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


Banks, financiers and private investors did not get rich and powerful by giving their money away.  So exactly who do you go to for financing to help fund your movie?  What do you show them?  When do you approach them?  Where do you find them? Why should investors listen to you?  And once you have their attention, how do you convince them to invest in your project?


Who, what, when, where, why and how?  It is the answers to these fundamental questions that are the key to taking the next step and finding success in one of the most competitive, creative and luxurious industries in the world.


This book not only shows you step-by-step how to prepare a formal manuscript that will show investors you are serious about your dreams and plans of action, it also addresses real-world issues straight from the front-lines of the world of investments and independent motion picture production.


All the information in Part One of the book is supported by extensive interviews with key Hollywood filmmakers and producers in Part Two.


Topics discussed in Part One of the book include:


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
Your investors were good enough to fund your project--now let's get their money back with a profit on top!

Part Two: Expert Advice


Nothing beats good advice like a seasoned professional speaking from true and tried practical experience.  The Independent Filmmaker's Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Investors (Second Edition) interviewed 12 such individuals in Part Two of the manuscript (scroll down) to support the information found in Part One.  These filmmakers and producers are the real deal. If you're an avid moviegoer, you will definitely recognize their movies.  Most have produced or directed a slew of blockbuster and award-winning films.  Like hardened battlefield warriors, they speak with authority on a subject they have come to know all too well.

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 Michael Latt & David Rimawi

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

Copyright Gabriel Campisi.  All Rights Reserved.