Duncan Cork came to the idea for Slated when he was trying to finance a film and funding came up a million pounds short. He was eager to find a way to make up the difference with more than one investor. So with some help from some collaborators, they created that marketplace.
Slated provides film producers with a chance to put their films in front of a small network of people eager to invest a fair amount of money in them. A typical investment on Slated goes from $25,000 to $200,000. Many of these films are using Kickstarter or IndieGoGo to prove there’s an audience who’s excited before coming over to Slated to flesh out the budget. So far, there are over 180 features and $2 billion represented on the site.
Safety and trust are key to persuading film funders to deal with the site. "We’re sensitive to the celebrities and other high-net-worth individuals on our site," Cork explained. "It’s a closed community of trusted people. We believe strongly in the projects we select. That’s what’s allowing people to be comfortable to write those $25,000 or sometimes $250,000 checks. They know the filmmakers have gone through a lot of scrutiny; there’s a high bar to get on the site."
The team at Slated is always happy when someone who would never have met a filmmaker comes on board with a big check after discovering the project on their site. Recent examples include Christian Camargo’s "The Seagull," which raised its money when it attached Katie Holmes and William Hurt, and Marina Zenovich's "Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out."
"The Way Way Back," which sold to Fox Searchlight for Sundance's biggest deal this year, gained a lot of interest on the site when the film attached Steve Carrell to star. But none of the Slated members who expressed interest acted quickly enough; producers secured funds from a previously known investor. Cork and Paternot use that story to prove to investors that big deals can be easily missed.
Cork said the biggest challenge is explaining to some people that this could help them do their job more easily. "We’re concentrating on a lot of education on how to use the technology," he said. "We’ve created a simple and elegant solution to address the problems. Now, we’re concentrating on helping people use it."
"It’s not a quick sprint," said Paternot. "The goal is to help the existing industry use our tools, to help Hollywood become more successful and transparent than it already is." Slowly, the company has worked with more trusted names – talent agencies, film institutes, curators, sales agents – to build up an impressive roster.