Can I Get Funding from Hollywood?

I’m a first time filmmaker with a killer script. I think I should get at least 3 million dollars from a producer or studio, what are my chances?

Hollywood doesn’t hand out money to people that are not in their circle. That’s a myth. Why so many filmmakers fall for that tale, makes me really mad!

John in Louisiana asks:

“I’m a first time filmmaker with a killer script. I think I should get at least 3 million dollars from a producer or studio, what are my chances?”

Real World Answer:

John you have a better chance of winning the lottery or getting struck by lightning. Seriously, getting money from Hollywood is almost impossible for an outsider.

We have had sit-downs with executives dozens of times and pitched our different business plans to them on several occasions. They are going to ask you three questions right after they tell you a joke and offer you coffee:

1. Where’s your business plan and what your R.O.I (or your return on investment)?

2. Who is your “A” List star (your name)?

3. And last, they will ask; what is your commitment to the project (or another words, How much MONEY do you have to put up)?

The Real-World answers are, that you need a professional business plan with sales projections. That will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 and take three months to complete.

You need a signed (letter of intent) or an L.O.I from a named actor or actress. If not an ‘A’ list actor a very high ‘B’ name. To get an L.O.I you need to work with the union and their agent. You also need a chunk of change ready to put into an ESCROW account to get that letter. Usually $50,000 is a good faith gesture.

You’ll need a sharp entertainment attorney, and that will cost you a nice amount as well. If that’s not enough, then they drop the bomb on you. They’ll want to know how much ‘Skin’ you have in the game, what are you bringing to the table.

Good scripts are a dime a dozen. They hear that 100 times a day. They want to know that you have access to money to secure financing. Finance companies ask for 20% upfront. One of our EP’s almost had mortgage his house on a $300,000 budget to get funding. So the real answer is, it will NEVER HAPPEN! That’s the biggest Hollywood lie going. They only fund their own people and projects. In the real world to get three million dollars you would need have around $600,000 lying around in the bank.

Hollywood doesn’t hand out money to people that are not in their circle. That’s a myth. Why so many filmmakers fall for that tale, makes me really mad! Maybe if you are lucky enough win the Sundance Film Festival you might get a meeting with them. There again, the average film submitted to Sundance cost around one million dollars to make. Use what money you have and go make your film. Filmmaking is a business and you have to think of it that way.

Thanks for the question, John!

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I’m a first time filmmaker with a killer script. I think I should get at least 3 million dollars from a producer or studio, what are my chances?