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What Should Be on a Film Prospectus

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011

A prospectus is designed to help get you independent financing, so there are certain things that should be included.

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    Limited Partners

    When you are trying to find funding for your large digital video film you are likely going to talk to “limited partners." What this means is that the only risk that they take is in the amount they give, not anything after the fact. To propose to them you are likely going to need to present a full prospectus.

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    Film Info

    A prospectus contains what an investor is going to need to know about the film so that they are aware of its money making potential. The first thing you need to explain to them is all of the elements of the film that will make it a successful artistic endeavor. Give a synopsis and sample of the screenplay that will give them a general idea of what the film is about. Tell them who is going to perform in it, who the director and other above the line positions will be, and where you would like to shoot it.

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    Selling Points

    The investors are going to want to know why this film will be successful, so you should be ready to tell them. Write up a document that explains all of the reasons an audience will go see this. It could be a genre specific scenario or just a story that is attractive to most people. Celebrities, representations of current a cultural phenomenon, and special effects all play into this. Tell them why this film will stand up in the marketplace above similar films.

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    Budget

    A financial document is central to the prospectus because these are the people who may be funding the project. The entire budget broken down is a good thing to go with, including the salaries of who is involved and the cost of equipment. It would be best to compose the price per average day of shooting coupled with the number of shooting days. Remember, the shorter the production period the better..

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    Cast and Crew Background Info

    Along with the budget you need to show that the people involved are up to the task. Attach select resumes of the important performers and crewmembers. This will show that they are entrusting their money with professionals who are dedicated to showing them returns.

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    Letters of Recomendation

    One of the best things that you can show a financier are recommendations from distribution conglomerates. Often times you can go to a distributor and explain the project to them, seeing if they would be interested upon its completion. If so, they then can write a letter for you to take to the possible financiers. It may also help to have past distributors or financiers write letters in your favor.

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    Explaing the Project

    The point of the prospectus is not to be an all-encompassing document about your film, but instead to tell them why it is a bankable commodity. If you can vocalize this sentiment well then you are in good shape when it comes to the meeting.