial to have a clear view of your film production company's future cash flows.

So, how can you achieve this? It's simple - you need to have an up-to-date financial forecast.

The good news is that your film production company business plan already includes a financial forecast (which we'll discuss further in this guide). Your task is to ensure it stays current.

To accomplish this, it's essential to regularly compare your actual financial performance with what was planned in your financial forecast. Based on your business's current trajectory, you can make adjustments to the forecast.

By diligently monitoring your film production company's financial health, you'll be able to spot potential financial issues, like unexpected cash shortfalls, early on and take corrective actions. Moreover, this practice will enable you to recognize and capitalize on growth opportunities, such as excess cash flow enabling you to expand to new locations.

To secure financing

Crafting a comprehensive business plan for your film production company, whether you're starting up or already established, is paramount when you're seeking financing from banks or investors.

Given how fragile small businesses are, financiers will want to ensure that you have a clear roadmap in place as well as command and control of your future cash flows before entertaining the idea of funding you.

For banks, the information in your business plan will be used to assess your borrowing capacity - which is defined as the maximum amount of debt your business can afford alongside your ability to repay the loan. This evaluation helps them decide whether to extend credit to your business and under what terms (interest rate, duration, repayment options, collateral, etc.).

Similarly, investors will thoroughly review your plan to determine if their investment can yield an attractive return. They'll be looking for evidence that your film production company has the potential for healthy growth, profitability, and consistent cash flow generation over time.

Now that you understand the importance of creating a business plan for your film production company, let's delve into the necessary information needed to craft an effective plan.

Information needed to create a business plan for a film production company

Drafting a film production company business plan requires research so that you can project sales, investments and cost accurately in your financial forecast, and convince the reader that there is a viable commercial opportunity to be seized.

Below, we'll focus on three critical pieces of information you should gather before starting to write your plan.

Carrying out market research for a film production company

As you consider writing your business plan for a film production company, conducting market research becomes a vital step to ensure accurate and realistic financial projections.

Market research provides valuable insights into your target customer base, competitors, pricing strategies, and other key factors that can significantly impact the commercial success of your business.

Through this research, you may uncover trends that could influence your film production company.

You may find that people are more likely to watch films that have been released in the last year. Additionally, people may be more likely to choose films based on the actors that are featured in them.

Such market trends play a significant role in forecasting revenue, as they offer valuable data about potential customers' spending habits and preferences.

By incorporating these findings into your financial projections, you can present investors with more accurate information, helping them make informed decisions about investing in your film production company.

Developing the sales and marketing plan for a film production company

As you embark on creating your film production company business plan, it is crucial to budget sales and marketing expenses beforehand.

A well-defined sales and marketing plan should include precise projections of the actions required to acquire and retain customers. It will also outline the necessary workforce to execute these initiatives and the budget required for promotions, advertising, and other marketing efforts.

This approach ensures that the appropriate amount of resources is allocated to these activities, aligning with the sales and growth objectives outlined in your business plan.

The staffing and equipment needs of a film production company

As you embark on starting or expanding your film production company, having a clear plan for recruitment and capital expenditures (investment in equipment and real estate) is essential for ensuring your business's success.

Both the recruitment and investment plans must align with the timing and level of growth projected in your forecast, and they require appropriate funding.

A film production company might incur staffing costs such as salaries for the director, assistant director, script supervisor, camera operators, sound technicians, production assistants, lighting technicians, art department staff, and other crew members. They may also need to rent equipment, such as lights, cameras, sound equipment, and props, as well as purchase consumables such as batteries, tape, and other items. Additionally, they might need to pay for transport and accommodation for cast and crew members if they are filming on location.

To create a realistic financial forecast, you also need to consider other operating expenses associated with the day-to-day running of your business, such as insurance and bookkeeping.

With all the necessary information at hand, you are ready to begin crafting your business plan and developing your financial forecast.

What goes into your film production company's financial forecast?

The financial forecast of your film production company will enable you to assess the profitability potential of your business in the coming years and how much capital is required to fund the actions planned in the business plan.

The four key outputs of a financial forecast for a film production company are:

  • The profit and loss (P&L) statement ,
  • The projected balance sheet ,
  • The cash flow forecast ,
  • And the sources and uses table .

Let's take a closer look at each of these.

The projected P&L statement

Your film production company forecasted P&L statement enables the reader of your business plan to get an idea of how much revenue and profits your business is expected to make in the near future.

forecasted profit and loss statement in a film production company business plan

Ideally, your reader will want to see:

  • Growth above the inflation level
  • Expanding profit margins
  • Positive net profit throughout the plan

Expectations for an established film production company will of course be different than for a startup. Existing businesses which have reached their cruising altitude might have slower growth and higher margins than ventures just being started.

