No shocker to yourself – film funding doesn’t happen by itself. Film incentives offered by the government in Canada and the film tax credits themselves play can play a huge role in the successful completion and financing of your film, TV, and digital animation projects in Canada.
As a producer, director or owner of a film, television, or digital animation project related to Canada you may have noticed the successful financing of your project doesn’t happen magically. ! What an understatement that is.
We can’t remember when any one of our clients made the claim that film financing is ‘ easy ‘. The reality is, though, that if you’re looking for a great partner who simply wants to provide you with 30-40% of your total production budget we know a guy. A ‘ guy’. Well, not really, it’s the government of Canada, and under the proper circumstances who wouldn’t want a partner like that.
The film incentives provided by the federal and provincial government in Canada total in the many million of dollars. These film tax credits can generally, as we stated, be a significant portion of your overall financing budget and challenge. Typically film funding of this type is done by independent producers as opposed to major studios, but we’re quite certain the big boys use the strategy also.
Who is surprised when we say that the film industry as a whole has a risk element to it, and when you can eliminate 30-40% of that risk right out of the gate then clearly you are on to a winning strategy.
Suffice to say a good director, cast, and story complement your strategy to win!
In film financing, as any business, it’s about money and return on investment. The interesting thing about film tax credits is that your project – TV, film and animation doesn’t necessarily have to be a commercial success – (naturally it’s nice when it is).
Can film tax credits reduce the overall risk of a project – our clients certainly believe so. Naturally those other components such as marketing, additional debt and equity financing, and pre sales and distribution round out your finance plan.
So what do you need to do to maximize on the utilization of film incentives in Canada. A ton of common sense helps. You need to be able to demonstrate to the lender that you have a project that can be fully financed (debt – equity-tax credits) and how the timing of these 3 financial components works.
Simply speaking the business side of your project has to align to the marketing and technical side of your plans. How is this done, ask clients. It is done by surrounding your self with a proper film tax credit advisor and accountant, who have the experience to guide you through the process.
Although we position the tax credits sometimes as ‘ easy money ‘ that’s certainly not the message we convey. You need to clearly demonstrate a realistic budget, how you will handle over runs, and your timelines. And we remind readers that has to do with all aspects of the industry, whether it be a movie or digital animation project a la Shrek.
The Canadian government has clearly demonstrated that they have committed millions to the tax credit film funding in Canada. Your job as a recipient of film tax credit financing in Canada is to demonstrate that budgets and schedules and other committed finances will ‘ come together . ‘Generally independent projects come together over time, and go through a predictable phase of financing , shooting, and then post production and release .
To maintain some sort of financial conservatism around that challenging timeline the industry generally requires a completion bond, which is a financial instrument that insures the project if difficulties areas of committed funds aren’t received . This type of financing bond assures your equity, debt and tax credit financier that unforeseen events will be taken care of, rather than putting your project at risk.
In summary, investigate film tax credit financing in Canada by speaking to an experienced, credible, and trusted Canadian business financing advisor. You’ll be show how film funding and the financing of your credits can be achieved on both a when filed or even on an accrual basis, assisting you further in day to day cash flow on your project .
So hopefully you have seen how using our ‘ guy “(aka government film tax credits) can help you ace your project for financial success.