Physical Address: 4265 San Felipe Street, Suite 1100, Houston, Texas 77027
Mailing Address: Box 22091, Houston Texas 77227
Email Us:

Development Financing

1. If you have a script (property) that needs development money, and you have not yet taken it to the "Private Placement Memorandum" (PPM) stage, the Fund views this situation as a unique opportunity and would like to talk to you about Development Funding and how it will facilitate the PPM process.  We ask that the script be matched to a “named director” (IMDbPro STARmeter ranking of 4000 or better) and a “named actress or actor” (IMDbPro STARmeter ranking of 2000 or better). The ratings give an indication of the perceived marketability of a film during distribution as well as ultimate risk for ROI.

2. The following documents, normally referred to as a "Producer's Package", need to be provided to the fund for evaluation of funding. The review and funding process normally takes 2 to 6 months.

1.     Treatment and/or copy of US Copyright registered script

2.     Non-Disclosure agreement

3.     Legal opinion letter on the copyrights for the script or book and the legal status of the ‘movie rights’ *

4.     Business Plan with a full production budget - Below and Above the Line (preferred format Movie Magic)

5.     LLC documents for the Movie’s Name and Script if set up under a Special Purpose Company (SPC)

6.     Producer Agreements if any

7.     Production Schedule (preferred format Movie Magic)

8.     Agreements in place with writers concerning residuals

9.     Director and Actor nominees that meet the Fund's critieria

3. The Fund does not encourage you at this stage of development, prior to the project being taken to PPM, to get bogged down in discussions on residual commissions or talent commissions, expectations; these will fall into place after the PPM is funded and in accordance with the P&A requirements. The distribution and P&A plans will drive residuals availability offered to the creative parties and investors. 

4. With development funding in place, the manager and attorneys with the Fund will underwrite offers to approved, bankable actors and directors. Underwriting these offers is to secure an option on a mutually agreed slot of time during which the PPM is established. Once the bankable talent is attached, risk is mitigated, and the Fund can move onto the next step; financing the physical production and backstopping P&A.

5. The funding process for a project initially comprised of a marketable script, attached named director, and attached named talent, can take from 4 to 6 months to fully fund. The Fund targets the release of the movie via theatrical distribution no later than 12 months from start of production. The Fund’s objective is to recapture the equity investment 12 months after distribution and after recouping P&A plus coupon. SHSWIF negotiates directly with the principal’s agent through CAA, and we try to avoid the “producer brokers” of Hollywood.

6. In certain instances, SHSWFIF will look at funding the entire production costs of a film if the budget is under our film development fund cap of $2M.

7. The Fund's guidelines:


In common parlance, an individual receiving the "Produced by” credit for a motion picture is typically referred to as the film’s Producer. To avoid confusion with other producer credits, we refer to this individual as the "Produced by.” 

The "Produced by” credit is given to the person(s) most completely responsible for a film’s production. Subject to the control of the Owner (see Rules of Arbitration, section I.B), the "Produced by” would have significant decision-making authority over a majority of the producing functions across the four phases of a motion picture’s production. Those phases are: Development; Pre-Production; Production; and Post-Production & Marketing. The following considerations would be taken into account in determining "Produced by” credit:

  • Within the development process, the "Produced by” will typically participate in conceiving the underlying premise of the production, or participate in selecting the material. S/he also will participate in selecting the project’s writer, secure the necessary rights and initial financing, and supervise the development process.
  • In pre-production, the "Produced by” will typically participate in selecting the key members of the creative team, including the director, co-producer/line producer, cinematographer, unit production manager, production designer, and principal cast. The "Produced by” also will participate in location scouting, and approve the final shooting script, production schedule, and budget.
  • During production, the "Produced by” will supervise the day-to-day operations of the producing team, providing continuous, personal, and "on-set” consultation with the director and other key creative personnel. S/he also will approve weekly cost reports, and continue to serve as the primary point of contact for financial and distribution entities.
  • For the last phase, post-production & marketing, the "Produced by” is expected to consult personally with post-production personnel, including the editor, composer, and visual effects staff. S/he is expected to consult with all creative and financial personnel on the answer print or edited master, and usually is involved in a meaningful fashion with the financial and distribution entities concerning the marketing and distribution plans for the motion picture in both domestic and foreign markets.

