How To Find Investors For Film – With Pete Delorenzo
How To Find Investors For Film – With Pete Delorenzo
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Other Great Film And Movie Interviews…
Sadly, Pete Died July 23, 2019. he was a legend in the industry and a great friend to me for the last 2 years of his life. I know that I am only 1 of thousands of people who will miss Pete…
His messaging in this interview, is still as valid today as when we had the discussion.
My you rest in peace my dear friend
Introduction from Tim Bennett
This transcript is the sixth in a series about film finance.
Every now and then someone special enters your life and you immediately know, that this person is going to have a positive impact of your life, your business and the way you think…
Enter Pete DeLorenzo into my life!
Pete approached me and kept emailing me (or should I say stalked me) until I agreed to interview him…
And boy was I glad I did.
Not only is Pete funny and charming, he has incredible insights and knowledge into the world of filmmaking that can only be shared after years of experience and putting the “rubber to the road”.
And so in this interview about how to find investors for film, you will find many many “secret” from Pete that have been observed by him in life through years of trial and error.
This is no ordinary interview, it is a dynamic look into the heart and soul of a very amazing man…
And so with that, let me delay you no more!
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce you to my special guest today…
So sit back, relax and enjoy…
How To Find Investors For Film
So welcome everybody, this is Tim Bennett from argonanimation.com and you are part of ArgonTV and Film Finance Channel where we talk about film finance topics and today I’m being joined by the one and only Mr. Pete DeLorenzo.
Pete: Hi Tim, how are you?
Tim: I’m very good. And just in full transparency so that everybody knows, we actually did a Go To Webinar call earlier today and we had 20 or 30 people in the call with us.
What a great call that was with loads of information, but unfortunately, the Go To Webinar system didn’t record the recording correctly and I got this jumbled file, so Pete and I have decided to get back together again with this recording and we hope that you will forgive us for the snafu and that we will be able to share again with the audience a double dose of information about film investors.
So, Pete, welcome back for the 2nd time today.
Pete: I tell you, I’m truly honored and you know, these things do happen but sometimes you know, by the grace of God, it happens for a reason.
Whatever we can put out there your listeners can listen in and thank God we’ll able to get this time around some of the information in part of the recording and we had a lot of great listeners and I want to thank all your people for your questions and hopefully it was really helpful to them and so, let’s give it a go.
Tim: You know Peter this just tells me that you need to be on the live calls because you’ll never know what’s gonna happen.
Pete: Once we got off the air, I mean, I was inundated on Facebook and on emails.
People were listening and had some great questions and they friended me on Facebook and also email me with a few more questions.
There was a gentleman, Joseph from Europe, so shout out to him and you know we might mention if anybody by luck happen to have recorded or save it to their files should shoot it over to you.
Tim: Absolutely. I will also send out everybody an email.
But great thought, it was great to know that we got some feedback. You know, we had about 220 people actually go to the webinar link and then 70 people of those or 79 I think actually registered and then something like 22 people actually turned up.
So they were really great statistics. It was great to see that we touch so many people.
Pete: Absolutely. That’s great statistics, and you know you mentioned we have people from all over Philippines, Australia, Europe. That’s great.
Tim: Absolutely. Anyway, just to recap, who is Pete DeLorenzo, what does he do and what he have you done. Maybe you can give us a little intro to yourself.
Pete: Yeah basically I started my career right out of high school. And you know I was a singer at first.
My mom was in country music even if she was born in Europe in Italy and came here when she was a baby at 2 and a half.
Bear with me as I kind of losing my voice.
But, you know music was in my blood. Music is a universal language. I delved into acting, and comedy, I was the class clown who got to make people laugh in party as a child. In my film, that you know that it’s not about you or being self absorbed, it was the love for bringing joy and entertainment to people.
And I know at a tender age like 7 -8 years old that I want to be an entertainer and much of that is carried into my film The Mentor.
My uncle worked for Roy Acroft, Chad Atkins and great country artists and you know it was only in maybe the last 15 years that I delved into not only you know being in motion pictures, acting and everything but you know to take on the task of being a screen writer and producer or its what kind like the pinnacle of my career to be honest, Tim.
Passion for wanting to do it all, a love for the gifts that God has given me so I guess you can say comedian, impressionist, actor, recording artist, add the new kid on the block, screen writer, producer and director.
Tim: It’s awesome and there can be no greater gift I think than being able to entertain people.
Pete: It’s you know many people and we talk about this in an earlier part of the interview.
Many people, you know, they have different motivations, and some people do it for the money, the glamour, the glitter, the bling, or self absorbed and that they need attention.
