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Business Plans for Filmmakers

Business Plans for Filmmakers

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John W. Cones


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
192 pages, 6 x 9, 1 illustrations


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About the Book

The practical and legal aspects of writing a business plan for a film venture can be daunting to  navigate without a firm grasp of know-how. With this in mind, John W. Cones's Business Plans for Filmmakers arms independent movie-makers and students with everything they need to successfully tackle the confusing intersection of law, business, and art when creating a business plan for a movie. This pragmatic volume offers plenty of examples and strategies for success, sharing straightforward insight into some of the toughest challenges independent filmmakers face when encountering these documents.

With simple yet thorough detail and clarity, Cones outlines the legal requirements affecting movie proposals, including ways to evaluate the necessity for a business plan or a securities disclosure document, as well as the legal definition of "an active investor." Also addressed are the numerous subjects filmmakers and students must consider before a film offering, including the efficacy of a business plan to fund the development, production, and distribution phases of a film; common elements of fraud of which fledgling filmmakers should beware; the intricacies of revenue sharing; and how to render financial projections. Cones also imparts useful distinctions between such industry terms as "company financing" versus "project financing," along with many others.

This bookalso includes in-depth guidance through the murky paths of investor analysis and key strategies to find and attract parties interested in financing film. Drawing upon his many years as a securities and entertainment attorney, and his experiences advising independent film producers, Cones offers the tools necessary not only to understand investors' motivations but also to use that knowledge to the filmmaker's advantage. Also provided are perceptive studies of the investment vehicles commonly used in business plans seeking investors, with analysis of each method's pros and cons. Throughout the volume, Cones uses sample plans to offer a real-world grasp of the intricacies of the business.

In the business of this art, knowledge is power. Business Plans for Filmmakers dispels the myths and misinformation circulating among filmmakers to provide accurate and useful advice.


John W. Cones is a securities and entertainment attorney who has practiced in Los Angeles and the surrounding area for eighteen years. He has authored seven books relating to the film industry, including 43 Ways to Finance Your Feature Film and The Feature Film Distribution Deal. He lectures regularly throughout the country and teaches film business courses at Columbia College Hollywood.


“This book gives a valuable, practical nuts-and-bolts look at when, if, and how to draft a business plan.  Filmmakers should read it to avoid going off a cliff.”
—Schuyler Moore, author of The Biz: The Basic Business, Legal, and Financial Aspects of the Film Industry

“This excellent book by John Cones helps to correct a lot of misinformation in the world of film finance”
—Michael E. Morales, entertainment attorney

“Any filmmaker considering a business plan or any other way of raising capital for a film will want to read this book first.”
—Leslie Kreiner, Pepperdine University

Business Plans for Filmmakers is yet another volume of indispensable counsel and advice for filmmakers from independent film champion John Cones. Cones’s expertise and broad knowledge of film financing will save filmmakers tens of thousands of dollars and prevent unexpected headaches.”
—Richard Dutcher, producer and director of Evil Angel