On October 17th another broker came into our lives. Rob Simpson was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and had a company called Vision Angels. He seemed more interested in us personally than Michael Currie, who was turning out to be somewhat of a curmudgeon and certainly not interested in anyone much who couldn’t move quickly and provide him with money immediately.
His first email message to me asked me to telephone him the following day.
Shortly after that we had to eject David Fairman from our lives. We had a message from Michael Currie saying that he had spoken to him by telephone, and he hoped they could do a deal. I wrote back to say:
Good to know you talked to David -- hope it works out for SOUL MATES. Does David need to own the copyright on the script before funding commences?
He never mentioned anything about SOUL MATES, we are dealing with him on a different project all together.
So David Fairman was willing to use our funding contact for his own film without ever meaning to produce SOUL MATES, and Michael Currie was willing to fund that film without considering us. We ejected David Fairman from our lives immediately, and Michael Currie just faded away, to make a brief appearance at a later date.
Thank you, Michael. I am going to write to David Fairman today and withdraw SOUL MATES from him. I will no longer work with him –he deceived me.
I am withdrawing SOUL MATES from your production. Michael Currie informed me that you will be working with him on another production.
Sincerely, Debora Hill
The 26th of October was when we really got started with Rob Simpson. Larry and Michael Currie were both out of our lives for the present, and we were ready to move forward. I’d had a couple of telephone conversations with Rob, and he didn’t have Larry’s abrasive, car-salesman-like personality or Michael Currie’s brusque irritability. I sent him a summary of what we were doing at the time.
Dear Mr. Simpson,
I will be happy to telephone you tomorrow. If I don't get you, I will leave a message, and you can reach me at 707/792-7918. I would like to explain a little more about the situation before I speak with you. Here is a list of the production companies and scripts involved at this time. There could be more producers added in the future, but for now here it is:
SOUL MATES (solo romantic comedy by Debora Hill)
Producer David Fairman of Grosvenor Productions, London(Mr. Fairman withdrew from original funding due to upfront fees and lack of a prospectus from the funding company)
THE DANGER CLUB
Producers Chad Davis and Ahmed Lucan of ScriptBroker(Mr. Davis withdrew from original funding due to lack of a prospectus or any proof of former films financed; his investors were ready with their part of the money but needed some proof from SFG, which was refused)
Production by HoldinUp Productions, UK. They have been talking to investors regarding this project, and require additional funding
GO WEST, YOU IDIOT!
Producer Tom Krejci of Milk and Honey Productions(Mr. Krejci is in Europe talking to investors about this project; much of the peripheral work has already been done, and some primaries hired -- the funding is also being investigated by Frank Cmero, a Corporate fundraiser in Australia -- and his life is the subject of the film).
In addition to these, Debra Bassett of Bassett Productions has evinced interest in producing one of our scripts set in California, but it has not gone beyond this. British director Peter Manoogian asked us to write a script for our first collaborative fantasy novel, THE LAND OF THE WAND, published in 2006 -- we sent him the script over a month ago and haven't heard from him again; he indicated that he was scouting locations in Egypt, so we hope to hear from him again.
Now that you know more about the situation, I will talk to you tomorrow morning! Thank you,
Sincerely, Debora Hill
Attached are the sample funding agreement for your review and two Vision Angels agreements, which you may fax back to us at 954-208-8429.
Also what we need from you to get you funding are the following:
Synopsis (no script)
Distribution (if any)
Shooting Schedule (if any)
Attachments, Deal Memos, LOI's (helpful but not necessary}
Thanks and we look forward to helping you receive your
We certainly didn’t have all of these things, but we decided to get as much together as we could.
Thank you for sending the documents regarding Vision Angels. I read them with my business partner over the weekend -- long and complicated! But, it sounds like an excellent offering. I have a couple of questions:
1. May I send the documents to our agent on GO WEST, YOU IDIOT! and THE DANGER CLUB, and the producers involved? There are four we're working with at this time -- two have most of the material you require, two are just starting out and it will probably be a few months before they would be ready, but I'd like them to know the conditions of the funding.
2. Is it possible to set up a slate of films for Lost Myths Ink? We still own the copyrights on our scripts and will until we're paid the writer's fees; we noticed in the agreement that the producers are required to own the copyrights, but they won't be able to pay us until funding is received, so we would like to set up the process through our company for the slate, then have the individual producers work with you on their productions. Don't know if this is possible, just a thought...
3. Regarding the escrow account of 10% of the budget for a particular film; if we are able to implement #2 above, would the escrow amount required be for each film as if is submitted for funding?
4. Regarding #6 of the 'Film Producers Finder's Fee Agreement' -- says you and William Hicks are not negotiating the film fund, just introducing the producers to the investors. How would that work? The other documents seem to say that you would be in charge of the funding.
That's all my thoughts for now...let me know what you think!
Sincerely, Debora Hill
Lost Myths Ink has signed a funding agreement with Vision Angels LLC. They have agreed to set up a film slate for LMI scripts; I am forwarding their documents to you at this time. We have signed an NDNC and finders' fee agreement with them for LMI; we feel that after two false starts -- Secured Funding Group via Jetta Consultants and Rushlight via Michael Currie, Vision Angels is what we've been looking for in a funding opportunity. They will provide 100% financing, and their package is clearly outlined in these documents. What is required to start the financing process is attached.
As you can see, not everything is required upfront, we of course have the synopsis, you would be responsible for the rest, although we are happy to help in any way we can. Jen and Peter; we know you are still at the beginning of the process, but if you could provide a timeline it would help. I will need to set up conference calls for you with Robert Simpson; please let me know if this will work for you, once you have reviewed the attachments.