With today’s large-scale productions, it is rare to find one individual who exercises personal decision-making authority across all four phases of production. However, the PGA requires that in order to earn the credit of "Produced by,” one must have taken responsibility for at least a majority of the functions performed and decisions made over the span of the four phases.

Subject to the control of the Owner, the "Produced by” in Theatrical Motion Pictures is expected to exercise decision-making authority over a majority of the following specific job functions:


  • Conceived of the underlying concept upon which the production is based or involved at its inception.
  • Participated in selecting the material upon which the production is based and secured necessary rights for development and production of the material.
  • Helped select the writer(s).
  • Supervised and oversaw the development process.
  • Secured the initial financing.
  • Served as the primary point of contact for the studio and/or financing entity.


  • Participated in selecting the director, co-producer/line producer, and unit production manager.
  • Participated in selecting the principal cast in consultation with the director.
  • In consultation with the director, selected the production designer, cinematographer, editor and visual effects co.
  • Participated in location scouting in consultation with the director.
  • Supervised the preparation of the preliminary budget and approved and signed the final budget in consultation with the Co-Producer/Line Producer and UPM.
  • Creatively involved in the final shooting script in consultation with the director and the writer(s) and approved and signed the final shooting script.
  • Approved the final shooting schedule in consultation with the director.


  • Exercised final approval of the deals for the principal components of the production.
  • Provided continuous in-person consultation with the director and principal cast
  • In collaboration with the director, provided in-person consultation with the production designer, art department, wardrobe, make-up and hair.
  • In collaboration with the director, provided in-person consultation with the stunt coordinator and on mechanical effects (if applicable).
  • Supervised "on-set” and on a continuous basis the day-to-day operation of the producing team and the entire shooting company.
  • Approved the weekly cost report.
  • Viewed the "dailies” and provided in-person consultation with the director, the editor, the studio and/or financial entity.


  • Provided in-person participation on visual effects in consultation with the director, the studio or financial entity.
  • Selected the composer in consultation with the director, and participated in-person with the composer and the director in the scoring process
  • Provided in-person consultation with the editor along with the director, the studio or financial entity, and participated on the final cut of the motion picture.
  • Consulted with the director and the editor during the preparation of the first cut that is shown to the studio/financial entity.
  • Selected the music supervisor in consultation with the director, and participated in-person during the music recording sessions.
  • Provided in-person consultation with the director on the re-recording stage.
  • Provided in-person consultation with the director on the titles and opticals.
  • Provided in-person consultation with the cinematographer, the director, the studio and/or financing entity on the answer print or edited master.
  • Consulted on the media plan and materials, and the marketing and distribution plans for the motion picture.
  • Consulted on the plans for exploitation of the motion picture in ancillary and foreign markets.



*  The chain-of-title guidelines include:

1. Current Thomson & Thomson copyright research report.

2. Current Thomson & Thomson title research report.

3. Current UCC searches from –

(A) the state of Producer’s principal place of business; and

(B) the state where the production entity was formed (if different from (B) above) or

(C) Washington DC if a foreign film showing no claims, conflicts, encumbrances, or liens regarding the rights granted in the Picture to Distributor in the Agreement.

4. All underlying rights agreements and all writer agreements for all versions of the Screenplay, including any life story rights as which the Screenplay may be based.

5. All assignments, copyright mortgages, liens, security agreements and similar agreements respecting the Picture and all terminations of the foregoing duly filed with the appropriate authorities.

6. Documentation evidencing that all options and option extensions were duly exercised and proof of payment therefore, and all writers who rendered writing services respecting the Screenplay or any version thereof received full payment of all non-contingent compensation; and that any literary material incorporated in the Picture was fully paid for. The Chain of Title shall include a summary from the production attorney listing all documents in the "links" in the chain of title.

Other potential Chain of Title Delivery Requirements:

1. Certificates of Authorship relating to the screenplay and story.

2. If Based on Book: Release from Publishing House for all media (besides print) in perpetuity.

3. Life Rights agreements for all main characters if based on a true story.

© 2018 Sam Houston Southwest Film Investment Fund. All rights reserved.
Palm Tree Creative