If I had to state one of the most crucial things we need to focus on in the indie film world right now, I would say that working to establish a sustainable investor class ranks right at the top. If only it did not take a bit more than simply stating it... I have made over sixty films in about twenty years. Each film is a new start up with a new structure and new investors. It is not a very efficient system. Folks from The Business Community often express interest in trying to bring some greater reason to our world. I hope they succeed and I am available to help, but it is not so easy a mission.
One of the reasons that each film has it's own financial structure is that every film has its own needs. We are not making a standardized product, but we are working with artists who have developed unique talents for getting their visions and emotion up and out there. Filmmakers need a protected environment to work in.
At the same time, Investors need access to the process to trust their needs are being taken care of. These needs are most often quite different from the filmmakers'. How to provide trust, confidence, and comfort is part of what makes producing such a challenge (and pleasure).
Films need to be budgeted based on market realities and there are very few realities to base things on. Flexibility and rigidity are both needed by the investment structure. Sometimes budget increases enhance commercial prospects, but the threat of increases destabilize any trust or confidence that has already been established. There lies the rub...
Investors have different needs too so I don't think there is any more a set model for them than there is for the filmmakers. Many producers simply assume that investors want to make a profit and want to make a good film. It is far more complicated than that though.
Everyone wants to be protected, and that again is the producers role. Both Filmmakers and Investors need to declare their needs and be willing to live with what they say. Creative Control does not always come from legislation; relationship support can be the strongest asset to getting a vision widely seen. Commercial concerns may limit critical acceptance which in turn decreases commercial prospects.
It's going to take a lot of work to demystify this process of protection. I don't think there is template but I do think, with some focused effort, we can build a sustainable investment base for independent culture.