But when you’re doing it for the passion of what you love to do. I mean, everyone needs to be entertained whether it’s a good book, or let’s say a TV show or it’s a film, music, people need to be entertained.
You know, back in the, during the depression era wherein people pay that nickel or dime to watch a film during world war II there was a time escape for they can see romantic movie, a suspense film, a musical and it was uplifting, it was motivational and, it was escape from the real world and God knows in world we live in now, you know, terrorism and violence and things like people need to see something which softens and that’s the kind of movie so and you know there are genre of films for everyone. I don’t downgrade anyone.
You know, the slasher movies, horror flicks out there, vampire /werewolf movies, action neurons and you know I’ve been in films like that’s an actor but you know for the films that I make I want to put something up that’s meat and potatoes, substance, something that can uplift, edify.
Tim: Yeah you know in my position over here in the Philippines I’ve a show production company, I specialise in laser special effects, and what I love about what I do is just for a short while, whether it be 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or whatever, 30 minutes, you can take people out of their daily lives.
You can make them forget their issues and their problems and you can entertain, them, make them laugh, make them smile and touch them in some way, it’s really an awesome responsibility for us.
Pete: You and I, and I said this earlier and I’ll say it again. You and I sir are so much on the same page. I love you and respect you for that.
You know, I told a story earlier maybe not to be redundant and repeated, but for those who didn’t catch it on the first segment that you know I was interviewed on national television asked the question, “you wear many hats, comedian, process actor, which do you love the most?” and I mean, there was no rehearsed answer, it came automatic and how do you answer that, it would be equivalent to, how do you love one pet above the other or how do you love one child if I had children but…
So you know and I actually said when I go to that stage, I look in that audience and hour or so that I am on stage or concert, a good 90 minutes on the stage, you see people from all walks of life.
You see people that are going through illness, you see people, mother that has a child sick or you see people out of work, you see a couple going through a divorce or break up and you know it’s a gift to be able to make them smile, it’s a proven fact it is medicinal, Norman Cousins, their renowned writer for The Saturday Evening Post, cured himself with laughter and high doses of vitamin E for bone cancer, this is a known fact that laughter truly is the best medicine in the world and I feel very blessed that God gave me that gift to bring laughter to people.
When I go to the recording studio, I loose myself in my music. I’ve got 15 new songs that will be recorded for the new album. I have a hit single which I have decided to make the theme song for my film and never would have dreamed that song was gonna take off the way it did, and you know when you are stepping onto a set, I mean, your breathing life into a character whoever wrote that script, you become that character. It’s like when I do impressions, you now I engulf myself, climb into their skins of their mannerisms, their facial expressions, as well as the voice, you become that person you know.
And that’s truly a blessing to bring that back to people.
Tim: I believe and you’re just about to start a new movie called, “The Mentor”, maybe you could just tell us a little bit more about that?
Pete: Yeah the mentor believe it or not, I sat down it was probably early 90s and the pen just started rolling. I guess I’m from old school were we use typewriter, now we have computers but it was later that I went to computer when I started re-typing and doing my second, third, fourth draft but I hand wrote the whole script in the very beginning and I based it on loosely, It’s not a biography, per se, loosely on my life, career, people, places, events, some scenes are verbatim, some scenes are maybe a little stretched, and other scenes are pure fiction, like the love interest, it was written in the realm of “where’s the right woman who is gonna come along and love me for Pete the man, the person rather than just a guy in the stage, kinda girl” and that’s how I wrote the song “It remind me of you”.
You know so I poured it all out and the film is a message of love, hope, determination.
Having a passion for whatever it is in life that you do.
Whether you pushed the broom or you work in a department store, case in point, whether you are in the arts.
We all have dreams, we all have goals. Don’t ever give up.
Love what you do, do what you love. Do it uprightly.
Don’t step on anyone’s toes.
Don’t stab anyone in the back and put your faith in God and you’ll accomplish it and I guess you know I thank God every day that I’m a living example of that and so that’s it pretty much it and if you have that significant other.
You know, we are living in a world where I guess the sanctity of marriage is a lost art but I guess I come from the old school there too and I said I always want what I saw my grandparents have, what my parents have.
So I poured that into the film too, where it takes a viewer who is sitting in that darken theater, Tim, it takes them back to the days where the music we grew up with, we could all remember you know a song that we heard and a girl you were dating or when you were in school and in a place and, we are taking them back a good place in life.
What morals, what scruples, with family, roots and love and that’s what I really went as you know let not “Leave It To Beaver,” it’s not “Father Knows Best” or you know one of those shows but it’s very similar to it, in the realm of can you remember when we don’t have to lock our doors or we can go out and catch lightening bugs or ride your bike till it got dark, you know, the great music, the icon in which I’m honoured I have so many artist attached to my film.