The projected balance sheet of your film production company

The balance sheet for a film production company is a financial document that provides a snapshot of your business’s financial health at a given point in time.

It shows three main components: assets, liabilities and equity:

  • Assets: are resources owned by the business, such as cash, equipment, and accounts receivable (money owed by clients).
  • Liabilities: are debts owed to creditors and other entities, such as accounts payable (money owed to suppliers) and loans.
  • Equity: includes the sums invested by the shareholders or business owners and the cumulative profits and losses of the business to date (called retained earnings). It is a proxy for the value of the owner's stake in the business.

example of projected balance sheet in a film production company business plan

Examining the balance sheet is important for lenders, investors, or other stakeholders who are interested in assessing your film production company's liquidity and solvency:

  • Liquidity: assesses whether or not your business has sufficient cash and short-term assets to honour its liabilities due over the next 12 months. It is a short-term focus.
  • Solvency: assesses whether or not your business has the capacity to repay its debt over the medium-term.

Looking at the balance sheet can also provide insights into your film production company's investment and financing policies.

In particular, stakeholders can compare the value of equity to the value of the outstanding financial debt to assess how the business is funded and what level of financial risk has been taken by the owners (financial debt is riskier because it has to be repaid, while equity doesn't need to be repaid).

The projected cash flow statement

A cash flow forecast for a film production company shows how much cash the business is projected to generate or consume.

example of cash flow forecast in a film production company business plan

The cash flow statement is divided into 3 main areas:

  • The operating cash flow shows how much cash is generated or consumed by the operations (running the business)
  • The investing cash flow shows how much cash is being invested in capital expenditure (equipment, real estate, etc.)
  • The financing cash flow shows how much cash is raised or distributed to investors and lenders

Looking at the cash flow forecast helps you to ensure that your business has enough cash to keep running, and can help you anticipate potential cash shortfalls.

It is also a best practice to include a monthly cash flow statement in the appendices of your film production company business plan so that the readers can view the impact of seasonality on your business cash position and generation.

The initial financing plan

The initial financing plan - also called a sources and uses table - is an important tool when starting a film production company.

It shows where the money needed to set up the business will come from (sources) and how it will be allocated (uses).

initial financing plan in a film production company business plan

Having this table helps understand what costs are involved in setting up the film production company, how the risks are distributed between the shareholders and the lenders, and what will be the starting cash position (which needs to be sufficient to sustain operations until the business breaks even).

Now that the financial forecast of a film production company business plan is understood, let's focus on what goes into the written part of the plan.

The written part of a film production company business plan

The written part of a film production company business plan is composed of 7 main sections:

  • The executive summary
  • The presentation of the company
  • The products and services
  • The market analysis
  • The strategy
  • The operations
  • The financial plan

Throughout these sections, you will seek to provide the reader with the details and context needed for them to form a view on whether or not your business plan is achievable and your forecast a realistic possibility.

Let's go through the content of each section in more detail!

1. The executive summary

The executive summary, the first section of your film production company's business plan, serves as an inviting snapshot of your entire plan, leaving readers eager to know more about your business.

To compose an effective executive summary, start with a concise introduction of your business, covering its name, concept, location, history, and unique aspects. Share insights about the services or products you intend to offer and your target customer base.

Subsequently, provide an overview of your film production company's addressable market, highlighting current trends and potential growth opportunities.

Then, present a summary of critical financial figures, such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.

You should then include a summary of your key financial figures such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.

Lastly, address any funding needs in the "ask" section of your executive summary.

2. The presentation of the company

As you build your film production company business plan, the second section deserves attention as it delves into the structure and ownership, location, and management team of your company.

In the structure and ownership part, you'll provide valuable insights into the legal structure of the business, the identities of the owners, and their respective investments and ownership stakes. This level of transparency is vital, particularly if you're seeking financing, as it clarifies which legal entity will receive the funds and who holds the reins of the business.

Moving to the location part, you'll offer a comprehensive view of the company's premises and articulate why this specific location is strategic for the business, emphasizing factors like catchment area, accessibility, and nearby amenities.

When describing the location of your film production company to a third party financier, you could emphasize the access to resources that the area provides. You might mention its close proximity to major airports, which could provide convenient access to cast and crew from many different locations. You could also focus on the infrastructure of the area, such as it's well-connected highway system and its access to reliable power and communication services. Additionally, you may want to mention the potential for local tax breaks or incentives to film in the area. Finally, you could point out the potential for a diverse range of filming locations and the availability of experienced production teams.

Lastly, you should introduce your esteemed management team. Provide a thorough explanation of each member's role, background, and extensive experience.

