Get a Movie Made: 5 Things You Need To Know

I’ve mentored dozens of film students. I’ve met with hundreds. I’ve spoken to thousands. A question I recently asked myself was, “What’s the difference between the people who get a movie made and those who are just stuck spinning their wheels?”

It’s always been a goal of mine to help filmmakers get a movie made. I even had a separate company at one point, dedicated solely to aiding filmmakers in getting their films going. I had identified a series of steps that every project should take to get from Point D to Point R. (Dream to Reality.)

Yet there were some who I knew would never get a movie made, and there were some that I knew, no matter what, they would be successful.

This led me to start to reflect on that. Could I impart that lesson to a filmmaker? Could I identify that “secret sauce” that made the others successful following the exact same steps to get a movie made?

Get_A_Movie_Made

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Get a Movie Made: 5 Things You Need To Know

The answer is, it’s a combination of a lot of things… and here’s the list. Add them together and you’ll be emailing me with photos from the set.

1. Extreme Passion – it sounds crazy, but I’ve actually met tons of filmmakers who just weren’t that passionate about their own project! Almost as if they were doing it because they just wanted a way in. With every film I’ve ever made, before I jumped into it, I believed it was going to be a home run. Some of my movie projects failed, some succeeded, but with all, I was extremely passionate.

The people I’ve mentored to get a movie made were extremely passionate. Their eyes would light up with energy when they told me their pitch. It was almost as if they were letting me in on this incredible secret… The secret of their amazing film.

2. Determination – All the filmmakers who got their films going were filled with determination. They all knew they were going to make a film. Most of them had specific dates in mind. It didn’t matter if these dates shifted, if something fell through, or if they got pieces of bad news… they kept pushing forward.

3. Singular Focus – Their goal was to make a film. Period. Their goal was not to worry about their job, not to worry about their future films, not to worry about their “potential careers.” They were focused 100% on the issue at hand, which was getting their films made. There was no “Plan B” (except as defined below).

4. Flexibility to Change – This may be the most important aspect of the list. If you are trying to unlock the combination to a safe, it doesn’t matter how focused, determined, or persistent you are: If you continue to try the same combination, you’re never getting into that safe.

All the successful filmmakers I mentored had one thing in common: they changed their approach when necessary. This includes dropping budgets, raising budgets, seeing things in a new light, changing cast, even changing projects entirely!

This is a key point. Stick too much to “This is the only film I can make,” and you may fail.

That internal dialogue should be, “I’m making a film.” That way, you’re going with the flow and using the energy in the right way. Put the passion project on hold and ALWAYS CHOOSE TO MAKE A FILM!

5. Persistence – They never gave up, never faltered, and continued to chip away. Many of them are full time filmmakers now, and I couldn’t be happier for them!

Don’t ever quit. You can make your film happen. Trust yourself, follow a procedure, and be mindful of the points I just mentioned. You can do it!

If you’d like to take the next steps to get a  movie made, check out this filmmaking course offered by Tom Malloy and Carole Dean. Save $40 by entering the coupon code JASON15.  For more information, click here.

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Tom Malloy is an Actor, Writer and Producer, specializing in independent film finance. He is the author of BANKROLL: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films, which is the best reviewed book on film financing, and is considered a “gold standard” in indie films circles. To date, Tom has raised over $15 million in private equity from independent financiers.

Cynicism Won’t Make Movies

Getting your movie made can be frustrating. I know the feeling.

Over the course of a year, I get involved in hundreds of conversations with people with the hopes of making a deal. Most of the deals fall apart. And even though this is part of the game, every time I experience a setback, I spend a few days moping.

Then I find my next project and repeat the cycle.

Experience has taught me that if you consistently put yourself out there and make new friends and try to put together new deals, sooner or later something will work out.

Call it the law of probability. Call it par for the course. But never let yourself get jaded or cynical. Cynicism won’t make movies.

Cynicism Won't Make Movies

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 Cynicism Won’t Make Movies

As a filmmaker, it’s easy to make excuses for why you aren’t making movies. Maybe you don’t have enough experience, time, money, connections, friends or [fill in the blank with your best reason HERE.]

A few weeks ago, I found myself watching a movie with some Hollywood acquaintances. At the end of the movie, one guy started blabbering on about why the movie was horrible and why the filmmaker should call it quits.

Then his wife joined in and suddenly everybody starts criticizing Hollywood, other movies and people.

The conversation escalated into a cynical bitch session with bullet-points as to why screenwriting work is hard to find. Keep in mind these are all people in the conversation make a very nice living in entertainment.

But based on the conversation, you would have thought they dug ditches for a living… Ugh.

If you’ve been in this game for any length of time, you probably met these people. If not, you will.

These people are frustrated with their current work. And instead of writing more and doing more to level up their careers, they find it easier to embrace cynicism.

This is a trap for all of us.

And the thing to remember is, cynicism won’t make movies.

Here is the filmmaker challenge:
For the next 30 days, force yourself to stop complaining and refrain from voicing anything negative.

The reason for this exercise is simple. If you can do this, you will stop talking and start doing. And the ongoing goal is to ask yourself the right questions.

One of my favorite filmmaking questions is, “Given the resources that you have now, what is the movie that you can make this year?” And if you would like some professional filmmaking tools, make sure you check out: www.MakeYourMovieNow.com

How To Make Your Movie Rise Above The Noise

Working in film distribution, I can tell you that everything is changing. Production is getting cheaper and easy access to the marketplace is the norm. This is an exciting time to be a filmmaker.