Tim, I tell you, when I was younger and I listen to these people on the radio and bought their records and watch them on TV and never would have dreamed in the farthest part of my mind that later in life I was gonna be sharing the same stage with these people and their homes, and playing with their children and having a barbecue and on a first name basis and sharing the same stage and screening with them and to have them in my film is truly an honour and that makes it more marketable of course, as you know.
Tim: It is truly amazing how life takes us on these journeys that we never thought would be possible.
Tim: And I remember living in England as a child, and growing up in England as a child. I was brought up in the fairly depressed North East of England and you know I had dreams in my head. I never imagined in my wildest dreams, I would ever be living in a country called the Philippines I didn’t know where the Philippines was.
Pete: It’s a beautiful country I’ve seen pictures that you posted, oh God, I envy you.
Tim: Oh my God. I tell you some people that I talk to, they think the Philippines is like 3rd world country and don’t have to go there, but there’s so wrong. This is an amazing country, with an amazing people. It’s absolutely spectacular, they have beautiful islands in fact, I’m actually about to start construction on a small house and resort in Palawan which is just paradise on earth.
Pete: God bless you. It is beautiful that when you know when my Dad took ill, there were Filipino nurses that came to the home clinic and let me tell you, they were the most hospitable, down to earth, loving, caring people, so committed to their field of healing and when my father passed away, God rest his soul, that funeral home was filled with people, and I was looking at my three brothers and they were looking at me saying, “Who are all these people” and three quarters of them Tim were Filipinos that were loving people that cared for my dad.
Tim: It is really like that and you know, this is the country where you can live all your dreams and, last year, I started one of my dreams, it’s been my childhood dream since I was 15 and, that was to make a movie and last year we made 2 movies and we just presently out in the cinema at the moment.
Pete: Oh, you did it.
Tim: I did it yeah. We are actually in the cinema and the reason why I put all these interviews together was I saw so many people in the industry struggling to create finance, to create solutions for their movies and I thought I can’t think of a better way than asking the experts in the industry, how they did it and you know, you are one of those; you’re making movies. You are in movies for a long time.
Tim: And you know, we came here today to talk about finding investors for movies.
Pete: That’s another good point you said coz I’ve done many seminars that coached even one on one or a small group of people that are in the industry whether be acting or broadcasting for years, voice over work and acting even comedy and one thing I told them right of the bat that, “You know, you can accomplish anything you really set your mind to or sky’s the limit”, but you have to be focused as mentioned in our earlier segment, you have to have a passion, burning desire and you do not let anything deter you from that.
You know, sometimes you’ll get people whether it’s jealous or animosity, will get, you’ll get the well wishers or you’ll get the people that wanna humiliate or try and demean you and “oh you’re never gonna make it, you’ll never gonna do it” and you don’t let that fracture you, you can’t.
If you love it that much and here you are a prime example, look at the Beetles. John Lennon came from a poor area of England, and when those masterminds merge, I mean Paul and John were masterminds they were the backbone of the Beetles not to take anything away from George or Ringo, they were awesome and everyone of them and you now they, you don’t get better than the Beetles, I’m sorry and look at what they did.
And keep from the streets of Liverpool and they became huger than huger than huge.
Tim: Yeah, you cannot stop it when it wants to go.
Pete: When God gives you talent like that and they had to drive, John Lennon said “to the top mates, to the top, we are going to the top.” You gotta believe. And this is what I emphasize to people I have coached you know you have to see yourself where you want to be down the road, have a vision, see yourself where you want to be and just follow it to the every length and so many people give up; they get tired, they get discouraged, they quit.
And the time you pull the plug on yourself, is the time where it could happen. Jack Nicolson, was doing like little bit parts and he was working his way up and he was getting frustrated and he says to that time his agent manager, “I’m gonna pull out” and he says, “Just step away from the camera”, his agent said. “Step away from the camera, see the big picture”, and it was at that point he hooked up with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and they were doing “Easy Rider” and that is when people started to pay attention to Mr. Jack Nicolson.
Tim: And what a great actor.
Pete: And when he did “Cuckoo’s Nest” that put him over the top, but it was “Easy Rider” that actually put him in the map. That’s when they started turning around saying “hey we gotta pay attention to this guy.” So you can never pull the plug.
When you quit is when you lose.
Tim: Absolutely. How many times we heard that kind of story.
That’s really a true statement you make there.
Pete: Emotion. For sure you felt frustrated at times and I have. We talked in the earlier segment about how many times, how you know trying and frustrating and, you know loosing time, losing money, uh, you know and just struggling.
This is the best of the best did, so are we exempt from that? We are not any exception, but if we have pulled the plug, you or I or anyone out there, we would not be where we are today.
Tim: Absolutely. And this takes me to one of the questions I wanted to ask you about finding investors.
As we create our movies and I know you have this experience and I also have the same experience and there’s so many people around the world with the same issue; why is it hard for us to find investors for our movies?
Pete: Well there’s a number of reasons, I m sure you are familiar with that too, you know, a lot of people say with the economy right now, economy is bad in a lot of countries not just in United States or in Europe or wherever but you know, it’s not just the economy.
It’s a factor but when we’re dealing with investors that move that kind of money around every day for instance the pool of investors that I’m dealing with, these people deal with oil, precious gems, architecture, agriculture, a lot of different things and you are delving into financing films and we also spoke earlier in the segment about many people that are from Asia, India, Arab nations, these people are the people that, Dubai, money. big time where they are dropping money into movies so these are the type of people you need to contact.
I would advise any film makers out their, is their all types of investors, and its hard, in answer to your question because you have to find people not only with the funds but the people that have vision; that they can see what you are trying to put up there.
If they can see and be motivated and feel the passion that we do coz as you mentioned earlier and I have to reiterate that was a very good point you made, is that it is a business, we as artist, we feel the a passion, we wanna get our film made, we got to express ourselves but they are looking at it from a different point of view, “Hey why should I invest money in your film, what’s so interesting about Tim Bennett’s film or Pete DeLorenzo’s film?” so you know they’re gonna look at several factors, what’s in it for me?, where’s my money going?, what’s it’s going to be used for?, and what’s my return?.
Tim: I think you hit the nail on the head as we say here is, so many people who are looking for money go in with the wrong mindset, they go to the investor saying, “I need your money” instead of saying, “How can I serve you in my movie?”
Pete: Right. Thank you. Thank you.
Absolutely, because you know, you gotta look the other side of the desk.
And I would say, well, you know, the world does not revolve around Pete DeLorenzo and his movie, The Mentor.
Maybe this guy had a bad day; he also has got a lot on his plate, I have to be patient; I have to meet protocol, whatever their protocol is, all of this things are factors but it’s also with the presentation, is in your pitch, your movie pitch it’s in your top sheet.
You have to have a budget, you have to have a business plan; you have to have executive summary.
So for a lot of new film makers, whether it be a film short, whether it be a documentary or there be a featured film, if they don’t have that, there’s no way the investors even gonna listen or pay attention to you. They are gonna see the paperwork.
You see and rightly so because you know I mean you gotta guy whose got a lot of money, lets put it in layman’s term; if I were an inventor and you’re an investor and I come to you and say “well Tim, here’s this gadget I created and blah blah blah blah, this is my presentation”, and you say “you know, Pete, you got something there, well, were gotta have to patent this, we’re gonna have to manufacture it; we’re gonna have to market it.
Okay. Well, how much do you need and what’s my return.?”
Okay, its not like we’re just going here asking somebody for 20 dollar or 100 dollar loan, so this is what film makers need to know and there’s a lot of young people out there that I see a lot of good scripts that people submit to me.
I see a lot of talented people that never get a chance, it’s a very difficult industry, getting the funds is the hardest part because you’re knocking on a lot of doors, you’re basically, you know, I used to turn when people say “beg, borrow of steel” and produces far more experienced than myself, that’s what you’re doing.
You know the movie, Ray; when they did that movie about Ray Charles; Ray Charles was still living, and they went to the Hollywood studios and nobody wants to finance it and Philip Enchels who I believe it was not the Kodak, I forget the other, just escapes me right now but he had finance booked that theatre in LA and he says, “this movie needs to be made, we’re talking about an icon, Ray Charles” and he opened his check book and got the whole budget.
Tim: Wow that’s awesome.
Pete: You know, but that happens very rare. I mean the producer, executive producer, and director were like scraping, these are Hollywood people, and I’ve dealt with Hollywood people.
I mentioned that earlier in our segment were I was on a lot of Hollywood industry people that I know and have contact too including New Line, Fine Line, Lionsgate and often they offer a film maker the bookings as I call it because they’ll say we’ll finance it and we’ll distribute it but then they are going to wanna take control and I say, not putting them down, no disrespect, they’re gonna wanna maybe cast different marketable names and put whoever they want in there as oppose to the people with cast or your casting directors or yourself or they wanna go and change the script, a word or two here and there and it’s gonna loose the passion of the original of what you wrote.
So, I was adamant; I put my foot down that I will not sell my people that are loyal to my cast and crew that I handpick meticulously and I said, well, “I’ll take the other half. How about we do the distribution and I’ll raise the funds myself” and they said, “good luck,” and I said “thank you.”