It's equally important to highlight any past successes the management team has achieved and underscore the duration they've been working together. This information will instil trust in potential lenders or investors, showcasing the strength and expertise of your leadership team and their ability to deliver the business plan.

3. The products and services section

The products and services section of your business plan should include a detailed description of the offerings that your company provides to its customers. 

For example, your film production company might offer pre-production services such as scriptwriting, storyboarding, and casting to help customers create the foundation of their project. Additionally, it might offer production services such as on-location shooting, set design, and equipment rental to help customers bring their vision to life. Finally, it might offer post-production services such as editing, color grading, and audio mixing to help customers polish their end product. In providing these services, your film production company can help customers bring their project from concept to completion.

When drafting this section, you should be precise about the categories of products or services you sell, the types of customers you are targeting and how customers can buy them.

4. The market analysis

When you present your market analysis in your film production company business plan, it's crucial to include detailed information about customers' demographics and segmentation, target market, competition, barriers to entry, and any relevant regulations.

The main objective of this section is to help the reader understand the size and attractiveness of the market while demonstrating your solid understanding of the industry.

Begin with the demographics and segmentation subsection, providing an overview of the addressable market for your film production company, the key trends in the marketplace, and introducing different customer segments along with their preferences in terms of purchasing habits and budgets.

Next, focus on your target market, zooming in on the specific customer segments your film production company aims to serve and explaining how your products and services fulfil their distinct needs.

For example, your target market might include people who attend film festivals. These individuals may be avid moviegoers who have a deep appreciation for quality films. They are likely to have disposable income to spend on movie tickets and merchandise.

Then proceed to the competition subsection, where you introduce your main competitors and highlight what sets you apart from them.

Finally, conclude your market analysis with an overview of the key regulations applicable to your film production company.

5. The strategy section

When crafting the strategy section of your business plan for your film production company, it's important to cover several key aspects, including your competitive edge, pricing strategy, sales & marketing plan, milestones, and risks and mitigants.

In the competitive edge subsection, clearly explain what sets your company apart from competitors. This is particularly critical if you're a startup, as you'll be trying to establish your presence in the marketplace among entrenched players.

The pricing strategy subsection should demonstrate how you aim to maintain profitability while offering competitive prices to your customers.

For the sales & marketing plan, outline how you plan to reach and acquire new customers, as well as retain existing ones through loyalty programs or special offers.

In the milestones subsection, detail what your company has achieved thus far and outline your primary objectives for the coming years by including specific dates for expected progress. This ensures everyone involved has clear expectations.

Lastly, in the risks and mitigants subsection, list the main risks that could potentially impact the execution of your plan. Explain the measures you've taken to minimize these risks. This is vital for investors or lenders to feel confident in supporting your venture - try to proactively address any objection they might have.

You may face financial risks with your film production company. You may face difficulty in securing adequate funding for the production, and could encounter unexpected expenses that could affect the budget. You may also face legal risks with your film production company. For example, you could find yourself in a dispute with a copyright holder over the use of copyrighted material, or you might face a lawsuit from someone who was injured during filming.

6. The operations section

In your business plan, it's also essential to provide a detailed overview of the operations of your film production company.

Start by covering your team, highlighting key roles and your recruitment plan to support the expected growth. Outline the qualifications and experience required for each role and your intended recruitment methods, whether through job boards, referrals, or headhunters.

Next, clearly state your film production company's operating hours, allowing the reader to assess staffing levels adequately. Additionally, mention any plans for varying opening times during peak seasons and how you'll handle customer queries outside normal operating hours.

Then, shift your focus to the key assets and intellectual property (IP) necessary for your business. If you rely on licenses, trademarks, physical structures like equipment or property, or lease agreements, make sure to include them in this section.

You may have key assets such as production equipment and intellectual property (IP) like scripts and storylines. For example, the production equipment could include cameras, lighting, and sound recording equipment, while the intellectual property could include the stories and characters developed for a particular film. These assets and IP could be used to create a unique and engaging film experience for viewers.

Lastly, include a list of suppliers you plan to work with, detailing their services and main commercial terms, such as price, payment terms, and contract duration. Investors are interested in understanding why you've chosen specific suppliers, which may be due to higher-quality products or established relationships from previous ventures.

7. The presentation of the financial plan

The financial plan section is where we will present the financial forecast we talked about earlier in this guide.

Now that you have a clear idea of what goes in your film production company business plan, let's look at the solutions you can use to draft yours.

What tool should I use to write my film production company's business plan?

In this section, we will be reviewing the two main solutions for creating a film production company business plan:

  • Using specialized online business plan software,
  • Outsourcing the plan to the business plan writer.

