How to Start a Movie Company?



Many people get into the film business wanting to become big-time Hollywood directors.  And while it’s good to be ambitious the fact of the matter is that very few people attain that level of success in the business.  However, starting your own film production company can be a surprisingly good startup business.

Film production is one of the few nationally subsidized media businesses in the United States.  Many states offer incentives in the form of large cash rebates for production money spent in that state.

If you are seriously interested in how to start your own business in film, it’s probably best to approach it from the angle of a small business.  Approaching your film production company as a small business means coming up with a business plan.  This means devising long-term and short-term goals as well as a strategy for achieving those goals.

How to Start Your Own Film Company?

Film production companies tend to be small businesses in every sense of the term.  They may consist of only three or four people working together, with or without an office for subsistence income with no benefits.  However once a film actually goes into production, those small businesses suddenly become much bigger.

A film in production means hundreds of employees, union contracts, and millions of dollars.  As a film production company, your goal is to go from small business to big business.

1. Business formation

To start a film production company you will need to incorporate or become an LLC.  This takes about two hours to do and requires that you fill out some forms.  Once you have incorporated you will need to come up with a script, either by writing it or finding one you want to produce.

2. Get a Script that you want to Produce

Once you have a script you need to construct a business plan around it.  Among other things, this involves creating a budget, identifying key casting choices, hiring a line producer, and devising a shooting schedule.

3. Create Your Business Plan for Your Script

Once you have a script you need to construct a business plan around it.  Among other things, this involves creating a budget, identifying key casting choices, hiring a line producer, and devising a shooting schedule.

4. Make your Film Pitch

After you have formulated your business plan you then need to present it to people who would be willing to fund your picture.  The amount of funding you need depends largely on the picture you hope to make.  This is why if you’re just starting out it may be a good idea to put the special effects-laden science fiction epic on the backburner and start with a character-driven piece that will rely more on acting and dialogue.

5. Find a film industry mentor

It’s hard to jump into the movie business without some guidance. To get off on the right track, find a mentor in the field who can help you navigate the potential pitfalls of the industry, someone you can go to with questions and will help you brainstorm ideas. If you don’t know anyone who could fit this role, ask around. Let your friends, family, and acquaintances know that you’d appreciate being connected to anyone they know in the film industry. Your school’s alumni office may be able to hook you up, as well.

6. Spread the word

Once you build up a decent resume of companies and individuals you’ve worked with (who will ideally provide good references), reach out again to everyone you know. Explain that you’re looking to move on to bigger projects. Start applying for the kinds of jobs you were too “green” to get in the beginning. Once you understand how to start up your own business in film, the opportunities are limitless.

Make no mistake starting a film production company is a challenge.  However, the rewards are potentially great and if you can actually succeed in getting your first film made it’s usually much easier to do the next one.

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