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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Secret to Finding Investors for our Indie Film(s)!

Hello, Sunshines!

Do you want to know the BIG secret to financing your indie project? Me, too!! So, come on you Crazy Hearts, as we figure this out together. Your perception of what you're doing is about to expand (if it doesn't, at least that sounded cool) 'cause I'm about to share with you a WEALTH of knowledge that'll hopefully take ALL of us indie filmmaking lovers there!

Over the last couple weeks I feel like I've had a string of SIGNS about the direction of our project, Lost In Sunshine, and connecting with like-minded folks in general. And that's what I want to share with you today, Sweets (I can never get away from these things, damn it).

With all the online stuff — social media (Facebook, twitter, etc), transmedia (not to be confused with transfat) and other networks I can't keep track of, I think it's important to explore IF/HOW we're really connected and what that means. So, if you're in it to win it, like Charlie Sheen, this post is FOR YOU! OK... bad example.

Recently, we were privileged to have a reputable marketing/distribution strategist comment on some of our LIS work. Ouch. That hurt. *Wipes dirt off pants.* One of the comments that stuck out to me was that Facebook was NOT a community. Could I have been wrong all this time? Were those interactive beings merely aliens disguised as humanoids responding to me? Where's my Aether Paranormal team when I need them? Joking aside, however, could this person be right? After all, that's what they do for a living. Could all these seemingly invested hours of what I thought was "connecting" with people, over our movie's message, just be meaningless in the grand scheme of making this film-dream a reality?

If online platfoms like Facebook are not considered an online "community" in the eyes of a specialist, then what is?

I felt frozen with confusion and frustration. But at least it gave me something to think about as I defrosted my dirty pants.

A good (film) friend called me out of the blue. He'd had a conversation with someone who's very successful in the film industry, who'd shared with him the secret to community building (and inevitably — financing a project) — get out there and network with the like-minded people who will vibe with what we're doing, support it (really support it!) by sharing our projects with others in their network(s). OK, you're pulling my leg... I thought we were doing that. But then again... I'm not even sure of what planet I'm on anymore! :)

A very good friend of ours, who's also a member of our LIS team gave us his unsolicited opinion, which really put everything into perspective (for me, at least). He believes that it's not a big time movie guy who'll invest in our project at all... but that it'll be a WOMAN, who connects with us personally, and believes in our talent, brains, story, team, and over-all message. Because quite frankly, I especially, don't have a proven track record, YET. I get that. I like that. I LOVE the idea.

So, I now had received one detailed email, one phone call, and one unsolicited opinion with basically the SAME message. Could it be a sign?

From these messages, it doesn't appear that financing our film(s) will happen from any online social hook up (although we never say NEVER!). Sure, the online networking part is great, useful, and at times — seems really wonderful & relevent, but if we're looking to finance our films (outside crowd-funding) then we need to be making real (hand shaking) contact, and not just from outter space (however, if an alien finances your film, I WANT TO KNOW!).

Here's a great, inspiring article by Donald Flaherty on that I feel best describes the intense longevity of the process we must endure if we wish to finance our passion projects.

If you live in Austin, Texas, here are a few women-oriented (sorry, guys!) networking sources to check out, thanks to my enthusiastic friend, whom I sooooo appreciate for this!

The secret to financing your film is that there is no darn secret! Follow these simple steps, and keep rockin' the frack on to your favorite tune (AKA your story/project/brain child).

1) Get your ingredients together, hot cakes! Unborn babies have to eat, too! Make sure your story is solid, and that you have a tight business plan with talent (on board) to boot! Do you have your script/info ready to hand out at all time on a USB flash drive (I'm getting mine ready this week!)? ;)

2) Love your (heart) song. Believe in what you're doing, because there are plenty of people out there who'll tell you the myriad of ways it can't be done.

3) Turn off your computers occasionally, and turn on your game (AKA social skills)! It's about continuously getting out there and connecting with folks who share your enthusiasm, passion (for life), and interests. Ask yourself, who's actually going to be watching this movie I'm making? Then go out there in the universe and find a way to find them!

Turns out, that may be what we've been missing. When's the last time you left your computer to socialize with a group of people your movie would intimately connect with?

That's what we're doing (more of) this year, and with all our friends for SXSW this week! Make any time the right time to get your in-person connection(s) on! Besides, there's no substitute for a real hug or hand shake.

Happy shaking! J


  1. Online networking can be a start of real-life relationship, but the problem with online relationship is that by itself, it is very difficult to create deep, invest-in-each-other relationship. The other danger of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc. is that you are at their mercy -- violate one of their codes of conduct unknowingly, and poof! They'll cancel your account and all the hardwork you invested in creating a community there will be gone. The trick is to use those places as a STARTING point to forge personal relationships.

    Your chance of success is directly connected to the number of real-life relationships you have with people who have faith in you. You do everything else, from writing a tight script to assembling a talented team to fostering online community, so that all of those things can add up to inspire faith in people who know you.

    I think you're on the right track. Go get'em, Jentri!

  2. Thank you, Ari! I so appreciate this response, and agree!

    After all this time, LIS (and its good people!) still excites & surprises me. That's how I know we'll bring it to the screen one day (hopefully sooner than later!).

    You're on the right track yourself, my friend. Thanks for keepin' it strong and real. That's where it's at, too.

    xo J