How to start film production company?

how to start a film production company

There are a lot of people who are working in the film production field for ages. For a new Startup as a company, you cannot simply grab your camera and to shoot. It may help you in the beginning but in the long run, you need a strategy and a plan to create your company. It is necessary to sustain in a market with a lot of creative competitors. You need a real team, a name, finance, and most importantly clients. We have gathered a few steps about how to start film production company with minimum risks factors.

When students graduate from art colleges the first question that come in mind is how to how to start film production company. So, here is a complete guide on it.

Start film production company by following these 9 steps: STEP 1: Plan your Business. STEP 2: Form a legal entity. STEP 3: Register for taxes. STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card. STEP 5: Set up business accounting. STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses. STEP 7: Get Business Insurance.

1.   Business Plan

For a perfect business plan, you need to clear up your mind about what you wanted to do under your company’s umbrella. Right down the ideas as it will help you to maintain your structure neat and nice. Initially, you can prepare a document to present it to your potential advisors, investors, or event clients whom you can work with to start your company. Documented business plans always give a great impact on people and convince them to trust you and invest in your new build company. This practice is a good start for you.

Expenses

How much budget do you have to start your business? Where and on what things do you require money? How much cost is required to buy the necessities to start your company? These are the initial questions to ask when you calculate the initial expenditure to start any new Startup or a company. The easiest way to do it is to break it down and assign an estimated budget for it like:

Workspace: For a film production company, you need a physical place for the setup. A studio, a hall, or an office with a big conference room that can be converted into a studio can work for you initially. First, you need a space where you can set up your equipment and accommodate your team for client dealing, etc.

Production equipment or Gear: To produce a film you need professional gear for everything including lights, camera, props, mics, booms, etc. all the equipment can be available on a lease if you do not want to buy initially. Keep that budget aside.

Crew or employees: People who will work with you should get their salaries on time, keep their budget aside in advance.  

Ongoing Expenses: It includes the expenses you need while running your company. Make sure you mention all your expenses including the travel in your quotation given to the client. 

Research for Target market

There are two types of market research you need to do firsthand. First, you need to research across the industry. What are your skills, your preferences, or what kind of potential clients do you have in the specific area you are looking into? Many companies give video production facilities along with other services like SEO, web designing, etc., now is it good enough for you to start film production company.

Secondly, the film is to be produced for the audience or viewers – that are your potential customers. The demographics for your viewers to be in the future are important to understand before the beginning of any project. This will help you to secure your budget for your writer, director, production of the project, venues for the shoot, etc. also you need to identify the potential outlets or platforms where you need to showcase your final product. 

Name of your company

Choosing a perfect name for your company that reflects your idea behind it is very important. You need a unique name that is not pre-registered in your state. finalize your name and trademark it for your company instantly so no one can copy your name or logo you made for your company.

Finances

It is important to describe how the company will generate revenue. Films generate revenue from multiple platforms like box office sales, DVD sales, Streaming services on different mediums, product placements, or even through merchandising of the film. You need a proper strategy for your pricing your film works properly.

Profit margin

The production of film acquires many variables like locations, areas of specialty, the reputation of the company, talent work in your film, and so on. Director is an important person in the production process and got paid the highest as the core responsibility lies on him. All the salaries need to accommodate from your profit that you do not need to invest in them apart from the company expense. While setting up your business, start with the local clients, and grab the big one with upgrading your portfolio. In that case, you will make a niche in the market.

2.   Legal entity

The legal entity for your company or business is very important as it helps you to prevent liabilities against petition or company is sued by someone. To secure yourself and your company legally and defining your taxes in the state you need the right type of company that suits your company structure:

Type of the Company

There are different types of companies according to the structure which needs to be classified in the early stages. Here are a few options that can be helpful for you to decide which one suits you the most:

Limited Liability Company – LLC: this structure of a company is a hybrid type in terms of legal structure in which there is limited liability features are there in corporation and tax efficiencies is flexible in partnership. The owner of the company is called a member in LLC. Member can be a single person, two or more than two persons, other LLCs, or even corporations. It depends on how much people are getting together to formulate the structure of the company.

Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest structure for a Startup and very commonly adopted.  It is an unincorporated business that is owned by a single individual without any distinction between the business and the owner.

Cooperative: This type of business or the organization is owned by and operated by the people who got the benefit from it. The earning and profits are distributed among the members, or user-owners, generated by the company.

Corporation – C Corp: This type of business has an independent legal entity that is owned by its shareholders. This makes the corporation legally liable for the actions for the business incurs not the shareholders who own it.

Partnership: In this type of company, a single business is owned or shared between two or more people. Each individual needs to contribute to all the aspects of the company including property, skill, money, or labor. In return from business, each one got the share from the profit or the loss. Percentage in partnership is also considered, so the contribution and share in profit or loss are divided accordingly.

3.   Taxes and bank account for transactions

Keep your finances clean and clear. Setup your taxes according to your company’s structure. Get a bank account for your company and use it for money matters. The transaction and money matters via your company’s account will be helpful to maintain your bank statement. Do not use it for personal expenses. Keep it dedicated to your company matters.

4.   Permissions and licenses as needed

For film productions, you need multiple permits and licenses for the shoot. Do not leave them unseen as they can end up in heavy fines which is not good for your business. Keep the permissions and licenses requirements checked from the local and state. Certificate of Occupancy is also required for the locations where you need to shoot your film as film required multiple locations for different scenes. Even you are purchasing the location instead of getting it on the lease, you still need CO from the authorities according to the zone of the location.  

5.   Web presences

Now the medium of entertainment is shifted to digital media. You need to make a vital presence on the internet to show your credibility. It will help you in two ways, first you can gather your targeted audiences from around the world, second you can get your clients by displaying your work and experience on the internet. For that, you need a good and creative website. Link it up with other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. keep your platforms updates, share your work, share your latest projects – this will not only help you to keep your audience engaged, but also grab new customers for you along with the old once.

6.   Build a team

In the wake of how to start film production company, you need a strong filmmaking team that will work with you for a long-term period. Initially, you can perform some of the tasks by yourself, but once your company starts to grow, you need an individual on every role you assigned important for the company. The following are the key teammates you need:

Head of Productions: The person is responsible to make sure the budget and time management for the completion of the film on time.

Head of Development: The person is responsible for the scripts and their finalization with the writer and director.

Head of Post-Production: The person is responsible for all the tasks after the submission of the footage to create the film in the editing phase. He will have the list of deliverables required for the film are met on time and perfection.

Read more: How to become a film producer?

Head of Sales: The person is responsible for the distribution and funds related matters of the production company