*You’ve heard the old saying “Romance Without Finance is a Nuisance,” but film and TV, a multi-billion-dollar industry, also cannot work without finance.
Many screenplays for films are written, but without a budget, the images that you see, on film and television wouldn’t exist. Budgets and money for film and TV require a skill, the ability to be frugal and the nuances of a core, but necessary component of TV and movie success under their belt- film financing- the ability to raise funds for projects. Successful film financiers, particularly those of the minority community, represent the future success of African-Americans in entertainment and Producer Andre Gaines, a successful film and TV financier, has financing honed to its maximum.
Andre Gaines is the founder of Cinemation Studios, a company that finances and produces content for the motion picture and television industries. Gaines has financed and produced more than twelve documentary and narrative feature films over his fifteen-year career. He is one of the producers for the HBO film, “The Lady and The Dale,” which premiered on HBO January 31, 2021. Starting 2021 as a producer, with Mark and Jay Duplass, the HBO four-part documentary series, “The Lady and The Dale,” is the true story of Elizabeth Carmichael, a transgender, automotive entrepreneur that introduced a bold, new three-wheel car in the 1970s. He’s also worked as a producer on Spike Lee’s “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Ladder to Damascus,” the Emmy-winning documentary film “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama,” the Oscar-nominated “Embrace the Serpent,” and the SXSW winning documentary “Bill Nye: Science Guy.”
Andre Gaines learned how to be frugal at a young age.
“I really started off early on with an appreciation for money,” said Andre Gaines. “My parents really taught me about money when we were kids. My dad was a businessman, had an MBA, started companies and ran for city government positions and won them, then later in life ran a real estate development company, and so there was always this kind of appreciation and understanding of finance.”
He learned a lot from his father, active in the church as a trustee and from his grandfather, who was a deacon in his church.
“I used to like going in the back after collections and helping them count the money,” he laughed. “It was just something that I enjoyed doing, so I knew that anything I was going to be involved in was going to be inclusive of finance.” Most film and TV financiers have degrees in Accounting or Finance, but Andre, who was a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has a background in Animation took a different route. “It was something that came very naturally to me and I had the best education that one could ask for, in the form of a mom and dad who were very open and direct with me about the understanding of how to use money and even credit,” said Gaines of the considerable lessons he learned from his parents. “My mom taught me how to use a credit card by getting me one when I was pretty young,” he reflected. “I remember her handing me a Discover card and handing me a pamphlet, maybe a 20- page pamphlet explaining credit and how it works. It was an eye opener. I was probably 12 years old when she did that. I knew that any business I would go into, I would have that entrepreneurial spirit.”
Gaines stresses the need, in the Black community, to provide generational wealth to descendants.
“One of the greatest legacies that any of us can pass on is money,” said Gaines. “Really having savings and having nest eggs and things like that property, just kind of put away- so that the next group has that much easier than the last.”
Andre Gaines has sage advice for anyone that desires a career in film finance.
“I think that the opportunities that we have today as storytellers- brand new people in the industry, veterans in the industry, everybody- is technology, “said Andre. “Your I Phone that you pay $1,000 for or $1500 or whatever amount you’re paying for that, is a motion picture camera,” he said. “What people don’t realize, is that so much of broadcast television that we see- everything from TMZ to the nightly news is shot on an I Phone. You sort of take for granted as a tool for social media and texting people. So, you already have the tools in hand to go out and tell a story. Write a script, get some actors and if it’s not actors, you feel like you can find, then get some friends and family and if you’re living in an apartment, you have a movie set.”
His other upcoming productions include: the documentary series “Stateless,” with Blumhouse TV; the remake of Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn,” “Buzzed,” starring Jeremy Renner and Keira Knightley; “Killing Gawker,” written by Charles Randolph and directed by Seth Gordon, and the award-winning animated feature “The Immortal Warrior” starring Rodrigo Santoro. He also is planning a documentary on one of his heroes, Dick Gregory.
Many people have criticized the ability to be frugal, but Andre Gaines has taken frugality all the way to success. Film and TV need people like Andre and his ability to raise finance, is far from a nuisance. His profession is one of the key reasons why television and film projects show up on your screens and why film finance should be one of the key professions in the African American community.