Budget, Schedule and Finance Independent Films – Demystifying the Process – 10 Things YOU Must Know

Insiders Secret #1. You must understand how to read and navigate a budget from the top sheet to detail page. The industry standard is movie magic budgeting. This is a program designed to enter in categories, budget for each category and create cost reports.

Insiders Secret #2. Break down a film script into elements within scenes that will cost money. Elements costing money include locations, cast, props, special equipment, etc.

Insiders Secret #3. Input the elements into a breakdown sheet by scene. The industry standard is movie magic scheduling. It has user-friendly pages for you to enter in elements and once everything has been input by scene, its time to make a schedule.

Insiders Secret #4. Now that you have your scenes broken down by locations, you can move them onto days and create a strip-board shooting schedule, so you can see how many scenes you need to shoot on a day to stay within your budget. You are paying for crew, equipment and locations daily so you will want to keep your days to a minimum.

Insiders Secret #5. In your movie magic budget, set up budget accounts for items like cast, locations, various production departments, etc.

Insiders Secret #6. Now that you know the elements in each scene, you can determine how much money you will need in each category.

Insiders Secret #7. You will need to determine the labor needed to complete your film. If you have a day with a lot of night exteriors, you will probably need extra lighting. With extra lighting, you may decide to save time by having more crew to setup these scenes and will have to rent extra lighting equipment. If you have a lot of locations, you will need extra transportation crew to move your production base from place to place. The art department labor may increase if you have a lot of builds and props.

Insiders Secret #8. Should you make your film union? If you are a low budget film, every dollar counts. You may choose to be associated with a union to get access to get better actors and crew. There will be a significant cost associated with each union and you will have to make an agreement with each one. Some below the line crew, like location managers, art directors, script supervisors, etc., can work non-union films. Please note that if you hire union crew, you will run the risk of being “flipped” by the union. Most of the time this happens when a crewmember contacts the union and says a non-union film has hired union workers. This crew member may want the film to filp so they can get more hours toward their pension, health and welfare. The union may decide to show up and force a strike with all the union crew. The filmmaker will be left with the decision to replace all of the union workers with non-union, make an agreement with the union or shut down production. If the film turns union, there will be a significant increase in budget now that you are paying overtime, union rates, pension, health and welfare.

Insiders Secret #9. Insurance will be a big expense; especially if you have a lot of stunts, pyro and/or things the insurance company considers high risk. If you are a low budget movie, you may choose to delete some scenes that are too expensive if it doesn’t hurt the overall story.

Insiders Secret #10. What rates should you pay crew? Everything is negotiable and it’s strategic to schedule your movie during times when the movie business is slow. An out of work crewmember is often willing to take less pay rather than be unemployed. You can also make deals to rent their gear, pay for gas to set, schedule less days, etc.

People who work within the film business are the best guides for advice when making your movie. This month, Studio & Indie Finance Executive Michael Shapiro, known for “Star Wars”, M*A*S*H, “Great Balls of Fire”, and more, reveals the secrets of raising money for independent films. Special Effects Supervisor John Palmer known for “The Day After Tomorrow”, Back to the Future Part II”, “Armageddon”, and more will teach you how to make your movie look like a big budget studio movie for an independent price. Special Makeup Effects Gary Tunnicliffe, known for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, “Gone Girl”, “Hellraiser: Revelations”, and more will show you how to commit murder and mayhem… on a budget. Visual FX Supervisor Greg Liegey known for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”, “Fast & Furious”, “Time Toys”, and more will personally advise you how to budget and plan visual effects! Stunt Coordinator Tony Snegoff known for “24”, “Batman Forever”, “Malcolm in the Middle”, will share tips and tricks on how to plan for stunts! Supervising Producer & Seminar Producer Jennifer Hutchins known for the “Criss Angel Mindfreak” series on A&E, “Ghost Hunters International” on Syfy, “The Car Show” starring Adam Carolla will facilitate networking and strategic partnerships with film finance

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Debt Consolidation Loan Magic

Magic of a Debt Consolidation Loan

As children we think of magic and everything fun and exciting that is involved with a trip to Disney World down in sunny Orlando. While that may be the childhood dreams of many young types out there in the past and even in the present the magic of a debt consolidation loan is what adults in deep-financial trouble dream of almost nightly. Do not let this only be a dream if you are struggling with credit card bills that pile up half-way to the eaves of the house, a house in which you may be in jeopardy of losing if you don’t get a grip on your personal finances and right away.

