The other night I puked a little in my mouth.
It was just a little puke. The sort that burnt a bit and gave me bad breath I couldn’t quite brush out…
And it came after reading some BS article from a “filmmaking guru” (who will remain unnamed here) talking about some old fuddy duddy way to make money in filmmaking.
The information was totally outdated and impractical for most filmmakers. And I dare say, the article further perpetuated the myth that I’ve heard many times… That all you gotta do is make a great movie, work with a distributor and let them handle the business stuff.
“If you build it, they will come.”
That sort of crap is responsible for creating a horrible epidemic among indie filmmakers.
The epidemic is this: Most filmmakers never take time to learn how to make money in filmmaking!
“I’m an artist. Money is dirty.”
How To Make Money In Filmmaking
You may have thought about making money in filmmaking. You may have hoped (or you may be “hoping”) that all you gotta do is simply make your movie and the world will discover your talents. Because, let’s face it, you’re brilliant.
This strategy is based solely in hope. And hope is not a solid business strategy!
You might even think that business is a bad word.
But having spent years working professionally in film distribution, I can tell you that “getting discovered” rarely happens. And I’m serious here. After helping hundreds of filmmakers get their movies to market, I have learned a thing or two about how some filmmakers make tons of money… And I have also discovered why other filmmakers make no money and go back to their day jobs.
I am going to be blunt.
If you don’t want to make money making movies, then you have an expensive hobby, not a career.
Most filmmakers screw this up.
The reasons why filmmakers fail to make money in filmmaking vary. But if I was to distill it down, I would say the number one reason filmmakers fail is because most filmmakers NEVER plan to make money in the first place.
Let me repeat: Most filmmakers lack a plan for how to make money in filmmaking.
Case in point, I’ve heard the following line dozens of times:
“I just want to get my movie on Netflix/iTunes/Amazon/Cable VOD. I don’t care if my my moive makes money. I just want people to see it.”
See what I mean?
Whenever I hear that (and I hear that sort of thing a lot) I get another grey hair.
Because you’re killing me softly.
Even if you don’t care if your movie makes money, I can assure you that every platform, distributor and sales agent in existence is in the business of making money. And if you don’t care about how to make money in filmmaking, nobody else will either.
And your movie will suffer.
And your career will suffer.
Let me be clear, making money as a filmmaker is not easy. I can think of a gazillion other businesses that work much more smoothly than trying to produce projects, source an audience and get a return on your investment.
Yet despite these odds, serious filmmakers push on.
Assuming you are serious – And assuming you want to make money in filmmaking – here are 3 simple tips that most filmmakers never consider:
- Do not make a movie unless you know your niche audience.
- Do not make a movie unless you know how to reach your audience.
- Do not make a movie unless you have enough money to market your movie.
I know you secretly hold onto the myth that “if I make my movie, Hollywood will buy it for a gazillion dollars.”
If that happens for YOU, awesome! (Maybe you can help me produce my next movie!)
But for the vast majority of filmmakers, the golden ticket does not arrive. And when this happens, you can choose to give up, or work hard as heck to sell your movie yourself.
If you’d like to find out how to build an audience and sell your movie, then you might enjoy my upcoming “Sell Your Movie” system. In it, I provide my seven-step, modern system for getting your movie seen and selling. Click here.