top of page
The Independent Filmmaker's Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Investors (Second Edition)


Filmmakers need more than heart, talent and desire to realize their dreams: they need production capital.  Finding willing investors can be the most difficult step in an aspiring filmmaker's pursuit of higher-budget, entertaining motion pictures.  This practical guide provides detailed instructions on preparing the most important tool for recruiting investors, a persuasive business plan.  Included in this new edition are suggested ways to approach potential investors, lists of various financial sources available to Hollywood productions, and tips on spotting unscrupulous financiers.  Interviews with key Hollywood producers offer real-world insight.


Foreword by Morris Ruskin, CEO of Shoreline Entertainment.

Part One: Funding The Film


"With money, you can call the very gods to help.
Without it, not a single man."

-- Chinese Proverb

Taking The Next Step
Understanding your position in the grand scheme of things.

Finding the various types and dealing with them.

Due Diligence
Due diligence isn't just for investors--it's also for filmmakers at every step of the production process.

Your Executive Summary
You can't judge a book by it's cover--or can you?

Your Production Company
Time to gather your production team, your allies and an extensive support network.

The Movie Projects
This is what all the fuss is about--making your movie(s)!

The Movie Industry
The bottom line: making movies is a business.

The Movie Market
It's as easy to understand as selling apples, oranges and bananas.

Movie Distribution
A constantly changing landscape in today's digital world of content delivery.

The Investor's Plan
Now let's get the money back with a profit!

Part Two: Expert Advice

Featuring exclusive interviews with the following industry executives and veteran producers:

Gerald R. Molen

Producer of more than 20 films, including Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Minority Report, Twister, Casper, Hook, Days of Thunder, and Rain Man.

"It is always about the money, unless you are lucky enough to get a major bankable star or filmmaker, and even then you must successfully find the financial fit."

Donald Kushner

Producer of more than 100 films, including Tron (1982), Tron: Legacy (2010), and Monster (Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci).

"The birth of each picture is unique in its own way.  It is always amazing when a movie actually gets made."

Pen Densham

Writer, director and producer of more than 30 films and hundreds of television episodes, including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Backdraft, Poltergeist: The Legacy and The Twilight Zone.

"Your mission as an artist is to prove to the financiers that what you've got makes viable sense in an economic form, and gives them the best chance of seeing a return on their investment."

Morris Ruskin

Producer of more than 50 films, including Glengarry Glen Ross, Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, Price of Glory and The Signal.

"Investors want to know that you have a sensible plan, that you are working with experienced people, that your film will be finished and be sold around the world."

Judd Payne

Producer of over a dozen films, including Passengers (Anne Hathaway, Patrick Wilson) and Southland Tales (Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar).

"You have to network to open these doors."

David Rimawi & David Michael Latt

Producers of more than 100 films, including Z-Nation, Sharknado, Battle of Los Angeles, MegaFault and Little Dead Rotting Hood.

"The money source is going to come from people that you know, parties that you go to, friends you're introduced to.  It's definitely where you least expect it."

Kevin Tenney

Writer-director of over a dozen films, including Witchboard, Night of the Demons, Tick Tock, Brain Dead and Bigfoot.

"Financing is everything.  Without the money, nothing else can move forward."

Jordan Walker-Pearlman

Writer-director-producer of The Visit and Constellation.

"The point of the financing is not the money itself, but the movie that results from it."

Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat

Writer-director-producer of Master Harold and the Boys, Confessions of a Gambler and Skeem.

"I look at a script, and the first question I ask is, What is the script worth to the market?  What can my investors expect to see in sales from this film?"

Gregorio Gonzalez

Producer of The Maid, Roman's Circuit and Thursday Till Sunday.

"Lesson number one: You don't start the shoot until all the money is sitting in the account."

Jeffrey Hardy

President of FilmProfit, LLC.

"It is paramount that one have a business plan.  I like that you feather apart the thought of a business plan as a strategy, from the stack of paper some desperate people feel they are looking for."

Mark Holdom

Producer of Blue Hill Avenue, and international production and finance consultant.

"I believe that you can learn from other people's experiences, and I believe that research is one of our most valuable resources."


280 pages ▪ Softcover (7 x 10) ▪ 2012

68 photos, interviews, graphics, artwork, appendices, index

McFarland Publishers, Inc.
ISBN 978-0-7864-6285-8 ▪ Ebook ISBN 978-0-7864-9021-9

bottom of page