One Door Studios provides both hourly and project-based consulting

Our work provides motion picture/TV producers strategies for engagement of financing, global distribution and exploitation.

  • Directing Global Distributor Presentation materials creation

  • Engaging Completion Bond

  • Engaging Global Collection Relationship

  • Engaging Production Bank Loan

  • Global Exploitation Orchestration of Project Ancillary Rights and Products

  • Tracking, auditing and optimizing collections

  • Tracking, auditing and oversight of distributing funds disbursements to participants

  • Script read and initial finance and distribution report

  • Project Greenlight Analysis, Documentation and Report

  • Completed Motion Picture Sales and Branding Strategies and Sales

  • Planning and Authoring of Single or Multiple Project Development Company Business Plans

  • Negotiation and Documentation for Rights Acquisitions and talent engagement

  • Production Funding Architecture, Strategies and Engagement

Multiple Motion Picture Development Company Confidential Investment Memorandum (CIM) Planning and Authoring

This is the business plan narrative and partnership agreement used to engage private financing for motion picture development.

Each memorandum includes:

  1. planning and preparing of the company’s activity and cash flow projections;

  2. origination and authoring the development company’s plan and offering;

  3. preparation company history and management biographies;

  4. state and federal securities declarations and compliances;

  5. tax commentaries;

  6. Partnership Agreement and Certificate; and

  7. offeree questionnaires and subscription documents.

Each offering is delivered complete, ready for engagement by sophisticated investors.

Each offering’s cost is determined by the scope of business objectives, country in which the production company is based, and the variable securities venues with which the offering must comply.

Motion Picture Internal Greenlight

This discovers each picture’s vital information upon which studios and major international distributors principally base their decisions relative to distribution and related licensing. It includes a breakdown of each picture’s campaign elements, at least one :30 second television/internet commercial or theatrical trailer script, the picture’s target audience(s) definition, comparable pictures and their campaigns and global earnings, the picture’s estimated global gross earnings, the producer’s share of these earnings and its relationship to the picture’s budget, plus other related business and creative data.

The first step delivers a campaign breakdown, campaign script, preliminary comparative picture and audience composition analyses, and initial global earnings summary.

The second step delivers finalized comparable pictures and audience compositions analyses, comparable picture campaigns, the picture’s finalized global liquidation breakdown (including Producers Share and Greenlight ratio), and the picture’s final global business narrative.

Client provides the below-the-line and above-the-line budget estimates. (One Door Studios will prepare the below-the-line budget for approximately $3,000).


Managing Director John Lee has conducted business, distribution, and finance services on over 20 studio released films, including…


Additional Services

For Producers

Reverse Greenlights for completed pictures, studio, international territory distributor, and motion picture rights negotiation, documentation and management, talent negotiations and documentation, presale planning and negotiations, bank memorandum preparation, submittal and management, and organization restructuring.

For U.S. Studios

Independent producer screenings; pre-release target audience profiles; and reverse Greenlights for completed pictures.

For Banks

Global picture valuations; establishing or refining gap financing models; and coordinating US and international entertainment lending programs.

For Investors

Entertainment portfolio management; media investment analysis; special investment project negotiations and documentation; and resolution of media investment disputes.

The Seven Major Principles and Practices Common Among the Most Successful Producers

There are seven key principles and practices consistently employed by the most successful independent motion picture producers for all screens. It is assumed that you have solid story sense, deep producing craft and a nose for the audience. These seven are in addition, they are all business related and are substantially easier to implement as a part of your life and your production empire than the creative talent you have already hard won. Engaging these seven principles and practices will dramatically increase your creative freedom, packaging power, and profits share.

These seven principles may be reviewed more completely in “The Producer’s Business Handbook,” available here and at major book outlets and libraries. If you want to receive more personalized help organizing, or more importantly engaging them into your production organization you are invited to schedule a meeting.

1 Each uses an Internal Greenlight System

Understanding how networks and studios green light projects allows production entities to replicate this process. The internal Greenlight system allows producers to evaluate the strength of project before a studio or distributor meeting.

The discoveries from this absolutely critical process becomes the center of each project’s financial future in their territory and rights category(ies).

2 Each operates with Fully Funded Development.

Without question, under capitalization is the primary reason for production company failure. Development is sophisticated, time-consuming, and expensive. It should be approached with similar planning and funding as production. Producers should have separate development planning and funding, sufficient to develop a slate of pictures.

This is the foundational practice, allowing each picture to predictably, unshakably move through development and into production and distribution.

3 Each Engages U.S. and International Territory Distribution Relationships for Each Project During its Development.

Internal Greenlights are confirmed first with a US studio and subsequently with a major distributor in each major international territory. These confirmations are crucial in each picture’s development and the beginning of highly beneficial creative and marketing collaboration.

As globalization and media convergence accelerate, international markets provide ever-greater income. Each picture’s early establishment of these relationships contribute a broad array of essential elements, including casting and location considerations, cover-shot clarification and early teaser/PR branding.

This process defines and clears the pathway to each picture’s optimized global audiences and income.

4 Each primarily or exclusively uses Bank Production Financing.

The primary importance of this practice is not the obvious advantages of low bank interest and possible copyright ownership of each picture. These are both valuable, but even more beneficial is that bank production financing pushes the producer into global distribution relationships for each picture during development. These relationships enable the exploration of pre-sale collateral relationships and virtually insures every picture produced has solid, global distribution, including at least the US and six major international territories with collaborative maturity from commencement of after-Greenlight development, months preceding production.

This is the catalyst that solidifies each picture’s business integrity.

5 Each Plans the Rights Liquidation and either Sells Some Rights directly or participates in these sales.

This is beginning with the end in mind. Understanding the vast array of highly profitable ancillary sales areas, planning these rights sales with the producer negotiating and closing some of these sales, substantially increases the producer’s profitability and advances each picture’s distribution power.

This is the key to protecting each picture and maximizing its profitability.

6 Each Participates in the Campaign Management of their projects in the US and the major international markets.

Campaign creative, media planning and media buying exists in a highly sophisticated world of their own. Few producers even understand the semantics. However, knowing target audiences must have a minimum pre-opening reach and frequency from all sources (media buys, viral campaigns and PR) to deliver minimally acceptable box office gross, allows producers to anticipate each picture’s opening week-end with more understanding than trepidation. Opening weekend GBO rarely surprise studio distribution chiefs. They know fairly closely what box office results each campaign will deliver.

This is the ultimate topspin for each picture’s profits.

7 Each is a Balanced Producer, giving equal weight to creative, audience and profits.

Production of the story only seems like the producer’s primary objective. When the picture is completed, especially if it fulfills the producer’s creative objective, is when it is inescapably clear that the picture’s capacity to play to its audiences, and return a profit to the producer are equally important with its creation. Balanced producers sustain an EQUAL check and balance between these three. Producers should: understand their creative craft and remember that audiences experiencing their creations determine each picture’s income.

This creative, audience and profits balance assure the stability of each picture as it passes through the processes of development, production and distribution.

Motion picture investors typically finance distribution, production and/or development. There are massive differences between these opportunities in risk, return of investment timing, and historical performance. The next few paragraphs reveal some of the differences between development and production funding, explain their performance dynamics and offer pragmatic counsel that can help investors qualify viable investment opportunities and optimize returns.

The very nature of each private offering affirms there is risk. Key questions are whether the risks are reasonable in relation to one’s portfolio and the possible reward.

Approximately ninety percent (90%) of all US motion picture investments fund production. In 2010 there were approximately 1,900 private US motion picture production offerings funded. This total financing exceeded a stunning $2 billion. Historically, well over half of these investments are not returned to their funders, and most of these do not return any investor capital. The reason these investments predominate is that they flood the marketplace, with over 8,000 on the street annually, and they are pitched passionately by mostly well-meaning producers and their representatives.

By contrast, last year US private investors financed approximately twelve motion picture development offerings for a total low nine figures. Historically, most of these offerings return their investment capital and some profits.

