We are an SEIS-compliant Special Purpose Vehicle set up to produce the psychological horror thriller feature-film ‘Curiosity Kills’.
We are seeking £50,000 to fund production of the film.
Our team were behind ‘Two Days in the Smoke’, a London- and Paris-set thriller due for release in 2014 starring Matt Di’Angelo ('Hustle'), Lili Bordán ('Battlestar Galactica'), Stephen Marcus ('Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels') and Alan Ford ('Snatch').
‘Curiosity Kills’ is one of a slate of features with broad commercial appeal in development at Jericho Lane, featuring top British and international acting talent, high production values but modest sub-£500,000 budgets, with the aim of achieving maximum return.
With a great amount of collective experience in the industry we are specialists in making very high quality, commercially viable films for less.
With the imminent demise of the big budget feature model coupled with rapid advances in digital filmmaking, there's never been a better opportunity for intelligent, high-quality films with modest budgets like ‘Curiosity Kills’ to make an impact on the market.
With our last feature ‘Two Days in the Smoke’ we delivered a slick crime thriller, featuring a known cast, set across two countries with a soundtrack including Grammy-nominated artists.
We feel that it punched well above its weight in terms of its modest budget, and believe that ‘Curiosity Kills’ will be even more ambitious.
With an ensemble cast of British and international actors that we feel are on a par or greater than ‘Two Days in the Smoke’, we believe we have a commercial winner in ‘Curiosity Kills’.
With our no-nonsense approach to filmmaking and an overwhelming commercial perspective, coupled with the experience of the rest of our team including co-producer and ex-film distributor executive Tom Kelly (former Sales and Marketing Director for 20th Century Fox UK), we can get ‘Curiosity Kills’ to market and generate sales income within 12 months of the close of this offer.
We would also take advantage of the UK Government’s Film Tax Credit, which rebates 20-25% of the film's production costs upon completion. Provided they are not required for post-production costs, we intend to return those funds to shareholders in the form of our first dividend.
Curiosity Kills Limited will also retain the IP in the film, only licensing the rights to distributors and sharing in any profits made by them.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We are now in pre-production. Casting is underway and filming is due to start Spring 2014 subject to full subscription to this offer.
We have a wealth of experience in development, production and sales within our team, all the key aspects to delivering a great, commercially viable film.
Our senior creative team are in place, including director-producer Ben Pickering, writer-producer Darren Ripley and Director of Photography Bruce Melhuish. A film producer in his own right, Bruce’s own feature ‘The Glass Man’ (which cost £100,000 to make and starred Neve Campbell ('Wild Things') and Andy Nyman ('Kick-Ass 2')) has secured worldwide distribution and a US theatrical release in 2014. Bruce’s experience in delivering high quality product on a modest budget will be invaluable.
We also have Tom Kelly, former Sales and Marketing Director at 20th Century Fox UK, as a co-producer. Through this and other roles Tom has been involved in the selling and marketing of many, many features in his career and he will play a pivotal role in maximising sales revenue.
First income would be anticipated within 12 months of close of offer with the remainder paid to the company over the following 3-4 years. We would look for initial sales from UK sales agent Center Film Sales. There would also be profit sharing with distributors thereafter.
Initial sales income is made up of "minimum guarantee" payments by distributors to secure rights for a set number of years (usually 15-20) for specific territories and media platforms including:
• Cinema: box office receipts
• DVD/Blu-ray: royalties from DVD/Blu-ray rentals/sales
• TV: revenue from license fees paid by terrestrial, satellite and cable broadcasters
• Video-on-Demand: royalties from viewings on Netflix/downloads on iTunes
• Airlines: license fees paid for in-flight presentations.
The “minimum guarantee” payment is effectively an advance against future sales income. Distributors would then pay all distribution costs, from producing prints of the film to marketing and advertising. These expenses are commonly referred to as “P&A”.
Distributors would incur similar costs for a DVD/Blu-ray release of the film (including manufacturing and shipping costs). These costs, along with P&A and a pre-agreed distributors’ share of sales revenue, would need to be recouped before any further profits are split between distributors and the production company.
To maximise sales income and minimise risk, we would seek to license distribution rights on a territory-by-territory basis rather than seeking a blanket worldwide distribution deal.
Use of proceeds
Funds raised from the Seedrs community will be used to fund the production costs of ‘Curiosity Kills’.
Should the offer be oversubscribed, we would use surplus funds (up to an overall total capitalisation of £150,000) to also fully finance post-production without involving post-production partners. This would allow us to retain 100% of the producer profits of the film (after all distribution costs are deducted) as well as control 100% of the film’s IP going forward.
