Filmmaking Is Just Like Making Widgets

When we compare modern moviemaking to widget production, it oftentimes seems as though we are saying that the end product of our work carries with it so much more human, emotional weight and experience than the mere production of a widget. And while I understand that watching a feature film has so much more value to ME, and as most of us would argue, humanity – Our friends at the widget factory might disagree.

If we think about it, widgets run our moviemaking; Think about our cameras and our equipment and the computer (or mobile device) the enables us to read these words. Now think of the companies and factories that produce these widgets, and the widgets that create the cars that drive the widget production team to work. And when these widget craftsmen and craftswomen go to work, (to take the analogy further), some of them will spend the next twelve hours dreaming up the next award-winning widget, with one goal in life: They want to make your experience on earth more valuable.

Sound familiar?

Like making a movie, creating the perfect widget takes tremendous time, effort, planning, research and development, financing, prototype creation, craft, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales. These business components, like modern moviemaking are all essential to the success of a mere widget. And none of it would have happened without the creativity or tenacity of some entrepreneur (or movie producer) with an imagination and the desire to create and share something that might just make your life better.

As a modern moviemaker, I have no problem with this analogy. Most folks know I’m a little bit too obsessed with Video On Demand distribution and how it finally enables us to effortlessly share our finished films (our widgets) with the world. But what this means to me is, moviemakers finally have a business that no longer requires the outsourcing of marketing, distribution and sales. We can finally operate as a stand-alone business, albeit a small business! And unlike widget production, our product does not have to be delivered in physical form. This means we can NOW reach our customers (our audience) without the headaches, time consumption, fulfillment and shipping costs previously associated with our industry – which are still cumbersome elements most always associated with other industries.

If nothing else, I believe this analogy should serve to help all modern moviemakers quickly communicate OUR business to prospective investors – with a reception we have never known! Because like it or lump it, most prospective, private investors make their living dreaming up and manufacturing the perfect widget in some other industry. And because we finally have a middle-man-less, non-discriminatory sales channel (VOD), prospective investors might finally understand that OUR business, like their widget business, makes sense.

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Note: This posting was initially published as my response to a posting on Ted Hope’s blog, Truly Free Film. Because I went on for quite a few paragraphs, I decided to post it here too.

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