From an article by Nayan Padrai on the web site of Filmmaker Magazine:
“People have always discouraged “readings” for investors, and I know why. They are usually boring for a number of reasons. Now I’ll lay out how my producing partners and I successfully raised money for our first film by staging readings.
First, here’s a little backstory on what led us to this idea that everyone tells you not to do. Our journey started in 1998 when my writing partner Ralph Stein and I first wrote the script for When Harry Tries to Marry. It was a passion project we knew we wanted to make ourselves. The script got immediate and positive reaction and scored us meetings around town. It got us hip-pocketed. We won some awards at writing contests. We even got “name” cast interested. I was accepted into the Sundance Producer’s Lab in 2004. We managed to raise a bit of financing, which eventually fell through. Then. Nothing. The script sat there for five years as life went on.
Cut to: March 2009. I had quit my job to turn to filmmaking full-time. My producing partner Sheetal Vyas and I created a very comprehensive, beautifully designed business plan, along with a full prospectus prepared by our entertainment attorney, a shooting schedule and a detailed budget. We made a list of people we could approach for funds and started sending out packages. The typical reply was, “I like the proposal, but I haven’t had a chance to read the script…”
We had to do something different. I met with Sheetal, Ralph and our co-producer Bhushan Thakkar. We reasoned that even if we could get investors to read the script on time and even if they liked it, we would face two big hurdles. I was a first-time director, and we had no cast in place. No stars. It would fall apart again.
I suggested we stage a reading: “Lets show them the movie, lets put on a show.”
Read the full article here: