Why did I invest in a Film?

Why did I invest in a film?

"Most creatives couldn't run a bath, let alone a business!"

Why invest in a film? Tax incentives. No, tax incentives assume you are going to make a profit and with a film that is far from certain. Vanity. Possibly, but you are not likely to see me on a silver screen soon. There is going to have to be a better reason. I invest in technology start ups to make a decent return and I enjoy helping them navigate through the normal growth issues. 

You hear stories of the investors who put money into some low-budget blockbuster, but have you ever actually met any of these supposed winners?

I invested in the movie "Panic Button" only to make money.

The story was timely and relevant. "The Social Network" was just released as filming started.

The producers actually delivered on time and within budget (£300,000).

The key question is whether you can actually make any money from film.

As an angel investor in film production you are so far removed from any ability to control the outcome. The script, the director, the cast, the crew, the weather, the editor, the equipment, the audio and the endless list of hangers-on are all involved in the process. Then it's getting a distribution agreement without giving too much of the upside away. It’s such a subjective process.

With normal product development you have some oversight of the process, measure that things are progressing to an agreed schedule, doing some market tests and tweak to the end customers need and requirement. With a low budget film, it's ‘get it in the can’ as quick as possible and hope they got it right. Re-shooting or editing is just throwing more money at what may be an unsolvable problem. Expecting to be able to influence anything in the process would be foolish due to the medium.

 We set out to develop ‘franchisable’ IP (Panic Button - the series!) and a multiple platform property with very little funding. We wrote the book, released the soundtrack and developed the 'win-an-iPad' game on the social network, www.all2gethr.com, featured in the movie. Games developers failed to see how we could develop on the story line without upsetting Facebook - the platform they all thought we should go to market on!

The process required the film capture the mood of issues facing social networking. The film had to be entertaining and be a good springboard for discussion, hence inviting the next opportunities. The reviews are very good.

We are at profit with the UK video distribution. We have sold into other territories and are about to access the US market.

Would I invest in a film again? NO. Until the next time …..

January 2012


All material copyright David Hulston Associates Ltd.  @davidhulston1
Meet the team

David Hulston

Indycube Ventures

Indycube Ventures offers funding and expert advice to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs and small-business owners based at coworking space network Indycube are being offered access to a half-million-pound annual funding stream and expert advice.



"We have benefited greatly from David's experience, counsel and contacts on a wide range of issues. His past experience in the IP space is particularly useful to Inngot, but even without that, he is just the sort of investor and non-executive director a high growth business needs. He sees potential, makes connections, and keeps us focused on the things that matter."Martin Brassell, CEO, Inngot Ltd