Author Tom Malloy has worked in the independent film industry for over a decade as a writer, actor and producer. Readers of his book, BANKROLL, will appreciate his breadth of experiences because it informs the text with an insiders’ understanding of the industry in which audiences seek to thrive. Over the last ten years, Tom has done the leg work necessary to distill the steps of financing into 205 enjoyable pages. His work includes bottom-line advice, anecdotal illustrations and detailed examples of what to do, and what not to do, when attempting to finance your film. He explores every major area of finance, including: contracts, strategies, business plans, investor pitches, legal advice and distribution. The information in this book provides a great structure to work within when developing the details of your personal finance strategy.
BANKROLL by Tom Malloy is a step-by-step master class on financing independent films with budgets between $300,000 and $8 million. Even though many MicroFilmmaker reader budgets are much smaller than that, the information contained here is still relevant and applicable to our community. In the introduction, Tom explains that, over the years, he has spent much of his free time at coffee shops and restaurants sharing his experiences with aspiring filmmakers. In BANKROLL, Tom includes the same advice he’d presumably give over a cup of java and croissant. A short excerpt from the book exposes his rationale:
“To have more time for my family and my work, I decided to put all my techniques into a book. I’ve succeeded in raising money for films, and I know you want to do the same. I’m not holding anything back. I’m revealing all the techniques and tricks I use so that you, too, can make your dream a reality. It’s not easy to raise money for your film. But it can be done. Here’s how.”
I found BANKROLL to be a very easy read. I extend kudos to Mr. Malloy for being able to sum up the entire film financing process without overwhelming his readers. Each brief chapter deals with a different facet of the process; laid out in order of action. An aspiring filmmaker can begin reading this book with no idea of how to go about financing his or her film, and produce a completely actionable plan upon finishing it. Stories of Tom’s personal experiences add to the richness of the read. His audience can easily tell that he’s refined his techniques through the school of hard knocks. He also takes great care in providing in-depth illustrations of more complex concepts like business plans and distribution deals.
BANKROLL takes audiences through the film finance process from start to finish. After reading the text, I couldn’t think of any additional areas that needed to be addressed. It’s an incredibly deep learning tool that audiences can read in one sitting. However, they will likely consult it again and again throughout the process of developing their financing strategy. Chapters are broken down according to independent topic. Audiences can easily put the book down for a while and come back to it later without being disoriented or having to review content. BANKROLL is much like an instructional DVD. When audiences have completed it, they are ready to be productive immediately.
BANKROLL is an absolutely engaging read. I have personally worked in film and media industries for over a decade. I found Mr. Malloy’s stories to be not only entertaining, but reflective of my own experiences. This identification created an air of familiarity and comradery with the author that most books of this nature don’t possess. Tom’s conversational style adds to the experience. While reading the book, I felt as if I were sitting with him at one of the diner meetings he describes in his book. (Hopefully I would’ve had the money to pay his bill though!) I’ve met enough people who’ve experienced only a fraction of Tom’s success but are arrogant and aloof. It’s refreshing to learn from someone who’s down-to-earth and whose goal is to educate others.
I think BANKROLL has a high reusability factor. The information in the book is not trendy. Like a classic piece of clothing, its design will stand the test of time. I recommend keeping it visible on your office shelf and referencing it before, during and after your various projects and pitches.
BANKROLL’s purchase price is $18.95. That amount of money will not buy much in today’s economy. I dare say it would be impossible for that figure to even cover the cost of transportation for most filmmakers to attend any credible lecture or seminar on this topic. Tom Malloy has both experience and success on his side. He has made a name for himself not only in Indiewood in general, but in the fierce competition of Los Angeles that “makes” some and “breaks” others. Since Mr. Malloy is probably not going to be giving a seminar in your hometown any time soon, I suggest you do the next best thing. Buy the book.
In summary, BANKROLL is a treasure trove of technique, wisdom and insight related to surviving and thriving in the independent film industry and independent film financing. The information contained in it will aid filmmakers in any stage of financing their projects. Beginners will appreciate the comprehensive and prescriptive nature of the book. Filmmakers who have already financed a film or are encountering obstacles along the way will appreciate the many approaches explained here to help them refine and sharpen their strategies. Mr. Malloy is right when he says financing films is difficult, but it can be done. Reading this book and applying its principles will better position you to do what few others can successfully do……find the money. Good luck to you all. Now get going!