But I do have Lionsgate and New Line are very interesting in this distribution number, I’m very honored on that, the film has great potential.
So you know, its a combination of getting the funds, it’s also getting the other half which is the distribution; at least a letter of intent any upcoming film maker get a letter of intent if you have any interest of distribution or product placement, as well as you know naturally comes out to nitty gritty then you gotta get a bond of commitment, a proof of funds, a bank statement, check their backgrounds, check their longevity, see who have they financed, see what success rate they have had, all of that is very important factors.
Tim: Very interesting comments.
And I also love the sound of the train going past, the sound is very movie world, you know, it’s like you…
Pete: It’s funny you mentioned it, because I wrote a song about that train and entitled “The Big Black Iron Horse” because I have a New Jersey transit train which comes from New York right through here; but that one that you just heard is a freight train and believe it or not, it comes up in the middle of the road during the day, with cargo and debris and takes to Pennsylvania and New York State, and I sat with a cup of coffee outside one day, and I says “there’s a song there, that’s history,” whenever there’s a train coming out in the middle of the road, like that, you see Charlie Carson in San Francisco, I sat down wrote a song, and he said “Pete, you got another hit song on your hands, that’s like a Pete Seeger tune“ and I say “wow I couldn’t shine that man shoes,” that’s an honor, I wrote one about letter carriers, the general post master said that should be look like the national anthem for all the post office across America, I said “wow, I said it’s better than getting a picture than a stamp. Thank you.”
Tim: There’s a movie and a song everywhere; now if we need to look through our investor’s eyes to get investment, what it is that investors are actually looking for and what do you they expect?
Pete: Well, I will say from my experience and for new and upcoming film maker or new film maker, and we just, I mean, I myself what a first time film maker; they’re gonna look for a top sheet where you can say look this is what I expect, I did my bids, I got my budget together, this is a maximum of what I need but I can maybe possibly without hurting the film in any realm or taking any short cuts you know, it’s like putting up a building like you don’t want to take shortcuts in plumbing or the electrical wire, you’re gonna have a building that’s gonna have a flood or fire.
You’re gonna say I might be able to shave cost here or there so here is the minimum of what I would need, so you would give a top sheet of the maximum of what you were looking for, and your bottom line which is the minimum you could settle for to do it and do it right.
You don’t want to cut corners and turn out to piece of garbage. You’re also gonna need a budget, total, a-z soup and nuts itemized, like someone give you an itemized bill after working on your car. List everything, everything, you know, props, your crew, your team workers, your cast, everything from soup to nuts in there and I mean, ambulances on set, if there’s a nanny, if there’s animals involved, everything, everything has to be itemized in that budget. also, they’re gonna want an executive summary; always give them a pitch at least maybe 2-3 paragraphs minimum.
A pitch would be a written trailer if you will, you don’t want to give to much away, so they have a concept of what the film is about and your executive summary, your budget, all that is imperative, otherwise they’ll will not even give a blink an eye, listen or look at what you have without that. And they’re also gonna want to know if you have actors, A-list actors, marketable names you have attached, it’s all very important.
And your director, your line producer and all the heavy weights that you have attach, director, they’ll definitely want to know so you know, you’re gonna have a competent director. A lot of people, Tim, had told me like “Pete, why don’t you direct it?” and I said “I’m already wearing 80 hats as it is” and I know what I’m working for in the screen and I could direct it, but I chose Mr. Bill Milling who directed me in the film back in the ‘96 ‘97 he is a great director from the American Movie Company in New York City and I know I’m in good hands with that man who directed my film so I’ll kinda be, I guess its first AD if you will, know but I know I’m in good hands in him directing it.
Tim: Excellent, and we spoke about this a little bit earlier but there are different types of investors from corporate to personal and they’re looking for different things, and in my interview with Tom Malloy a few weeks ago, which is where we actually met; Tom was making a comment which I found to be true as well, that personal investors are much easier to deal with than corporate investors, what’s your thought on that?
Pete: Absolutely and I bless the day that we did connect on Linkedin because here we are, you know and I’m honored to do this interview with you and it’s gonna help people you know, I had listen to you with Tom Malloy and I am corresponded to Tom with email, and his book I read it cover to cover on Bankroll where Tom was very accomplished actor and went you know into producing and I concur with many of his points and in answer to your question, you know, there are all types of investors, I would admonish that you know if you’re doing a short, if you’ve done a college film, you know, if you doing something that is not an astronomical budget or even a decent budget for a future film is gonna be far different from a low budget film.
That’s where Indiegogo, Kickstarter, things like that, is a tool, it’s instrumental.
