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Jen responds: Starting with your own network of family, friends and friends of friends should be the first place you look for money. Not only do they already know and trust you, but they’re more likely to take the risk. Plus, any new investor is aways going to find an early stage investment a little more comfortable if they’re not the first to invest themselves.
Your next step should be some very intensive networking in your industry. If you’re not already going to all the independent film festivals, events and conferences you can get yourself into, start going right away and build your contact base and subsequent investment leads from a pool of people who you already know are interested in films, are active in the industry and might even be well connected to others you need to know. In these situations, remember about the “6 degrees of separation” rule, too. Anyone can have the potential to lead you to potential investors if they like you and see merit in what you’re doing. Build your fan base here, ask people to introduce you around, and make a lot of new friends.
As for hedge fund people, unless they have a serious interest on the personal side, I wouldn’t spend too much time and energy with them. They are a VERY sophistocated bunch of professional investors who will likely require a far more complex base of information, numbers, assumptions, projections and returns than you’re likely to be able to offer. My advice, stick with high net worth angels who have a passion for your work and maybe even some strategic investors – even companies or organizations – that might have a vested interest in your subject matter. Hope that helps!