Power Meetings For Emerging Producers

I just finished the final of 3 days of workshops for Women in Film – Toronto Chapter. This was my 3rd year delivering one of the 4 modules of the “Business Management For Media Professionals”. Each year I’ve been refining the delivery so it was very pleasing to receive a round of applause from the 20+ students at the end of the 3rd day. Thanks to all.


When the students were receiving their certificates 4 or 5 students said they would like to have more time together – to get a guiding hand in applying what we learned to their own projects. So, I’m writing this blog to clear my head on what went right, and also as a way of asking you, the reader of this blog, if it make sense to start a series of three “Power Meetings”.


Throughout the three day module I pushed competence and management skills, along with some laughs, on the following topics:

  • Managing a Film Budget without bumbling.
  • Managing a Cost Report with a working knowledge of the terms, presentations and processes common in the industry.
  • Creating a Cashflow Out (Money Spent) on a Prep/Shoot/Wrap/Post timeline – reconciled to the budget
  • Scheduling the expected Cashflow In (Telefilm, Pre-Sales, etc – i.e. Promised Lumpy Funding Arriving in the Future) on a timeline with the Cashflow Out to find the borrowing required.
  • Understanding the development concepts of ownership, transferring of rights and knowing how to use the terms commonplace in the business of filmmaking – all with an eye towards the “Waterfall” – the sharing of revenues. After all, nobody likes a loser.
  • Knowing how to estimate the expected tax credits as a funding possibility which would be accurate and professional enough to attract investors.

In every case I brought real life budgets, cost reports, accounting forms, picture, cashflow schedules, charts, references, internet links, tax credit templates used by producers and as many short true stories as I could muster (and a bit of light-hearted humour). I must say that the students let me act up and even seemed to enjoy it when I recounted a harrowing story from my past.


Without varying too widely from the structure used during the WIFT module I am proposing 3 days of small groups, say 5 or 6 people, who have projects of their own that need kick starting from a business perspective. The meetings would have some structure, but not unbreakable.The days would be Saturdays from 1:00PM to 5:00PM at my Condo Boardroom (Yonge and Sheppard about 8 minutes from the subway) – coffee and snacks will be provided. Ideally, the students will work together in 2’s and 3’s (or not if it doesn’t work).

The structure would follow very practical aspects, such as:

  • Develop a working budget that is professional looking
  • Create a Cashflow (Out-Flow) as well as a postulated In-Flow of cash over a timeline – recognizing the borrowing required or the raising of more investment.
  • Estimating the Tax Credits expected using professional schedules
  • Preparing for a meeting with the Completion Guarantor
  • Creating a corporation and understanding the HST and income tax obligations
  • Setting up a simple accounting system to capture your development costs and understanding how that fits into your budget.
  • Working one’s way through the application for Tax Credit status.
  • (Anything else that the students want to raise).


Oops. There will be a fee. TBA.

Let me know what you think about something like this. I’ll be working on a couple of self-study courses over the next week or two then I’d like to get something like this going!

Cheers / John


About filmproduction
I have worked in the film production industry since 1985, working on over 50 different productions of every size in 6 different countries. My self-published book, "Walk The Talk" is written in an easy to read manner for film students and working professionals who haven't had the chance to learn how to 'Direct the Money'.

4 Responses to Power Meetings For Emerging Producers

  1. Amen Jafri says:

    I would definitely be interested!

  2. Girly_Geek says:

    I would be very interested in this idea – I have yet to attend the courses but I am a member of WIFT. I am completing production on a short film and will be lining up my next project soon. Please keep me in mind (if I qualify, of course). Thanks, Corine.

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