The fear that one day the money might just dry up is a permanent fact of life even for established film-makers. This year's Screen International UK Film Finance Summit was a fine opportunity to take the temperature of a major international business and that underlying concern was tangible.
There's a general feeling of unease. What's not clear is whether today's market is throwing up a set of new problems that will make life more difficult in the coming years.
There are obvious short-term issues that have arisen this year. For example, the UK government is taking a fresh look at parts of its tax credit system because co-production figures have dropped dramatically.
UK film finance has settled down after a few years of turmoil in which large parts of the country's funding system were ripped up and rather uncomfortably put back together again. In place of an arcane system of soft money, there's now a transparent and stable tax credit. But this does look awfully like the tax breaks on offer in virtually every other state in the world. A level playing field is nowhere near as attractive as when you're master of a steep slope with competitors at the bottom.
But for most of the film business, these are details in a bigger picture where there's little else in sharp focus.
There's a genuine fear the private equity boom in the US is leading to a tidal wave of Hollywood product that will swamp markets around the globe. And the UK concerns are part of a more widespread fear in international territories that independent production will be squeezed to the point of suffocation.
The anomaly at conferences about UK film is the contrast between the pessimism of local producers and the enthusiasm of US visitors. Of course, some of that has to do with 'have a nice day' politesse (and perhaps British self-defeatism) but it's also that US executives have a different perspective on business.
They don't fall for the far too prevalent idea that having a seemingly bottomless pit of production money means they hold all the aces - even if a portion of that debt and equity money comes from London's very own capital markets. Globalisation has not been easy for the US in any business despite its vast wealth. Its technology and manufacturing prowess went to both India and China. Even on the streets of Detroit, there will be a very strong showing of Asian and European cars.
Indeed, many argue that it is more than possible to have too much of a good thing and that a reduction in capital because of the recent market correction is a good thing. For them finance is just one facet of the business and not the most important right now.
Chris McGurk, co-founder of new distributor Overture Films told the UK Film Finance Summit that his golden rules for success included: "controlling under unified ownership as many of the links in the distribution chain as possible before you start spending production dollars".
For all the money in Hollywood, the studios are still in the distribution game. They can, with their vast reach, lead international audiences to water but cannot necessarily make them drink.
What the studios and the new well-capitalised distributors crave more than investors is talent. Having more money than talent can create an imbalance. These distributors are big beasts that need an ever greater supply of talent and ideas. But As US veteran Mark Gill put it at this week's Production Finance Market in London: "In the US it's beastly hard to find a good script."
More US money does not necessarily mean more US product in international markets: indeed it is Overture's money that is bankrolling Last Chance Harvey, now shooting in London and McGurk is looking for a regular UK partner. The UK's current debate about film finance sometimes feels stuck in the past. It's a search to find forgotten pound coins down the back of the sofa to fund today's activity rather than a real engagement in the future and a recognition of its incredible pool of talent, pessimistic or otherwise.
All international markets are tough right now and the concerns about the future are real. But the starting point in tackling those worries must be distribution and talent not simply finding production cash.
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