ALTERNATIVE FUNDING INDUSTRY.
what we spent,” Durkin says. “This was because we had a distribution arm that knew what it was doing. Good distributors know the market and what will sell internationally.” He says it helps if you know how to make good commercial TV series. Moreover, films that sell well tend to be very different from passion projects. “Forget making something worthy about the environment,” he claims. “Nobody other than middle-class types really believe there’s a climate crisis and therefore they’re really not interested in snowflake histrionics. People want sports documentaries and films about Harry and Meghan. Sign up a star and you have a film that will sell.” ASKING FAVOURS For those struggling to secure a star, assuming you have enough cash to start filming, one option is to ask favours. That’s because, regardless of their status, actors and directors will sometimes be between roles. McNeilly says this is the ideal time to ask them to participate. “People are more accessible than you’d imagine,” he adds. “There are “There are a lot of people out there just waiting to be approached. You can attract established names – like actors who want to direct”
PEOPLE POWER After getting hold of the kit needed to make a film, you’ll need crew who can use it. You may be surprised at what people will do out of passion, if you can give them some ownership of the project
a lot of people out there waiting to be approached. It’s easy to think your way out of that and assume they’re not. Lots of people are between gigs and don’t know where the next job is coming from. You can attract established names – for example, actors who want to direct.” McNeilly made a short film called Lipstick , a psychological horror with Kevin McNally from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. “This has so far been accepted by 20 film festivals around the world,” he adds. “You can attract names if the project is interesting.” Wren concurs. “If you’ve got the kit, you need a director, DOP and a very good sound person,” he says. “It’s like the old collaborative thing – nobody owns this, we all own it. If anything happens it’s shared equally. There are so many frustrated creatives out there. People
often just want the opportunity to do something and don’t expect to get paid if there’s no budget. If you’re raking in thousands and not paying that’s different. We completely ran out of money and couldn’t finish the edit of The Man You’re Not , so Barry Ryan from the Format Factory took it to a friend at the BBC who finished editing the feature.” SOME ADVICE Wren explains how even if you do get public money, it comes with restrictions. “If they put money in, they want some say in how it happens,” he adds. “Or there are boxes you have to tick. There’s a great freedom in finding your own funding, but you don’t get all the nice toys.” Hobson agrees and says it’s the first time the team has done anything without being beholden to third parties. “I’m sure it doesn’t always work out like this and collaboration can be a fantastic thing, but in this case we feel we’ve created something special,” he adds. “We just have to learn all about distribution, tax rebates and financing.” Indeed, it’s worth speaking to professionals to find out about the financial implications and incentives available. Luke Savvas, tax partner at Buzzacott, says the growth of the British film industry has been fuelled by government incentives with generous tax credits and relief for investors in UK films. “This has led to an increase in successful actors and producers funding films themselves, or from investors in their network,” he says. For Durkin, there are several reasons to go it alone. “One: to prove you can make a film and advance your career. Two: passion projects won’t get made otherwise. Three: if you’re working with a good distributor. Finally, before worrying about how to raise the money to make a film, worry about how to make the money back once the film is made.” Now, go and make that film.
37. JANUARY 2023
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