what to do when investor is interested in documentary

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    • #49088

      im working on a doc and someone is interested in investing in it..although he has made it clear he wants something in exchange.. as much as i need the extra financial assistance…but i want to be careful i dont sell out my rights to the film..i just want to know the right kind of procedures for things like this…the paper work..whether i have to hire a lawyer or a signed wriiten agreement is fine…

      im thinking of offering him coproducer credits if he can raise anything from 20%of budget but does that mean he also has rights to 20%of all proceedings from the doc

      just need some tips on this..tanxxx

    • #201142


      Get an attorney. Primarily one who either specializes in entertainment law/contracts. At the very least, consult a reputable Contract Specialist to help walk you through the lingo of contract negotiations. Usually, the amount an investor raises is weighed against how much you the filmmaker are putting into the film (i.e., money and equipment resources just to name a few.) The more the investor puts up versus what you put in, the higher their percentage for contracted reimbursement / rights, etc. go.

      Ideally, you want to be able to put up 50% of the project with a combo of money and resources before you start looking for investment. That way, the other half of the project is what you’ll use to negotiate points with. However, as an indie so high a percentage may not be possible. Just keep in mind that the more you take from investors for your project, the more they’ll want to gain a return and profit for their assistance.

      Rightfully so, but don’t in your zeal to get your film made put yourself in a position where you end up giving so much on the front-end to investors that you can’t negotiate an equitable deal for yourself on the back-end (where all the potential profits will be made.) If you see the potential of losing more than you’re comfortable with, you may want to restructure your project for much less.

      The key to holding rights is to have as much of the film in the can or made as possible to show investors. Few if any investors want to come into a project from scratch. The more development you can show, the more enthused they’ll be to put up money or resources. Also, work it out in no uncertain terms what you and the investor gets on both the front and back-ends (film production/completion and distribution), including credits and where they go in the agreed order. Like I said, get a lawyer.

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