Nuts, bolts, hot tips, and road-tested information from Holly Million for indie filmmakers raising money

Hello, Greg Kinnear? Are You Out There?

A while back, I posted a diary about the feature narrative “Nominated” that I have signed on to produce for director Dan Pavlik. “Nominated” tells the story of former child-star Mickey Monroe, who wakes up hung-over, in denial, and nominated for an Academy Award. The question is, can Mickey hold it together until Oscar night, or will he self-destruct in one spectacular grand finale? Dan has written a killer screenplay, one in fact that was a finalist for last year’s Nicholl Fellowship. This screenplay has box office potential written all over it. There are just two eensy, weensy things that are keeping us from laughing all the way to the bank.

Like first off, the economy. Last year when we concocted our first plan for raising the money for “Nominated,” we were looking at a $2 million budget on the top end, a $500K budget on the low end. We sipped our Eric Ross Pinot Noir and fantasized about equity finance. I started working my network for leads for investors interested in feature-length narrative films with potential commercial viability. And then the financial world melted down in a giant paroxysm not seen since Sodom and Gomorra bit it. With it, our dreams of big investment pretty much fizzled. Now we slug back Mad Dog and wrack our brains for new ways to scratch for cash.

Fortunately, we entered into the whole process with our eyes wide open. After all, the guys with the big, fat checkbooks aren’t exactly standing on every corner, even in a jamming economy. Plan A was equity finance. There’s also Plan B, which would require raising $500,000 in donations to the film through a fiscal sponsor or by selling shares in the film through an LLC structure. But wait, there is also a Plan C, which is our worst-case scenario. In that case, we would raise around $100,000 from friends, family, and our network to make an ultra-low-budget flick. Fortunately, Dan Pavlik is one of the most resourceful people on God’s green Earth. He wrote his script in such a way to mitigate the need for fancy locations, props, and other expensive resources. We could do it on a shoestring if we needed to. But we would rather not.

And that brings us to the second thing that is keeping us from laughing all the way to the bank. And his name is Greg Kinnear. When we were hatching those plans, we made a wish-list of potential actors for the main roles in the film. At this juncture, we brought stellar Bay Area casting agent Nina Henninger on board to help us navigate these shark-infested waters. For the part of Mickey, one stand-out was Greg Kinnear. Dan knows someone who knows Mr. Kinnear, and this Mr. X sent the screenplay to Mr. Kinnear’s office for his perusal. Well….we’re waiting. If Mr. Kinnear says yes, then equity finance may still be an option for us. If he says no, we have another local actor ready to step in. But Kinnear is a name that attracts money the way a navy-blue peacoat attracts white cat hair. Of course, there’s always that Catch-22 of narrative features — the financiers want to know what A-list actor is attached before they commit. The actor wants to know if you have financing before he commits. How do we play this back-and-forth game? With a helluva lot of finesse. Let’s start somewhere. How about Greg Kinnear? We know he has the screenplay in his hands. But has he read it? Is he going to read it? Today? Next week? Hello?

Mr. Kinnear, if you’re reading this, can you please get back to us? Our funding depends on you.

About the author

Have a project you want someone to manage? Have a job that needs to be done professionally, on time, and under budget? That is what I do. I am “The Super Producer.” I take ideas and make them real. My services support fundraising, films, events, publications, and organizations. I assess the situation, prepare the plan, design the fundraising, hire the team, administer the budget, manage the timeline, and guide the project to successful completion. Put me in charge of your project. – See more at: http://hollymillion.com

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