There were still some considerations. Frank pointed out that 10% was required in an escrow account as a security, and that wasn’t a small amount for a film production.
they require a commitment fee of 10% to be deposited into Escrow by client. It means we have to come with 5 million first before they provide the Letter of Credit. We might be in the same position we were with Jetta and the others.
Is 50 million minimum amount and can it be used for different films? If the funding is working do you want to continue on the production with Tomas or we find somebody else?
The 50 million is a sample amount; I spoke to Rob Simpson on the phone today and he will make our fund for the amount needed for either one or the whole slate of films. Theirs is the best offering thusfar because they take less of the film after the loan is repaid and they provide all their information upfront. We would be willing to continue with Milk and Honey or work with Tomi Streiff, who should have no problem with the 10% if he decides to direct.
October 30, 2007
I spoke to Ahmed Hussain at ScriptBroker this morning, and they are still eager to produce THE DANGER CLUB. I believe I told you a little about the situation before, but basically Ahmed and his business partner Chad Davis fell out of the SFG financing because there was no material available for their investors regarding the structure of the financing, timeline, etc. And the president of SFG refused to provide any information regarding productions funded in the past.
Ahmed and Chad would like to talk to you now. I will send you another communication when I hear from others.
Blessed Be, Debora Hill
The first problem came up almost immediately, which was why Rob Simpson would prove to be the last so-called ‘film fund coordinator’ we would attempt to work with. The heads-up came from David Carroll, a producer at a company in Silicon Valley called Sidereal Films.
It is good to hear from you again. I hate to be skeptical, but in my 2 years of research into film financing, I have been told repeatedly by industry veterans that no real financing deal requires the client to pay the financing organization or the finder before the receipt of cash funds. I was burned by a similar deal 18 months ago, from a film financing company in Texas/Spain with a funding agent in LA. I also found another offer like this one in Georgia.
I would suggest that you be very very careful of any deal that requires you to put your money in "escrow" to get funding. I am especially concerned about the wording of the "escrow agreement". Do these funders have reliable references like an well known insurance or completion bond company? Bank references? Film distributors? Can they provide a list of other producers and films actually funded and completed? Happy clients? If they are providing 100% funding, why does anyone else have to put up a dime?
I have been told that commitment fees are not used in film financing, only in mortgages to lock in a rate. Except for the escrow requirement, the statement that the LOC is in the name of the TRUST, and the vague "back-end commercial exploitation" take over clause it sounds like a possibly real deal. Also, if they are in Florida, why is the escrow attorney in Indiana? Again, I wish the best for you and I would love to work on a project with you, but I must express my concerns about this kind of deal. Ask an entertainment attorney in Hollywood. Mark Litwak for example. Best wishes and good luck (again).
David Carroll Sidereal Films
Hello again, David;
I well understand your concerns, and to be honest, I don't know these things -- we're just the writers, after all. I'm leaving all that to the producers, but -- this is the best deal we've come across. Larry Withowski and the Secured Funding Group proved to take 50% of the film and required not money to be put into an equity account (from what I've been told, that's to ensure the completion of the film) but to be paid to them before funding was received. Add to that they refused to provide any past history or films they financed; ScriptBroker lost ODESSA and the funder they had for our script, THE DANGER CLUB, because of this.
The second funder we dealt with, Rushlight in Canada, wanted a minimum of 40% from the producers...and weren't appearing to offer more than Vision Angels. We'll see what happens; we're working on selling a script directly to TriCoast International. We didn't actually start out wanting to go in the direction of private financing, but we're willing to do whatever it takes...It was good to hear from you again! Maybe one day...working together!
Blessed Be, Debora Hill
The first week in November we were mostly working on connecting the producers with Vision Angels. On the 15th Rob telephoned me very excited about a new deal he had for us, then he sent us this letter:
This is an important, general email from Rob Simpson and
Bill Hicks, Executive Producers from Vision Angels. We are now accepting from today through to December 20th, packaged projects from $1M -$300M, for our next round of funding which will commence on January 15th of 2008. You must have the following
in order to be considered for funding:
1. Synopsis (No Scripts)
2. Executive Summery of Film LLC.
4. Proof of Funds of 10% of proposed Budget
Your letter for the P.O.F. must come from a bank, financial institution or an investor with the name of the account holder and their account number so that it can be verified that the 10% of your proposed budget is available to be put in escrow for 60-75 days prior to full funding-which will be released in a a draw down schedule.
Should your project meet with approval, we will schedule a conference call with the Director of the Trust, whereby you can learn the name of the Trust, obtain references and conduct your due diligence. No information regarding the Trust will be forth coming until you submit your packaged project and are approved. If you have any pressing questions that can't wait, call us but as we are swamped with requests, we prefer short emails.
Best Regards, Rob Simpson
Having spoken to Rob that morning, we now embarked on what would be the hardest and longest of our proposal efforts. As it happened the time frame was too short for us to get the proposal finished, but around that time we met Ian Christensen, a production planner from Phoenix who became our Production Coordinator for over a year. Rob decided that THE DANGER CLUB was the closest to having the requirements for funding ready, with GO WEST, YOU IDIOT! Second. We hadn’t worked with Tom Krejci since leaving Larry Withowski, and at the time were considering a director named Tomi Strief for the film. But his ideas were so far out of the ballpark that we realized no one would even take a proposal from him seriously – he wanted to change the ending of the film, which was Frank and Katarina and their friends at the Sydney Opera House, watching their son Mark play the piano in his first professional concert, to Mark trashing the piano as some kind of a symbol of a rejection of Western values. Wow, that would really play in Peoria. So GO WEST was shelved for the month of December while we worked on the proposal for THE DANGER CLUB.
We couldn’t enter the December round for funding; Ian Christensen came onboard the middle of December, so it looked like we would be able to the enter the January round for THE DANGER CLUB.