According to indie superproducer Ted Hope (now the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society), Staged Financing could act as a solution for a number of issues with film financing, including diversifying the creative class, putting quality over risk mitigation, and incentivizing creators throughout the entire filmmaking process. But what exactly is "staged financing," and how could it "save indie film?"
On his site Truly Free Film, Ted argues convincingly in favor of staged financing, but we reached out to first clarify exactly what it is. Here's how Ted defined staged financing:
Currently filmmakers seek out their financing essentially all up-front. If they don't succeed they do it in a haphazard catch as catch can manner. Either way is reckless behavior with the former predicated that you will deliver what you promised and the latter requiring one to work without a net. Institutionalized stage financing would give filmmakers a way to get started, deliver a proof of principal, and receive subsequent funds due to merit. You could argue that the stages of development and marketing are already institutionalized to some degree -- although there is no real sources to go to other than those you know. Staged financing would offer additional steps beyond that.
Unlike up-front financing, staged financing provides film financing for a specific stage of production, rather than a large lump sum. Hope says:
Staged financing is part of a much bigger solution that we urgently need to bring to our industry: a sustainable investor class. We need smart money and need to stop seeking, encouraging, and propagating dumb money. Most film investors get out, win or lose, by their third film -- The value of most independent money in the film biz is the money itself, and that is not good for anyone.
In Hope's opinion, its adoption and implementation must be the industry's immediate goal. To read the full list of 10 reasons why he thinks this financing method will "save indie film," head on over to Hope's post here.
What do you think about staged financing? Do you think it could help independent film? Let us know in the comments.
[Money photo by Flickr user Philip Taylor PT]