Rocky Shi on Film Investing and How Modern Filmmakers Minimize Their Risks


For some investors, the ups and downs of the traditional stock market don’t offer enough excitement; they want more action and more drama – and they’re getting it with film funding. These savvy investors are well aware of the high risk associated with film financing and find ways to minimize the potential for loss, says rocky shifounder/CEO of media company Rise Entertainment and a film and television investor and producer.

Passion takes a back seat

In the past, investors may have backed a passion project from the get-go, staying the course for years based on nothing more than gut feeling, even if the actors, writers, or studios have withdrawn their commitments.

To reduce risk, investors today approach financing with a firm focus on the “commercial” part of the term. show business. They coldly take advantage of the many data analyzes available on online market platforms such as and where they can carefully select a movie to support purely from a rating perspective.

These data points offer analysis of project metrics on things like script strength, cast, production crew, financial and cast projections, and more. While it’s important to keep in mind that qualitative scoring values ​​are subjective based on each platform’s data and scoring methodology, projects with a higher score have a higher anticipated ROI. high and given curated status and then offered to investors as the crème de la crème (and therefore less risky). Another security measure: the process also facilitates the verification of investors.

why not join the crowd

Rocky Shi says that crowdfunding cannot be neglected when considering funding films because, while the approach is not without risk, it is also undeniable that the films that become successful make a ton of money for their investors.

Various sources have different vibrations: Seed and spark focuses on feature films, shorts, documentaries and experimental work for festivals and independent cinema; Indiegogo is currently the leading producer of crowdfunded movies; and Junction offers organized investments in projects with professional film investors.

Streaming content and status

In a frantic dance to grab and hold viewers’ attention, streaming platforms (e.g. Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock, etc.) are fueled by a rich river of content and it is estimated that for 2022 content spending will vary widely, ranging from around $140 billion to over $230 billion.

To push this content, everything from free trial incentives and specially priced bundles to adaptations of popular video game franchises (Halo, Paramount+) and sensational stunts (the live vampire attack experience of Netflix in March 2021 at the first action and horror film blood red sky) are used to draw viewers into libraries of original content not available anywhere else.

Rocky Shi explains that Streaming platforms and distributors are well positioned to take advantage of the wealth of content from newcomers and established filmmakers. For example, HBO Max from Warner Bros. Discovery has created a new branded content studio to connect and expand its IP. Disney is leveraging its historic library as well as current franchises to expand its streaming offerings.

Meanwhile, Netflix continues to fund many projects that push the boundaries of innovative storytelling.

Many choices as momentum grows

Ultimately, investors looking to back films will have no shortage of investment routes to travel individually or cooperatively, especially given the increased speed with which feature films move into post-theatrical distribution.

For modern filmmakers, statistical analysis will figure prominently in the investment path they choose, doing their best to quantify the reasons for success and reduce uncertainty in an industry where, while the numbers may s Add up, audience tastes can never be fully predicted.

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