There is a reason for these traditionally high losses and returns. The next few paragraphs explain the dynamics of these processes and will be a convincing dialogue to all who read, to never, unless return of capital is not a primary requirement, participate in the high-risk dynamic associated with production financing that comes entirely from private investors.

Bank Production Financing

The most successful and powerful production companies chiefly obtain their production financing from banks. The greatest advantage to the picture and its participants is not the retained equity and substantially lower interest. The greatest advantage is derived by the necessity of engaging distributor and other relationships providing the project its earnings relationships prior to production, as well as much of its needed bank loan collateral.

Simply stated, bank loans drive producers to develop and produce their pictures in close collaboration with major global territory distributors. This collaboration assures each picture’s maturing in the major global markets over several months preceding its production, and importantly almost guarantees sufficient distribution to return all funds to lending and investment sources and at least some profits.

Private Production Financing

Producers using non-bank financing can produce their pictures without major territory collaboration. Releasing motion pictures theatrically is sophisticated and costly. The average motion picture US theatrical release expenses are currently $50 million each picture. Motion pictures are slated on studio release schedules twelve to thirty months in advance. Producers may boast low production costs, but distributors demand pictures with sufficient earnings power to offset each picture’s high cost of brand establishment.

Ancillary sales including electronic games, mobile apps, brand tie-ins, books, soundtracks and merchandise must be set seven to twenty-four months in advance of theatrical release. Producers waiting until after their picture is produced to seek distribution, place themselves in the poorest negotiating position and put their pictures earning’s at risk.

Unless they have distribution relationships already set, typically producers seeking full private production financing lack the business capacity and experience to engage the global marketplace and bank financing’s crucial advantages.

Private Development Financing

Producers using bank financing often use private development funding. This funding delivers them a substantial advantage of being able to option literary properties, attach directing and acting talent and culture multi-territory relationships for their pictures. This funding also enables producers to develop and produce multiple picture slates and own the copyrights to their pictures.

Development funding is usually accomplished through subscribing investors in multi-picture development company offerings. The development company is owned by the production company and the investors. These offerings may prescribe a pre-set purchase price for each developed picture, to be paid by each producing company. The number of pictures developed and the purchase price of each picture may be configured in a manner to return the investors capital before the pictures are produced or distributed, and to provide a safety net allowing for one or more of the pictures to not complete development without destabilizing the development company.

There are a variety of development offering structures, but most are designed to return investors capital and some profits from development fees earned by each picture and also to participate in the completed pictures’ earnings.

The Most Important Question To Ask Producers or Their Representatives

Are these investment funds principally for production or development?

If the offering is for production funding and they do not have a US theatrical negative pick-up relationship, or license, and/or other agreements that total more than half the picture’s cost, walk away. Consider these statistics: In its highest distributor pick-up year, the Sundance Film Festival odds were one in four hundred. Approximately 2,000 pictures in all categories apply, approximately 200 are accepted and five were picked-up. The lowest year was two pick-ups. That was one in one thousand odds. This is unreasonable risk.

There are two uniquely important celebrity producer attributes that are ironically polar-opposites. The first is a star’s high-value position of both being an audience icon, as well as having exceptional entire to other celebrity acting talent, directors, studio heads, commercial and private funding sources. The offsetting quality is a star’s typical lack of global entertainment business experience. The chasm between these two renders star producers uncomfortably vulnerable – although highly sought after.

Because of this potent combination of power and vulnerability, star producers, more than any others, are benefited via developing a thorough understanding of all the vital aspects of the global business of motion picture development, production, distribution and finance. This understanding will protect them from poor decisions, enable them to move on opportunities with confidence, facilitate their discernment to select and direct a crack development and production team, allow them to establish achievable short and long term goals and financial projections, and empower them to organize their entertainment empire in harmony with their finest vision.

To know and use the fundamental principles and practices of the motion picture industry’s most successful producers, provides order, confidence and a predictable profitable outcome for every picture. Each project may not be the creative and financial success hoped for- yet, each can be both produced and profitable.