Credit Card Companies not on your Side

The credit card companies are not on your side and if any time an industry saw a clientele base as nothing but a set of numbers it is the industry that prints out those plastic cards that have iron chains shackled to many of them. The important factor here to realize is that if you are in debt and in serious financial trouble from maxed out credit cards or student loan debts that somehow don’t seem to have been a fair shake for you then you need to talk to a debt consolidation professional and straight away.

Sit Back and Correct their Problems all by Themselves

Many individuals think that they have all the time in the world to sit back and correct their problems all by themselves. Some also feel that they can just keep on running that same old circular-track and pay the 60% interest which leaves only a minority percentage of only 40% principle which leads to nowhere fast. The magic of a debt consolidation loan is that almost overnight you start to feel better and within a few months your bottom line starts to look a whole lot better. Isn’t that what we all want a solid stable bottom line that doesn’t waver and can always be counted on and not only by the head of the household but also the entire family?

Struggling with Credit Card Bills

If you find yourself struggling with credit card bills that seem to be getting you nowhere as you pay them, work hard week after week month after month and year after year then you need to get acquainted with the world of debt consolidation. These debt relief professionals are there for your benefit and for their benefit as well as they do get paid. Relive your childhood dreams about magic and things that make you happy and start down the yellow brick road to financial happiness with a debt consolidation loan.

Debt Consolidation Resources – Peter Frost is the content coordinator for leading finance related websites that offer debt consolidation advice and guidance. Find out what to look for in a debt consolidation service today to help you improve your finances and the quality of your life. There are a lot of things to consider before you finally choose the right debt solution to meet your needs. Be very careful in choosing the right debt counseling service. Debt counseling will not wipe out your debts instantly but it will assist you in re-establishing your financial reputation. Do not trust companies that advertise Credit Repair instead of Counseling and promises instant deletion of your debts.

Secrets For Success When Financing a Franchise In Canada – What Franchise Lenders Won’t Tell You

The dream is becoming a reality. You have selected a franchise in the Canadian marketplace. That franchise is either an existing unit, or a resale from a currently successful (hopefully!) franchisee.

When you are contemplating the purchase of a business the cost and financing of that business becomes a potential major obstacle. Let’s examine how financing a franchise works and is done in Canada. Who are the franchise lenders and what do you need to do to get your business financing past the goal line.

We recently read an article entitled ‘How to Buy a Franchise With No Money Down’. Let’s be clear on that point, that franchise financing is not available on the 100% OPM plan! OPM of course stands for other peoples money, and you should fully expect to make an equity investment or contribution into the business. That is driven from the fact that in business no lender will take all the risk and allow yourself to take none, which seems fair to us!

In your personal finances hopefully you are living within your means, as the expression goes. When it comes to business, and financing a franchise you should have a general sense of the overall cost of the franchise acquisition and whether that number makes sense to you from a personal net worth and owner equity contribution. Bottom line; don’t expect to buy a 700k franchise with a 10k owner investment – that wont work.

So what is the magic number then? Fortunately, or unfortunately, that magic number of your equity contribution seems to have increased over the last several years. We advise clients realistically that they should be prepared to put in anywhere from 25-50% of the purchase of the business.

The bottom line is that a solid equity contribution from yourself equals less debt on your opening balance sheet, and that’s a good thing.

We spend a lot of time with clients constructing the cash flow portion of the business plan re their franchise acquisition. That is because your revenues and expense must be accurately reflected, and out of those calculations flows your ability to service debt, i.e. make your loan payment!

By far the most tried and tested method for financing a franchise in Canada is a program that is underwritten by our good friends in Ottawa. That’s the government by the way. A program that is technically referred to as the BIL/CSBF program, (aka ‘ Small Business Loan ‘) is the most popular vehicle for financing a franchise.

Clients are always asking what qualifications are required for the program. We can broadly summarize them as follows – a solid well prepared business plan, some industry experience ( we don’t recommend that computer programmers buy a restaurant!), a decent personal credit history, and a, relatively speaking good personal net worth, i.e. home owner, etc.

One mistake many potential franchisees make is to think that their franchisor will become a franchise lender. That’s not the case – in case you haven’t figured it out now they are in the business of selling a franchise, not financing your dreams.

Financing is tough, whether you are General Motors or buying your first franchise in the entrepreneurship dream. Speak to a trusted, credible, and experience business financing advisor who can assist you in your franchise finance strategy for success.

How Personal Finance Software Can Make Money Magic

Do you feel as if your income disappears like magic each month? Does your credit card bill leave you thinking where so much money went? How about the money that you withdrew from the ATM just the other day, have you already spent it? It’s possible that you may currently find yourself in one of the above situations and have trouble monitoring and controlling your personal finances.

Many people receive bill upon bill that needs to be paid, and soon enough their entire paycheck is used up. Living from paycheck to paycheck is certainly not an ideal way to live your life as this would mean struggling to meet your financial obligations. You may even resort to credit, which could potentially cause more problems.

You have probably asked yourself on various occasions, “How did I end up in such a situation?” Find comfort in the fact that there are many people out there just like you who have not been able to dominate the financial part of your lives. In fact, within the modern society we live in today, the average consumer is required to allocate money that stems from one stream of income into over thirty different sources.

It’s not surprising to see money disappear in a flash when we’ve got so many payments to make regularly such as those for credit cards, mortgages, insurance and even things like childcare. However, what would you think if there was a way that you could reduce the invisibility of your monthly spending, a way that you could budget yourself within a pain-free, simple manner and achieving that so-called state of financial freedom once and for all? You will be pleased to know that there does exist such a way.

You may not have heard but there is an excellent personal finance software program called Family Finance Planner. For those people that are not too familiar with Family Finance Planner, it is a free budgeting program for families available online on many websites. The program is being taken up in droves by people in a similar situation to you and many have found it to be the answer to their problems. The good news is that is very simple to use and you would be crazy not to test out this piece of personal finance software.

The Magic Wands for Your Business

We are seeing business owners who have been self-employed for all their lives, some for thirty years or more, talking about tossing it in and working for a boss.

What on earth has happened to bring these tough circumstances? Well, that’s a whole economic argument that would eventually become a “chicken or the egg?” question. It’s enough to say that times are tough in business!

The current economic times are challenging businesses in ways we have not seen in recent memory. Some of these challenges are probably happening in your business, while others may be just over the horizon.

Though painful, tough economic times are a normal and necessary part of our economic life. They challenge all businesses to check and revitalise their resource allocation, strategic plan, business model and ability to generate cash. Periods of tough trading act in the same way as biological evolution – survival of the strong and the failure of the weak.

We would love to have a magic wand to fix things but hey, business is competitive and as we know there is no one magic wand. There are however, several of them if we are ready to look. This is the first in a series of articles to help you find the magic wands for your business.

So, where do we start to look? From a “strategic” view point, the medium and long-term success of any business will be determined by focus and achievement in four areas:

Customers
People
Systems and Processes
Finance

Many businesses that fail in these times are destined to do so from day one, either because of a flawed business model or ineffective execution – a result of bad management. A tough economic climate simply accelerates the outcome. Whatever the situation, this economic downturn will claim many businesses and as an owner and manager the power and responsibility is with you to act now to make sure you are not one of the failures. You have to find your magic wands.

Consolidation and Growth

Surviving in a downturn and thriving in the upturn

There are only four ways to grow your business (and we will cover these in future articles in this series) but while growth goals remain important, in tough economic times a broader understanding of business success is required.

Remember the four areas: Customers, People, Systems and Processes and Finance. Planning and taking action in these areas is critical – not just to ensure your company’s short-term survival, but in order to lay the foundation of its longevity