New Filmmakers Can Monetize Their Films Before Production Begins

7 min read

Sell Access Not Awareness

Offer ego-boosting credits. You need funds flowing in from enthusiastic backers immediately to be a part of your film project, because, trying to make money from a film after post-production is the equivalent of buying several thousand dollars worth of lottery tickets and hoping for the best.

With a mixture of some quid pro quo and minor ingenuity, your movie can be in the black with all expenses paid before shooting begins. Hell, it might even turn a profit before anyone even sees it.

To give you insight into what real money-raising looks like, I’ve listed the fastest ROI strategies for filmmakers to monetize their projects before a single frame is captured. From unconventional campaigns to securing lucrative distribution deals in advance, let’s get into how savvy filmmakers are reshaping the financing landscape.

Go From Idea To Poster First!

Before you work on a production budget or even raise funds, you have to sell the idea of your movie, and without a movie poster, you can’t sell that idea to anyone, not even yourself. I don’t care if you hire someone from Fiverr or acquire a Hollywood professional.

Your poster needs to stand out among others and wow fans and potential partners. Study movie posters from your genre with the highest-grossing box office income, and make sure your graphic designer follows the visual formula precisely.

Psychologically, people will see the poster as a genuine representation of what you are putting together. The actor’s faces might change later on depending on how much money you raise or their availability, but your movie poster will always have that emotional appeal that makes people want to attach themselves to your project.

Sell Ego-Boosting Credits

I understand that platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe have revolutionized the way filmmakers raise funds for their projects, but most filmmakers do a poor job of offering a viable reward, and you need hundreds of followers to fund you on these platforms to move the needle.

By creating direct and compelling campaigns that offer producer credits, filmmakers can attract backers who are willing to contribute an exorbitant amount financially in exchange for the exclusive reward of seeing their name on movie posters, on-set chairs, and end credits of your film.

Here are some film credits you can offer:

  • Field Producer
  • Company Producer
  • Associate Producer
  • Consulting Producer
  • Executive Producer

To be clear, you are not selling an actual position to someone who might get in the way of production, you are selling an association with your project. You can list at least 2 producers for each title in your film, and each one can contribute hundreds to thousands of dollars to help produce your film. Make sure you offer on-set days to meet and take pictures with the cast and crew. A well-executed credit campaign not only provides quick financial support but also helps to build a dedicated fan base for the project.

Pre-Selling Distribution Rights With D-List Actors

This used to be a big thing in the 1980s and 1990s, but you rarely see these deals nowadays unless you sign a decent D-list or a very good F-list actor like Massi Furlan who is credited with being the only actor that kills Dwayne Johnson in a movie (Jumanji). …and if you’re brave enough to put Amanda Bynes in your movie, I promise you you will get people investing in a that train wreck.

So let’s get into it. Before a single frame is shot, filmmakers can approach distributors, streaming platforms, or production companies and negotiate pre-sale agreements for the distribution rights to their films.

These deals provide upfront cash or financing in exchange for exclusive rights to distribute the film in specific territories or markets. Get in touch with a reputable film sales agent to help you put a package together.

Securing pre-sales not only generates revenue but also validates the commercial potential of the project, making it more attractive to investors and other stakeholders.

Merchandise Revenue

The Producers of St. Gabriel sold over $3,200 worth of posters for their movie to fans before they started their first day of shooting, covering the cost of hotel and motel stays for the actors and crew on location.

Filmmakers can leverage online platforms to monetize their content through digital downloads, streaming services, and merchandise sales. By building an online presence through social media, websites, and e-commerce platforms, filmmakers can directly engage with their audience and offer exclusive content, merchandise, or experiences in exchange for financial support.

Additionally, platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Patreon provide opportunities for creators to monetize their content through advertising, subscriptions, or fan contributions.

Branded Content and Product Placement

Strategic partnerships with brands and companies can provide filmmakers with additional funding and resources for their projects. By integrating branded content or product placement into the narrative, filmmakers can generate revenue while maintaining creative control over their vision.

From featuring recognizable products in key scenes to incorporating sponsored content within the story, these partnerships offer a mutually beneficial opportunity for both the filmmaker and the brand to reach their target audiences.

A major resource for filmmakers is the Association of Entertainment Marketing Professionals website, which lists marketing companies representing top brands. Prefer direct contact? Try partnering with local companies eager to collaborate, especially if you’re filming on location.

Offer Up To 70% In Points

Offering points to investors with film credit in your movie means granting them a percentage of the film’s profits, creating even more of an incentive for their financial support. This practice is crucial, especially for first-time filmmakers, as it demonstrates a willingness to share the potential success of the project.

By offering a generous share of the profits, you not only attract investors who might be wary of the risks associated with a debut film but also show your commitment to a collaborative financial arrangement. This can help build trust and encourage more substantial investments, ensuring you have the necessary resources to bring your vision to life.

Licensing Intellectual Property

If the film is based on existing intellectual property such as a novel, comic book, or video game, filmmakers can negotiate licensing deals with the rights holders to adapt the material for the screen.

By securing the rights to beloved characters or storylines, filmmakers can tap into existing fan bases and generate buzz for the project before production begins. Additionally, licensing agreements may include upfront payments or royalties based on the success of the film, providing a source of revenue even before it hits theaters.

While securing funding for a film project may seem like a daunting task, filmmakers can adopt a proactive approach by exploring innovative strategies to monetize their films before production begins.

By leveraging crowdfunding campaigns, pre-selling distribution rights, forging investor partnerships, integrating branded content, licensing intellectual property, and tapping into digital revenue streams, filmmakers can not only finance their projects but also build momentum, engage with their audience, and pave the way for a successful and profitable release.

With creativity, perseverance, and strategic planning, filmmakers can turn their passion projects into lucrative opportunities for financial success.

Armand Lucas

I write for Millennial Entrepreneur as a serial entrepreneur myself in several ventures. My goal in writing is to teach new and established entrepreneurs that life is not about becoming rich; it's about creating the time and space to enrich one's life.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours