Investing in any artistic project creates a certain duality because it rarely happens that the interest of the finance behind the project and the artistic interest are one of the same. This is especially the case with documentary movie projects that also have a duty towards the public.
This doesn’t mean that there’s no profit incentive to invest in documentary films, if it’s done in a smart and organized way that will allow to earn from your investments years after the film is made and screened.
Making a film is an investment and that’s why it should be treated like any other investment. That means that the goal is to diversify and to invest in a variety of different films at once both in terms of what kind of audience they will attract and in terms of when they can start making money.
At the same time, the same rule that applies to investing applies to financing movies and that’s that not all of your projects need to make money right away or at all. It’s perfectly fine and even preferable to keep your eggs in multiple baskets, especially if you know that the profits from one of them will cover the costs of others.
It’s also important to be honest and say that documentary movie making isn’t like investing in a business or a stock. Sometime a movie has a role to play in the industry or it can even start a conversation in the society at large, but that isn’t to say that it will make money.
That’s a movie worth investing in even if it doesn’t seem to be so when it comes to the bottom line. Eventually having a movie that’s praised by the public and by the industry can lead to profit as well, but that’s often a long and complicated road to take.
Faster production pace
There are ways to use your funds in more effective ways by reducing the costs of production and thus make your investments more profitable. This can be done without affecting what’s most important about making a movie and that’s the creative team and the creative process behind it.
One of the ways to accomplish this is not to have a single team creating the movie from start to finish. Instead what you want to do is to separate the production parts of the creative process for the actual creative team and work on two tracks at once.
It’s also possible to find profit in documentary movies that aren’t made by you from start to finish. A film takes a long time to be made from start to finish and it often stops before its done at various stages of production.
There are many ways to find these unfinished projects and many festivals create pitch meetings where the creators could showcase their work and investors can pitch in and find the projects they could move along.
The role of streaming
There’s also another aspects of the business to be taken into account when it comes to making documentary films and that’s that there’s a big player in the game now. Streaming services are able to put portion of their funds towards the documentary film making business since they have other projects that could cover those funds.
That means that smaller scale production companies will need to take a step back and to compete against a much bigger player in the game. That will help the industry in many respects but it might limit it in a way as well.
In the end, it’s important to have in mind that the most important asset that a movie business rallies on is the creative talent and the personnel behind it. Investing in the filmmakers should be something that’s on your mind as invest in movies.
This will sometimes mean helping to promote and educate young filmmakers and in other cases it will mean helping the filmmakers you work with the projects that they are passionate about. This should be treated as a part of your investment from day one.
Investing in a documentary film doesn’t always seem like a lucrative investment since these films are often less profitable than fictional films and they have more of a niche market. However, there are ways to make money from documentary films even now when there are big players there like Netflix and Disney +.
This can be done by helping unfinished projects alone and by improving the production process by dividing it where you can. It’s also important to treat it as an investment since that means you’re able to win some and lose some if you’re profitable overall.