That is good for people that are trying to do something on a small budget but if they are going for a feature, don’t even go because you’re not gonna raise the amount you’re gonna need and you’re not gonna hit the type of people you know, not that I’m downing at all just saying that it is the tool for maybe a genre of small type films. If you’re gonna do a feature film, I would agree with you and concur that, hit the private investors, the entrepreneurs, bank investment people, always check their background, there are a lot of scam people, I would admonish and not to put them down.
I would stay away from crowd funding, hedge funding and brokers, because brokers usually want money up front and you never ever – to any of your listeners, I would always use metaphor and liken it to we talk about this in earlier segment that like an agent, if there’s an actor or actress out there starting your career, and you got an agent and you’re agents gonna, you know audition you or send you out on audition, and you go on 10 or 20 auditions, and if they like you you’re gonna get a call back and if they want you, then the agent books for you for the gig and that’s when gets the agent gets the commission, not before.
So therefore, when the broker, you know, lot of them want money upfront and that’s just unheard of. I had a broker one time which I mentioned earlier in our segment that you know, he wants 25 grand upfront, he said like 3-4 interested people and one of them wanted to do a book deal, I said “well that’s all great, can we get them on a conference call,” they’re be like me wearing a suit and tie and walking into a room in person and next best thing and do some presentation, and they wouldn’t do that and I said “if you were that serious and you had these people and not that I’m distrusting you or downing you but if you had these people in your corner why not would you bring them to the table as you said you have the power to bring them to the table with you and I’ll give you your finders fee right of the top”, you see but to put 25 grand in somebody’s hands and they disappear and go and life a life style or they could be you know, the biggest bloater, you just don’t ever go there, so I would like to emphasise to your listeners, that don’t ever give money upfront.
Tim: And the sad thing, Pete, is that they he probably got the money from somewhere.
Pete: Oh you know, they make a career of it. I’m sure you seen on LinkedIn too what people put close up like this is a scam, this guy rip me off, and LinkedIn is a very good network.
Tim: It’s awesome.
Pete: Yeah, it’s awesome, I agree. There are people in any social network; LinkedIn is a very good industry network, where you can meet a lot of good people, that’s where I met you.
Tim: Yep. The next question I’m gonna ask you is what type of investors should I look for and we kinda covered that a little bit in the discussion that we were just having, but one of the comments I made earlier was that film makers, are little bit like entrepreneurs, very similar mind sets and very similar actions, we’ve gone through the rags to riches, we done every job possible, and we’ve accomplish success through that and film makers are very similar to that as well.
So you know, I totally agree, like if you make a hundred million dollar budget movie and probably, you might not wanna go to smaller investor but if you’ve got a low budget movie or you doing an independent, a very good place to start is with small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely, coz you know as you mentioned, a golden rule, a very good point in our segment is that you have to look at it as a business, we are artists, we have a passion but we do have to look at it as a business, so that is emphatic, emphatically true that these are the type of people that move this kind of money around every day.
Bad economy or not, these people sneeze that kind of money and they have to be, they may not know, what goes into to the making of the film, they deal with different kind of investing, but when you come to the bank investment people, when you get to the private investors, I had mentioned that I was on the phone with Mark Cuban , the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, when you get to the James Bransons, people like that, these people move that kinda money around, they’re gonna know and if not, you educate them that there’s a foreign market, after it hits the big screen, ok, it goes overseas to the foreign market and we’re not talking about select theaters, we’re talking about national theaters, worldwide and then it goes to what… it goes to on demand, pay per view, it goes foreign market, it goes beyond box office and the bragging rights that you and I mentioned, people just like to be a part of it, and have their name in the credit and say hey “I was an assistant, I was a constituent, I was a colleague that help him get his film done, there is my name up on the silver screen, I’m credited,” so these are all points that they’re gonna look for.
Tim: And its funny there are these people who will give you money like this and I have a friend find out here, he is actually a world champion martial art master and he said “you mean if I give you 5 thousand dollars, I can have my name in the film, I can be the fight director and I can actually be in the movie for 30 seconds? Where do I sign?”
There are so many people around like the entrepreneurs mindset who would love to do things like that, like me, that’s how I got into movies, a friend came to me and said “we just need 2 thousand dollars to complete a movie, and if you give us the 2 thousand dollars you’ll have your name put up before the movie on the cinema screen,” and I said, “here’s my check.”
About 4 months later, I sat in the cinema, and my name came up saying “In participation with Tim Bennett from Argon Animation, and I was like, “wow!”
Pete: Well you can’t buy better advertising, Tim, that’s like almost like product placement.
Pete: Yeah but you had the business mind and persevere enough to realise some that people don’t.
