The Value of What We are Doing
This was a reply to a poster on the Crowdcube forum. I have reprinted it as a blog post regarding the value that Cassian brings to the business and how the model works in favour of the investor...
Cassian has put the Utopia Road project into the ownership of Movie Collective: the property of the screenplay, the attachment of its director Rosson Crow, the many 1000s hours of development, the attachment of such fine actors such as Anjelica Huston, Rebecca Hall and Garrett Hedlund. This project here, is now in the ownership of Movie Collective. See here:
Rosson's debut short was at Sundance. We have a real chance of launching her at the same festival with her debut feature. This connection to Sundance is very valuable. Cassian and Rosson have history there.
The value Cassian has added to Movie Collective is an entire movie, ready to shoot this Summer and his experience in being able to attach talent for the many other projects, arrange finance and start distribution at prestige festivals like Sundance. The investors who are pledging will be part owners of all these projects. None of us, including Cassian, are doing this for a fee or salary.
I have put into the company, three further projects and we are about to add another two projects. This was my blog about how we chose those four projects:
I have seen the pre-sale estimates - top and bottom - for Utopia Road. It is upon these estimates that debt finance is in place, alongside gap financing against state tax credits.
We are basing our numbers on the bottom end of the Utopia Road foreign sales estimates. We are assuming US sales (gross domestic) at zero - which is the standard practice in this model.
Cassian has done this many 100s of times through his career. If you watch this video, where Cassian is hosting a film finance talk, you will get a better understanding of the model we are using. The only difference is this. We are replacing the high net worth individual with the crowd.
This is a producer who has overseen movies including Dallas Buyers Club, Slingblade, Monster's Ball, Blue Valentine, Lawless, The Butler and many others including Mudbound (which he sold to Netflix for $12.5 - the highest sale of Sundance in 2017).
In his capacity as a Producer, or an Exec Producer, Cassian has employed the following actors:
Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Burt Reynolds, James Spader, Nicolas Cage, Charlie Sheen, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Woody Harrelson, Hank Azaria, Sean Penn, Bill Paxton, James Caan, Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, Antonio Banderas, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche, Al Pacino, Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Bradley Cooper, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, Robert Redford, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams, Matthew McConaughey, Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Sam Rockwell, Sienna Miller, Brendan Fraser, Vince Vaughn, Kevin Costner, James Franco, Robert Pattinson and many others - too many to list.
We are doing something different. We are taking a smaller amount of money from a larger group of people. This money will form the bulk of the equity in the first project Utopia Road.
The money that will come back from Utopia Road, once it is finished and sold - based on conservative estimates from a reputable Hollywood sales agency - reputable enough for lenders to lend the money for the rest of the finance package for Utopia Road - will come back to Movie Collective with a profit (albeit a small profit).
That money is then recycled into the next project - Crazy Blue and so on. It's sustainable, longterm, sensible and it doesn't require many millions to get us all started. At each stage, no one is taking a fee or salary - so its a very efficient use of the money.
Yes, there is a risk, it might not come back at all. I accept that. There is also a chance it might be a lot more too. This, is the movie business. But the sales estimates are good enough to trigger the debt from a lender. So at some level, a risk assessment has already taken place via these lenders. That should be a comfort to investors.
Also, one of these projects may EXCEED expectations. So the investors, who are putting in a relatively small amount (given that it could finance a slate) will get many bites at the cherry to have success.
Imagine taking a "punt" on a movie, and then being able to use the same money to take a "punt" on the next movie and so on. The same money is recycled many times through a slate of projects - therefore giving the investor multiple opportunities to strike big.