Gabriel Campisi’s The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Investors may not sound like the most exciting book to pick up – but, never judge a book by its cover. It’s a very informative and highly enjoyable read, not just for film students and aspiring filmmakers, but also for film fans in general. The primary aim for the book is to help independent filmmakers develop a business plan which they can show to investors. It details what is necessary, using examples of previous films (and those behind them), as well as hypothetical productions. This is interesting stuff – even for the casual reader. However, if you’re just starting out in the film industry (and you don’t have a business mind), then this text will be invaluable.
Campisi’s writing style is light and breezy. It never gets bogged down in the details, a blessing for those who don’t have a head for numbers. It’s easy to read, giving the reader a step by step informal lesson in how to develop a business plan for investors. The book takes you through the development arena, discussing aspects such as investors, distribution and funding. However, the most eye opening was in the ‘Due Diligence’ section, where Campisi highlights the work of con-artists operating in and round the film business. One particular tale involves a conman who made away with $500,000 after pretending to be a film producer. However, the real gold is to be found in the books interviews.
Campisi interviews a slew of people in the film business, all of whom give incredible insight into the world of filmmaking and Hollywood. He interviews filmmakers such as (amongst others) Tron producer, Donald Kushner, Judd Payne (Southland Tales), Morris Ruskin (Glengarry Glen Ross), Pen Densham (Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) and David Michael Latt and David Rimwai – the duo behind the infamous Asylum mockbusters. These interviews are both informative and entertaining, but they all highlight the business aspect of show business. It’s great stuff. The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to Writing a Business Plan is a must for film students, those wanting to break into the industry and even movie fans who just want to know more about the business side of their favourite art form. This is recommended reading.