Unlikely Sources for Television Production Funding

2 min

One of the greatest challenges that any filmmaker can face is coming up with the funds necessary to bring the film from inception to completion. When it comes to television production funding, there are the general, most common practices, such as finding a major television studio to buy the script – which can leave you on the outside looking in – or you can seek out an alternate source of funding in order to maintain control of your script.

You can always contact your immediate family and friends to seek some level of funding, but for the most part, this is not going to bring you a great deal of money needed to produce and film your television pilot, let alone several episodes. You could always shoot your pilot episode and then shop it around to those major studios, of course, but your success will be very limited indeed. Ultimately, though, you will want to film several episodes, at the bare minimum, which means you will need some more significant sources of funding.

Shopping the global market for funding

Your script is your sales pitch. Yes, you have your tagline and other information as your calling card, but the major pitch that you will have at your disposal is your script. Storyboards and any other potential items that will boost your presentation can help you land the funding you need. When you have these in hand, then you can seek out production companies in other regions of the world, outside of Hollywood.

Pre-sale deals with distributors

Distributors can be a potential source of funding as well. Pre-sales of foreign film rights can net television film producers a significant portion of their funding. At the same token, selling domestic sales percentages can also bring in a fair amount of funding for any television filming as well.

Company funding

If you have locations or products that would be ideal for your television filming, you could find potential funding from these companies. Major players in Hollywood call this product placement, but in those instances, it is more for gaining rights to use these common, everyday products in the film, but in this instance, you would be looking to secure funding support in exchange for specific product placement.

Would you film work better with a Volkswagen than an Audi? Perhaps the VW Beetle is a part of your script and is actually a character in the script. You could contact the Volkswagen company to find out if they would fund any part of your television script.

There are literally thousands of major companies that you could contact to find funding.

Seek out small business funding

If you could film a part of your television series in or around a small business, or a series of businesses, then you might be able to secure some funding from these businesses. Imagine the publicity that a small, local business could gain from your filming in or around its premises. They could advertise your show while taking advantage of your using their business for your filming.

Private funding

You can also enlist private investors in your television production. Some people would want a percentage of gross revenue while others may simply want their name attached to the show in some form or another. Private investors can go a long way toward helping you reach your funding goals. Don’t overlook anyone and don’t turn away any amount of funding. Every penny will make a difference in the end.


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Rick Davis


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