When deciding on a business, some people open frozen yogurt shops. I should know. Thanks to D’Yogurt on Sunset boulevard (near my house), I’ve been eating frozen yogurt just about every night. The owner of the shop is passionate about Yogurt, just as we are passionate about our filmmaking.
Since moving to LA and producing several indie movies, I realize the major ineptitude most filmmakers suffer from is a lack of general business acumen. I mean, most filmmakers know about the movie business. And these filmmakers usually fall into one of two categories. Either they understand the studio business or they understand traditional independent filmmaking.
In my humble opinion, I think both arenas are based on an old paradigm. In the studio system, the business revolves around asking a lot of folks for permission.
- “I finished this great screenplay. It’s high concept and awesome!”
- “Would you please read my screenplay?”
- “Can we have a meeting?”
- “Did you read my screenplay?”
All of which results in a lot of this: “We have decided to pass at this time.”
As an independent filmmaker, many of us also suffer from a similar permission based way of doing business.
- “Mr. Investor, if we are lucky this movie will get into Sundance.”
- “If we are really lucky, we will get a great distribution deal.”
- “And if we are really lucky, we might get a distribution deal.”
- “And if we are really, really lucky we will get a 3 picture studio deal, and we will live happily ever after.”
And that got me thinking about this talk about modern moviemaking. Can we now consider movie making a small business? I mean, if you think about it, all you need to start a small business is an idea, some start up cash, raw material, production and a customer base – and a way to sell whatever it is you’re selling. And unlike years past, non-discriminatory video on demand marketplaces provide that… So what would modern moviemaking as a small business look like:
- We have a screenplay with a strong, well defined concept.
- We know our target audience and how to reach them.
- We will need to sell 25,000 video on demand downloads to recoup our investment?
Why should we over-complicate our filmmaking? What do you think? Can Modern Moviemaking be your next small business?