This is one of the questions being asked. Commercials are the backbone of the money used to license shows or develop content, but what if you don’t have a broadcast deal yet? Where does the money come from?
Investors, co-production, outright sale of an IP (intellectual property, for those not in the know) and begging borrowing and stealing to get your production out there.
Everyone asks me, “Do you have investors” when I am looking for co-production partners. One person asked me three times if I could raise $1.5 million. I said that I might trip over it when I step out of my office. What in the world was he asking for with this question?
I have a client with some adorable properties and she had interest from an overseas company to help her with the pilot and become a partner. She had been dealing with them for some time and she asked that I step in since she was new to this game. During the interminable conversation on Skype the conversation was redirected from the property in question and I was asked if I could find them the money. It appears, the company had invested in lots of pilots of properties that have not succeeded yet. They are a solid company with a good amount of service work to support them, but they had over invested in failing ideas. Now they were taking only two properties each year to invest in, and my client’s property would be considered for the 2011 budget, as it was considered for the 2010 budget.
What I found interesting was we did not do a lot of talking about distribution. Distribution is the key to any production or co-production. This studio had problems with pre-sales, which they are attempting on their own. A sales agent or distributor would have been a good idea for them in the past. I have seen overseas studios fail miserably because they thought they could create, produce and distribute. But not being part of a major media territory, they could not get traction. This seems to be the case here.
Never was I asked about our limited distribution agreement with a small but reputable distributor. This could have been the key. The whole focus was on whether I could help sell the show to the networks on my own and if I could personally raise the funding. I think I will plant a money tree and see what happens.
Needless to say, there is little activity with this studio and this deal at this time. We will see.