Using an online business plan software for your film production company's business plan

The modern and most efficient way to write a film production company business plan is to use business plan software .

There are several advantages to using specialized software:

  • You can easily create your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
  • You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
  • You can access a library of dozens of complete business plan samples and templates for inspiration
  • You get a professional business plan, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank or investors
  • You can easily track your actual financial performance against your financial forecast
  • You can create scenarios to stress test your forecast's main assumptions
  • You can easily update your forecast as time goes by to maintain visibility on future cash flows
  • You have a friendly support team on standby to assist you when you are stuck

If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try The Business Plan Shop for free by signing up here .

Hiring a business plan writer to write your film production company's business plan

Outsourcing your film production company business plan to a business plan writer can also be a viable option.

These writers possess valuable experience in crafting business plans and creating accurate financial forecasts. Additionally, enlisting their services can save you precious time, enabling you to concentrate on the day-to-day operations of your business.

It's important to be mindful, though, that hiring business plan writers comes with a cost. You'll be paying not just for their time but also for the software they use, and their profit margin.

Based on experience, a complete business plan usually requires a budget of at least £1.5k ($2.0k) excluding tax, and more if revisions are needed after initial meetings with lenders or investors - changes often arise following these discussions.

When seeking investment, be cautious about spending too much on consulting fees. Investors prefer their funds to contribute directly to business growth. Thus, the amount you spend on business plan writing services and other consulting services should be negligible compared to the amount you raise.

Another aspect to consider is that while you'll receive the output of the business plan, you usually won't own the actual document. It will be saved in the consultant's business plan software, which will make updating the plan challenging without retaining the consultant on a retainer.

Given these factors, it's essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing your film production company business plan to a business plan writer and decide what best suits your business's unique needs.

Why not create your film production company's business plan using Word or Excel?

Using Microsoft Excel and Word (or their Google, Apple, or open-source equivalents) to write a film production company business plan is a terrible idea.

For starters, creating an accurate and error-free financial forecast on Excel (or any spreadsheet) is very technical and requires both a strong grasp of accounting principles and solid skills in financial modelling.

As a result, it is unlikely anyone will trust your numbers unless - like us at The Business Plan Shop - you hold a degree in finance and accounting and have significant financial modelling experience in your past.

The second reason is that it is inefficient. Building forecasts on spreadsheets was the only option in the 1990s and early 2000s, nowadays technology has advanced and software can do it much faster and much more accurately.

And with the rise of AI, software is also becoming smarter at helping us detect mistakes in our forecasts and helping us analyse the numbers to make better decisions.

Also, using software makes it easy to compare actuals vs. forecasts and maintain our forecasts up to date to maintain visibility on future cash flows - as we discussed earlier in this guide - whereas this is a pain to do with a spreadsheet.

That's for the forecast, but what about the written part of my film production company business plan?

This part is less error-prone, but here also software brings tremendous gains in productivity:

  • Word processors don't include instructions and examples for each part of your business plan
  • Word processors don't update your numbers automatically when they change in your forecast
  • Word processors don't handle the formatting for you

Overall, while Word or Excel may be viable options for creating a film production company business plan for some entrepreneurs, it is by far not the best or most efficient solution.

  • Using business plan software is a modern and cost-effective way of writing and maintaining business plans.
  • A business plan is not a one-shot exercise as maintaining it current is the only way to keep visibility on your future cash flows.
  • A business plan has 2 main parts: a financial forecast outlining the funding requirements of your film production company and the expected growth, profits and cash flows for the next 3 to 5 years; and a written part which gives the reader the information needed to decide if they believe the forecast is achievable.

We hope that this in-depth guide met your expectations and that you now have a clear understanding of how to write your film production company business plan. Do not hesitate to contact our friendly team if you have questions additional questions we haven't addressed here.

Also on The Business Plan Shop

  • How to write a business plan to secure a bank loan?
  • Key steps to write a business plan?
  • Top mistakes to avoid in your business plan

Do you know entrepreneurs interested in starting or growing a film production company? Share this article with them!

Guillaume Le Brouster

Founder & CEO at The Business Plan Shop Ltd

Guillaume Le Brouster is a seasoned entrepreneur and financier.

Guillaume has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and has first-hand experience of starting, running, and growing a successful business.

Prior to being a business owner, Guillaume worked in investment banking and private equity, where he spent most of his time creating complex financial forecasts, writing business plans, and analysing financial statements to make financing and investment decisions.

Guillaume holds a Master's Degree in Finance from ESCP Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management from Paris Dauphine University.

Published on 11 Sep 2023 , last update on 24 Nov 2023 , as per our editorial standards .

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