Written with camera operators in mind….
As we approach the new shooting season, it seems the perfect time to put straight a few common misconceptions about finance. I know that in all my time in this industry, finance has always been seen as a bit of a black art. I also know that the more entrepreneurial companies and individuals have reaped the benefits of understanding the basics, and taking advantage of the benefits that it can undoubtedly bring.
In my experience, these misconceptions tend to be based around what kit can and can’t be financed and who we would consider to be a ”suitable” client.
1. Can I get finance if I’m a freelancer
Specialist finance companies love freelancers. Think of it this way…The finance company owns the kit until the end of the agreement, so we need to know that it’s safe and being looked after. All the freelancers I know are totally in love with their kit, and treat it with more care and attention than some members of their own family! Limited Company freelancers are especially loved.
2. Is it easy getting finance in place.
YES (most of the time).
It is true that we generally need to see your year-end accounts and some bank statements to decide if you’re good for the finance. Adamantean never closes. We are industry people, and recognise that a good freelancer is busy most days, so if you call us at odd hours / weekends we’ll generally pick up.
Of course if you’re looking to borrow a large amount and you are new to us then as you’d expect, we will need to do some checks on you, but most of our deals are approved within a day or so.
3. Can I get finance on second-hand kit.
Think of a finance agreement from our perspective. We lend money against a camera / lens and this asset remains “ours” until the end of the term. So the longer any piece of kit can hold its value the better as it makes the loan less risky. Once a brand new camera is turned on, it’s no longer “brand new”, so is now worth perhaps 15% less than it was 5 minutes before. A piece of “pre-loved” kit doesn’t have this initial immediate devaluation, so it may actually be easier to get an approval on a used piece of equipment than a brand new item.
There are other issues that we’d consider such as where had the kit been used, service history, and hopefully you’ll get a warranty from the seller, so if you’ve found the second hand camera / lens / audio console of your dreams we should be able to help.
Cinematography lenses are perhaps the most extreme example. You can wait 18 months for a set of new Cooke 5i lenses. They are beautiful and “reassuringly expensive”. If you were lucky enough to find a set of used lenses you might find that they are as expensive as a new set. But they are available now, and you don’t have the expense of hiring-in other people’s lenses while you wait the 18 months for your set to be made. And because these lenses last “forever” we can fund them over a long period. Only someone who really understands their long term value could do this.
A more difficult question to answer would be “why wouldn’t I finance my purchase?” rather than “why would I?”
I funded a new Arri Alexa Mini kit recently for a cameraman. £40K is a lot of cash to spend in one go for any freelancer. It’s taken years to build up a nice nest-egg that makes sleeping at night a little easier. Repaying under £1,000 per month, and allowing the camera to generate its own revenue to pay back its own cost works. At least for him it did.
Your job is hard enough as it is, with demanding production companies, reducing budgets and longer shooting days the norm. Let me take just a little of that stress away. Finance can be seen as a bit of a dark art. I hope this has thrown some light on the subject. My numbers are below if you want tot talk.
Good luck for 2018. It looks like an interesting year ahead.
Adamantean is a finance broker specialising in the media sector. It’s owned and managed by Gareth Wilding, Sam Arlow and me. Call us. We can help.