Tim: But at that point it wasn’t business, it was just satisfying my ego to see my name on the screen.
Pete: And there’s nothing wrong with that, you know, a lot of people do it, that’s why they called it bragging rights, you know.
Tim: My 2nd movie was completely different. My 2nd movie was all business. I invested money to make money.
Pete: But the 1st one was the breakthrough, you cracked the ice
Tim: Exactly, that’s right and you just need 20 or 30 people like that.
Pete: That’s another point; I would like to make aspiring film makers, that don’t look to make killing on your first film.
Get it done, get your funds and get it done and then the doors will open. Once you turn out a good product, people will get in touch with you, they will come back to you, get established, when I was matriculated in my career, I always kid at make people laugh at a party, you know, class clown but I knew in my heart, I have a love for the stage, the screen, I went out there, went to New York city and worked every nook and cranny and every club, worked my way up. I started my career 1971, and by ’78 I was a featured actor and by ’86 I hit the home run and became a nationally known artist but you know it didn’t happen overnight so you know you have to be humble and realize humility is a key that don’t make look to make you kill per se on the first movie, get your funds, make the film, get establish, and now people will recognize you as a film maker and you’re on your way.
Tim: I totally agree, there were so many different areas for film finance to come in. I was talking last week to Michael Perlin, who has a movie called, “The 3 Magic Words”, and we are bringing it to the Philippines for him.
He was struggling to get money for his movie when he was putting it together, and one of the actors, in the movie saw the trailer and said, this is awesome, “what do you need to get this finished?”, and he said “this is how much I need,” and he wrote a check there and then from within the crew came the money.
Pete: See that’s the point, and you hit it again Tim, if somebody’s truly interested in it, they will put the money where their mouth is, they are not going to procrastinate, they are not gonna be labourer, they are gonna be “okay with how much you need, let’s go. Let’s make money together,” and I have always said, whenever I approach investors, from my heart, I say, “gentlemen, let’s put our minds, hearts, our souls, our talent and our money together and let’s make a successful film”, so this is where it’s at.
Tim: What’s awesome about it is it’s already involved in the movie.
Tim: Exactly. They have a reason for it to be successful.
Pete: I had a guy, for about 6 months or a year, he danced around and he was trying to get low budget film, I’m not degrading him in any way, I’m not going to mention the name but you know out of respect, he was out in LA and he would call me, “Yeah! Come on our here, you could stay on my yacht”, and he was doing liquid lunches and hob nobbling with people, he was like all pumped and when he came down to brass tacks, I said “you know if you have this people that you say you have,” and this is a different person and the broker I told you earlier, I said, “if you have interested parties, I said, I will fly out there and I don’t need to come on your yacht and have cocktails,” I said, “get a meeting with this people, throw them a suit and tie and give me 5 minutes, and I’ll guarantee you I’ll get your attention and God willing, they’ll open up their check books” but he was just talking a lot you’re gonna get a lot, frustrating to a lot of people trying to get investors, you going to get a lot of talk.
Tim: That segues very neatly to my next question. When you’re dealing with the investors, who should you stay away from?
Pete: The bad guys, there are a lot of them out there. You know, I will say anybody, whether you’re an actor, whether you’re an entrepreneur, investor, that was like I’ve done this, I’ve done that, you know bragging, you don’t have to brag.
You have a resume, you have your credentials, you never want to falsify don’t every put something in a resume that is not true because they’re gonna find out, be honest, be real, so you know, you put your credentials but you don’t need to hard sell someone, anyone that is dealing with somebody whose gonna get on the phone, I don’t mean any disrespect to brokers, you’ll find that a lot of them are corrupt, that will hard sell you like a fast talking car salesman like this “I can do this, I can do that, I got people, and dah dah dah…” red flag, red flag right there because you know what, if they got, the power and the reach, you don’t need to go there!
Just do it, just book it.
Tim: Yep, very good advice. I was gonna ask you, what are some of the red flags we need to look for?
Pete: That’s a major red flag, and then like I said, you got to check them out, you Google them up, Wikipedia, whatever you gotta do, if you can’t find any legitimate address, phone number, website of these people, second red flag right there.
Tim: Exactly you know on my website, I make a point of people being able to get in touch with my address is there, my contact details there, you can get in touch with me.
Pete: Exactly Tim, we got nothing on our sleeves, nothing to hide, if you got an investor that comes forward and says, you know, “I’m a broker, I’m hedge fund investor, I’m crowd funder,” whatever it might be.
I’m not gonna have any prejudice against that those people, you know you gotta check them out, if they don’t have legitimate website, if they don’t have legitimate company name, or legitimate company address, legitimate phone number, Skype, this, that, the other, you know, you’re just working hanging shingles somewhere, working out of a paper box, you know what I mean, that’s a major red flag as well.
