It’s a tough world out there for indie filmmakers. For every career-making breakout hit, dozens of film languish in obscurity. Far more never see the light of day at all.
High as they are, the odds that your indie film will earn a respectable following aren’t insurmountable. Just remember not to put the cart before the horse — you can’t make your movie without financing, after all.
Here’s what you can do to attract investors to your indie film before, during, and after production.
1. Hit the Festival Circuit
Before you do anything else, hit the festival circuit. Nowhere else will you encounter a higher concentration of deep-pocketed folks willing to pony up for the right film; bulking up your contacts list with such people early on will make the rest of your job a whole lot easier.
You probably lack the time and resources to hit more than a handful of festivals throughout the year. Check out this, and choose wisely.
2. Hook Up With an Experienced Producer
You might meet him or her at one of the aforementioned film festivals, even. Wherever you find your experienced producer, you’ll need them to run point for you as you focus on the creative aspects of your project. Everyone knows that blockbusters like this one from David Mimran’s Mimran Schur Pictures don’t get made by themselves, but indie films are just as tricky to manage (and perhaps more so, when every dollar matters). You need to show prospective investors that your team has what it takes to bring your project across the finish line.
3. Build Out an Eye-Catching Web Presence
Yes, you can launch your marketing campaign before shooting.
These days, every indie film has a pro forma website. Often, what separates the innovative films from the merely creative ones is, well, an innovative web presence. This requires an entire package: social media accounts, viral videos, influencer campaigns, and more, all run through a professionally designed website. Remember, you’re not going to be able to afford airtime on major broadcast networks.
4. Invest in Guerrilla Marketing
The more creative your marketing efforts, the more likely you are to attract fickle investors’ attention. Targeted guerrilla marketing in key markets — principally New York and Los Angeles, and perhaps the Bay Area if you’re— is a great way to turn heads and build serious buzz.
Getting to “Yes” Takes Time
Don’t expect your first pitch to garner a “yes.” This just isn’t going to happen — or, rather, the chances of such an outcome are vanishingly small.
You’re probably already used to hearing “no,” but if not, now’s the time to get comfortable. It’s going to be a familiar refrain in the months and (perhaps) years ahead.
Don’t lose heart. If you follow the tips laid out here and listen to independent filmmakers who’ve found success before you, odds are good that things will break your way.
And if not? Well, you’ll have learned plenty along the way — the better to inform whatever comes next for you and your team.