Paradoxically, because more and more movies are getting made each year, this is also one of the most challenging times for making money as a filmmaker. We are experiencing a market saturation similar to what happens when sweatshop factories start producing comparable goods for less money.

And while you may argue that many backyard indies are amateur garbage, this doesn’t change the fact that filmmakers now have more competition than ever before. Your biggest problem is figuring out how to make your movie rise above the noise.

Rise Above The Noise

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How To Make Your Movie Rise Above The Noise

Before you pour your heart and soul into your passion project, answer these questions:

  1. What is your movie about?
  2. Who is in your movie?
  3. Who is going to buy your movie?

Most filmmakers never take time to answer these simple, yet essential questions. Or if they do, the answers are often based on hope or delusions of grandeur. My target audience is everybody!

Having well rehearsed answers to these questions (that you can deliver with enthusiasm) will increase the odds that a movie distributor or a fan could potentially (easily) tell other people about your movie.

sell your movie“Zooey Deschanel is attached to your movie?!?”

Having a name actor or a strong story hook makes your movie memorable. Knowing that an audience exists for your type of movie, as well as having a promotional plan for reaching your audience is also helpful.

That is what word-of-mouth is all about.

Once your pitch is established, all of your other movie marketing tasks such like your logo, font, DVD cover (still important), poster and website will be much easier to design.

So I’ll end today’s thought with three questions: What is your movie about? Who’s in it? And who is gonna buy it?  And if you like this sort of stuff, you’ll love my Sell Your Movie System.

 

Future Of Filmmaking: Will You Be Replaced By A Robot?

In case you haven’t noticed, filmmaking is changing. And the future of filmmaking is now.

In years past, if you wanted to make a movie, you had to raise enough money to not only cover the film and equipment, but you paid for your DP, your camera operator, someone to pull focus, someone to load the film, someone to lay dolly track and someone else to push your dolly.

If you wanted to create an awesome movie on a budget, you shot Super 16mm. Once the film was in the can, you paid to get the film processed, color corrected, transferred to video, edited “off line” and later blown up to 35mm. And all these steps were considered an affordable option!

Then you crossed your fingers, hoping to land an awesome distribution deal. Can you imagine trying to make movies like that? It’s easy to understand why most would-be filmmakers never took action.

Future Of Filmmaking

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Future Of Filmmaking: Will You Be Replaced By A Robot?

With the emergence of awesomely inexpensive production technology, making a movie is getting easier. And everything has changed.

It’s been over a decade since I’ve heard anybody in the filmmaking community seriously consider shooting their first feature on film. And why would they? These days, if you want to make a great looking movie, you grab your $2,000 DSLR camera and you start shooting.

That’s it. No film stock. No silly processing costs. And no transfers to video.

You simply take your camera out of the bag, point and shoot. Then you edit on your computer and upload to several of the video on demand websites. And you can start selling your work to the world.

This is an AMAZING time to make movies, right?

Or is it?

For the first time in history, filmmakers are experiencing what happens in other industries when robots start producing comparable goods for less and less money. You get an overwhelming supply of inexpensive product in the marketplace, which devalues the market as a whole. Couple this with the demise of traditional DVD distribution, and you can understand why it’s difficult land a killer payday.

Considering these unfavorable odds, why would any filmmaker risk millions on a budget when there are less opportunities to make the money back? This is our new paradox as filmmakers.

Producing product is not the problem. It is easy to make a backyard indie.

The real challenge is keeping budgets low enough to increase the odds of recouping, while at the same time creating movies that people actually want to see.

This seems obvious.

While there are no guarantees in this or any business, aside from making an awesome movie, here are three things you can do to increase your odds of success:

  1. Know your target audience.
  2. Have a plan for reaching your target audience.
  3. Cast actors who have a large social media following.

Having spent the last half-decade working in marketing and distribution, I can tell you that most filmmakers completely ignore these steps. Most never take time to sketch out a marketing, sales and distribution strategy for their movies. And as a result, most movies end up dying in digital obscurity.

Don’t do that.

Filmmaking Success Mindset

Getting your filmmaking work noticed requires persistence, tenacity and an unyielding ability to overcome obstacles and keep going, even when doing so seems impossible and crazy.

Just over a decade ago, I was stuck on my small town, living with my parents. No other vocation appealed to me more than filmmaking. Back then I had no idea my aspirations would take me from my hometown to New York to Los Angeles.

filmmaking success mindset

In the journey, I have experienced more than my fair share of sleepless nights and uncertainty. But through it all, there is one thing I learned: Your thoughts, more than anything else will influence your beliefs and your beliefs will influence your actions.

Put enough actions together and you will begin to forge a new life as a filmmaker.

I wanted to share a little tool I have been utilizing for years. The tool is called the Filmmaking Success Mindset. The FSM is a set of filmmaking declarations that, if repeated over and over every day, will help you condition your thinking for the better.

  1. What I think about becomes real.
  2. I play to my strengths. I support my weak areas with talented collaborators.
  3. I take advice from people who have actual experience.
  4. I spend time with people who make me feel better about myself.
  5. I always work to make others feel good too.
  6. Following dreams is easier with money in the bank. I save what I can.
  7. I keep an idea book and write down movie ideas as they come my way.
  8. My word is trust. I never break my word.
  9. I deserve Hollywood success because I am creative and passionate.
  10. I always bring my ideas to fruition.

I know this is a bit of ra-ra-ra motivation. And if you’re the type of filmmaker who enjoys affirmations, you might benefit from downloading the Filmmaking Success Mindset, printing it out and putting it somewhere visible. Then take some time to memorize these principles until they become real.

Download the Filmmaking Success Mindset.