Tim: Let’s say I’ve got an awesome script and I got a great cast, how do I start finding investors, what is the first thing you recommend I do?
Pete: I would recommend highly that you get on to Google and you look up private entrepreneurs, you look up film investors, and do a lot of homework and a lot of research and you gotta you scope them out, you gotta check backgrounds. If you have any particular context or people in associates in the industry that can give you leads or help you out or give you advice, guidance to legitimate people that can you know of influence and have funds, that’s a plus and that’s how you do it.
People that are in the industry that can point you in the right direction, tips, leads, a lot of your own homework, searching and knocking on a lot of doors.
There are a lot of great social networks, such LinkedIn, Facebook, just go on Google where there are investment, banking investment, banking I have to underscore, banking investment companies, that delve into film. way back I even went into philanthropic company, many big companies, like Merryl Lynch, Paine Weber, they have philanthropic companies that ran to the arts, that’s another avenue, it can be frustrating at times but you gotta stay within you, just gotta pound, pound, pound, don’t ever give up.
Tim: Well Pete. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, your knowledge and for the 2nd time today you were definitely worthy of being on ArgonTV.
You are awesome man.
Pete: Right back at you, I said earlier in our segment, teachers learns from the student and student learns from teacher, and never stop learning, I’m like a sponge, I like to absorb and I learn from you, you learn from me, hopefully your listeners learn from both of us and that’s what its all about, and you got a great program, and hopefully we reach a lot of people and we capped what we covered earlier.
Tim: I think so, thank you so much for sharing, how did people…
Pete: A lot of people like the little joke; I’ll give you another one.
Tim: I want another joke.
Pete: I give a lot metaphors, because it get the points across, I say, you ever see a cat or dog they often chase their own tail and as businessmen as we are, entrepreneur, film makers, metaphorically, cat or dog chases his tail, so here’s a little story… here is this dog and he is in an alley way and is chasing his tail.
All the dogs are laughing at him, like, dude what are you doing, come on mate you’re making a jerk out of yourself, what are you trying to do?
And he says, well my happiness and my success is in my tail so I figure out if I get to catch it and get a little chomp on it, a little bite, I’m gonna taste happiness in life. And with that they all started to turn and look in the alley ways, there’s this other dog and this dog’s got his tail straight out like an arrow, and that dog says to the group of them, “Well you see, I hold my head up high, not with ego, not with prejudice but with pride that I’m happy and successful and part my knowledge and wisdom to others and my success is there success and my tail is straight out and my happiness is in my tail also and it follows me wherever I go”, so the message there is don’t try and chase it, don’t chase your tail, don’t go on circles, just put it out there, keep throwing spaghetti against the wall and sooner or later, it’ll stick.
Tim: I love it Pete, I love it, awesome. The movie, “The Mentor” is coming out soon and you know I hope you can come back and share some more stories with us.
Pete: Well, I can only report, my investors, say we are closing in and many of the funds are coming from money that they are moving around again from sovereign government, so I’m very close and I would say within the next 2- 3 weeks is very crucial, I will be able to roll cameras this summer, I put a lot of wonderful people to work, great cast and crew and The Mentor will be in theaters hopefully by beginning of 2014.
Tim: I wish you the best, keep us informed on how it’s going. How can people get in touch with you?
Pete: I am on IMDB, Facebook, LinkedIn, website which is www.petedelorenzo.com.
Tim: Well Mr. Pete DeLorenzo
Pete: I am not unapproachable, they can email me or they can pick my brain, was left of them.
Tim: Thank you so much for being my guest today; it’s been awesome having you.
Pete: I’m honored, the honor is all mine. God bless you. Enjoy that beautiful area you are in, in The Philippines, I wish I’ll be there to have cocktails. But we’ll do that.
Tim: You are welcome to drop by anytime.
Pete: By God’s will we will meet face to face when the premier comes out; I want you to be there.
Tim: Let’s see if we can bring The Mentor to the Philippines.
Tim: I’ll certainly help you on that.
Pete: A gentleman, a long time colleague to name producers out in Singapore so you know, Philippines, they want me to do tour in HBO special that they’re trying to put together, we might be hooking up sooner that we think.
Tim: That’s brilliant. Well ok, thank you very much for everybody for being here, this is Tim Bennett from argonanimation.com you have been listening to the amazing Pete DeLorenzo who’s been on ArgonTV and our film finance channel; looking forward to seeing you again and have a wonderful, wonderful day.
This post and interview is copyright to Tim Bennett and Argon Animation Inc © 2019 How To Find Investors For Film