Some of the funds will be used to meet salaries for cast and crew, however these will be minimal (representing 20% of the Pact-Equity and Bectu minimums for cast and crew respectively).
Ultimately the target market for 'Curiosity Kills' is a broad cinema-going and DVD-buying audience.
Through its casting and subject matter, the film will be produced with the widest potential audience net. With an expected 15/18 film classification, we believe the primary audience will be 25-34 year-olds with a male skew (this demographic representing 19% of UK cinema-goers in 2012) but with wise casting and music link-ups, we believe the audience could be far wider with trickle-down into the 15-24 age bracket (25% of cinema-goers in 2012). At DVD/Blu-ray release we would expect to expand into the 35-44 age bracket also.
To get to that audience we need suitable distribution partners. So they are our initial target market, identifying distribution partners for the UK and Republic of Ireland, Australia/New Zealand and also North America (USA and Canada). Depending on casting choices there could also be latitude in further European as well as Asian territories.
There is often a balance to be struck between the size of any minimum guarantee payment and the investment by a distributor in the widest release of the film. Our focus would be on achieving the best long-term prospects for distribution income rather than on a one-off cash injection followed by minimal further sales income. By agreeing a smaller minimum guarantee in exchange for greater investment in marketing and P&A by distributors, we may increase impact potential and also be able to negotiate a greater share of the profits from distribution, improving income prospects in the long run.
Often on lower budget and independent films, filmmakers are wholly focused on the production side and selling the film is almost an afterthought.
For us it is integral to our business - filmmaking is after all a business and recouping investor monies is at the forefront of our minds at all times. This is one of the reasons we have attached a co-producer whose expertise is buying and selling films at such an early stage.
Characteristics of target market
In 2012, UK cinema admissions exceeded 172.5 million, the third highest figure since 2001. Cinema-going proved its resilience with cinema overtaking DVD in its share of the UK's filmed entertainment market for the first time, with box office receipts nudging a record £1.1 billion in 2012.
According to the BFI, the UK is the third largest film market in the world, generating revenues in excess of £4 billion in 2012 alone.
Internationally the filmed entertainment industry was worth a staggering $88.6 billion in 2012.
While DVD/Blu-ray sales have naturally declined as saturation is reached on older films, the newly-revitalised HMV chain in the UK plays a crucial role in acting as an outlet for lower-budget fare. Also the genuine rise in Video-on-Demand services such as Sky Box Office and more impressively Netflix will act to diversify income streams for films such as ‘Curiosity Kills’ as well as reduce the attraction of pirated copies of films.
To reach the market at the earliest opportunity, we will appoint a sales agent to represent us at the various international film markets such as the European Film Market in Berlin, the American Film Market in Santa Monica and of course Cannes.
At the earliest stage, while the film is in production if feasible, we will produce what is called a “sizzle reel” of selected scenes along with a teaser trailer to entice distributors to agree an early deal so that as soon as the film is released. We also have a co-producer whose sole role on the film will be to oversee this strategy.
In tandem with this, within the overall production budget we would run a targeted, intelligently-budgeted marketing and PR campaign aimed to demonstrate an audience for the film to distributors through Facebook and Twitter presences as well as Behind the Scenes footage and potentially "virals" on YouTube.
In anticipation of marketing for any release of the film, we would also specifically include minimum marketing duties within the contracts of our cast, with a view to placing higher profile cast members on television and radio programmes as well as in magazines.
On 'Two Days in the Smoke' we were able to exploit the profile of several of our more active cast members. A good example was Lindsay Armaou (formerly of the Irish pop group B*Witched) who played a supporting character in the film. She went on to feature on ITV's 'Big Reunion' series (which ran clips of her scenes in the film) along with chat show appearances and press articles where she promoted the film, increasing its social media profile significantly. We would expect to emulate and improve upon this with 'Curiosity Kills'.
We don't believe that we have competitors as such, in that every film has its own market and every filmmaker cultivates their own following. We have contemporaries each trying to carve out their own niche.
However we do believe that our offering is almost unique in that we aim to deliver high quality entertainment that looks and feels like it cost a lot more to make than it did. Too often some filmmakers can appear to be knocking out second-best films destined to go straight-to-video. We strongly feel that this is filmmaking for the sake of it, lacking in ambition and creativity and that there is a market niche for innovative, commercial filmmakers like ourselves with truly entertaining stories to tell and the ability to deliver those stories.
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