Let’s be honest, many of us have probably considered creating videos for the purpose of posting on social media or even YouTube? No, well maybe not, so here is my top tips for starting a production company.
These days it’s never been easier to make a film or production. Mobile phones have great photo and video quality now and with the next generation of phones such as the Huawei P20 Pro with its 40MP RGB camera and 960fps slow motion 720p video these are more than good enough to start with! Use that phone you have in your pocket, download a few film making apps and make something. Whether it is a day out at a racetrack, or going for a walk – make something from it. Call this stage – proof of concept. Next step is starting your own production company which will formulise your career.
It is simply a matter of time and the production bug will have you. This really is a critical step and not one that should be missed. You should stop and have some reflection time as to the reasons why you want to make movies on a more serious level. Is it to earn a living? Be an influencer? Or to be cool? Personally, I don’t think it matters what your reasons are, I just think you should choose one. Step back and make a plan to formalise your work in order to monetise it.
Set Up Your Production Company As A Legal Entity
This is a business just like any other business, therefore it isn’t exempt or gets special treatment because it is a production company. There isn’t a specific legal structure that I’d suggest that you take either, this is just my opinion. Note that there are many different options here when it comes to the legal structure so it is best to get some advice from a lawyer, accountant and tax advisor so that you can maximise the tax advantages.
In the UK it is so straightforward to set up a company:
- Choose a name, but check in Google and IMDB and Companies House to make sure no one else has taken it already. If they have done, then unfortunately you’ll need to come up with an alternative name.
- Register and form the company at Companies House. This is so easy to do now, but if you need advice there are plenty of courses out there to handle it for you.
- Register your business using the .gov website for tax purposes.
- Set up a business account – most in the UK offer a free banking period so it’s worthwhile since they don’t let you use your personal account (it gets flagged after a couple of months).
- Set up your website – make sure you have the URL of your name/company name – check the Whois.com database for information.
- Next – register all your social media profiles – that includes:
Create A Business Plan for Your Production Company
Although there are no guarantees in business, a business with a solid plan has more chance of succeeding than one without. Decide what it is that you are wanting to do and how you are going to do so. Get your team together, make a budget and also a schedule. You need to know who is going to fund it and how this money will get returned to investors.
Raise some production money for your first film
Now that you have everything set up and are armed with a business plan, it’s time to get the money to make your dream come true.
There are many different methods of raising money and that all depends on your business plan.
Here are some ideas:
- Apply for government funding such as the UK’s BFI
- Find an angel investor – there are a few websites that are well known for this
- Use a crowd funding platform
- See if you can get a brand deal (e.g. product placement)
- Consider a co-production with a production company in a different country – such as this Production House Lebanon
- Take your business plan to one of the bigger well known production companies or studios
Your Production Company Team
All production companies have 4 key people in a team. Although when starting a production company you will likely cover all these key roles initially. Once you grow and develop and as your social media profiles kick into gear you will get swamped with work and you’ll need help.
Roles you will need:
- Post Production
- Sales & Distribution
Production Film Distribution
This is another key area as you need to have distribution strategy, without one, it won’t get seen. The traditional routes still exist, but are harder to find due to the advances in technology and the internet – almost anyone can claim to market a production these days.
Making movies has never been easier, but distribution is becoming increasingly more difficult.
In summary, focus your efforts on the distribution, because if you nail this, the rest will be history as they say.