...Famous Film Financing Stories
Many of the world's most famous film makers did not use traditional film financing methods or film investors, nor did they make their most famous films at the beginning of their careers. Here are some famous film maker interviews and stories to inspire you and let you know even the most famous film makers have been there before.
Steven Spielberg produced 3 films (I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Used Cars, Continental Divide) before he produced E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. He also directed over 10 movies, along with many television shows, before he directed Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Lee Daniels, Precious. Think you have it rough? Lee Daniels is known for producing controversial films, such as The Woodsman” starring Kevin Bacon as a convicted sex offender and Monster’s Ball, a melodrama about bigotry and interracial love in the South. The first film he directed, Shadowboxer, which he also produced, has a loony premise: a hit man having an affair with his dying stepmother and raising a child together.
When figuring out the film financing, Daniels had to face that Shadowboxer hadn’t done so well. “It was very, very hard to get financing for Precious. All the studios said no. They didn’t want to make a film about a 350-pound black girl who is abused. Everybody kept saying no. My whole life was no. It was just a bunch of nos.”
Eventually, Daniels found independent financing. For Shadowboxer, he found a “ rich man in Philadelphia who paid for the movie, God bless him.” For Precious, Daniels raised the initial $8 million from Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, who live in Denver.
Source and Full Article, New York Times.
Kevin Smith, Clerks
How did you raise the money for Clerks?
Over the previous few years a friend of mine, Brian, and myself had this running competition to get as many credit cards as possible; it's one of those things you do when you are bored... I figured we can make this movie for 25 thousand dollars and I have enough room on my credit cards to do that. So let's just shoot and start cutting it, and when we hit 25 thousand we start worrying. Clerks initial film financing was $27,000, before the soundtrack was added.
Source: Independent Feature Film Production by Gregory Goodell
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George Lucas made five, mostly unheard of, short films, before he made a 15 minute science fiction short, Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB. He won a prize, along with a scholarship to work with Francis Ford Coppola at Warner Brothers, when they formed their own company and made the feature length version of THX 1138. This helped him get film financing for American Graffiti. The success of American Graffiti helped finance Star Wars. Today, George Lucas is the most financially successful independent filmmaker in the world.
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