“If you make good work, you’ll get discovered…”
If you believe this crap, I’ll tell you another.
This is the same BS that got indie filmmakers into this whole mess in the first place. Sure good work is essential. But I’m assuming you’re already set on making great movies.
Otherwise, why bother making movies?
But making great movies is not enough. Some industry gurus estimate there are roughly 50,000 feature films made each year. And given advances in inexpensive production technology, I assure you this figure will increase.
We are experiencing a paradigm shift. A disruption. A sea-change in how movies are made, seen and sold. The market is flooded. Supply now outweighs demand. And worse?
Most of the movies being made are not great. In fact, if you look around, you’re now competing with every yahoo who owns a camera.
The new era of filmmaking has arrived.
What worked in the past is no longer working. Distributors have turned into aggregators. And most aggregators do not have the muscle to market your movie properly.
What is the value for getting locked into a traditional distribution deal?
Special placement on iTunes? Validation? You need a friend?
Gone are the days when you begged for upfront cash advances. These days, it is all about creating multiple movies for maximum profit. And success as a modern moviemaker is all about selling directly to your audience.
And I ain’t saying it’s easy. It never has been. But what I am saying is this…
If you are going to succeed as a filmmaker, you will need a strategy.
You need to think like an entrepreneur.
What will YOU do today to build your audience?
This is the question you need to ask yourself constantly. And coming up with reasonable answers is way more important that asking yourself what camera lenses you’re going to utilize. Repeat after me:
“My audience is my business, without an audience, I have no business.”
You might be under the impression that making movies is your business. But it’s not. Your movie is your product. Your real business is creating and growing your audience.
The bigger your audience, the more Hollywood will take notice.
3 Tips For Hacking Hollywood
It’s great to say “grow an audience” but you would probably benefit from a few tactics to help you. So here are three hacks you must do today to start growing your audience.
1. Create a blog centered on your subject matter: Look. I get it. Between writing, funding, producing, directing, promoting and fetching coffee, the last thing you want to think about is creating another job for yourself. But here’s the thing. You don’t need to do it alone. Collaborate with other talented people. But make sure you include a blog!
2. Collect email addresses: When I talk about growing an audience, I am most certainly thinking about email. How many subscribers do you have on your list? Wait, you don’t have a list? My suggestion is to sign up for my affiliate at Aweber. Sure. They pay me to promote. But this very blog would not have survived all these years without them. Email is how you grow your audience.
[Note: Many filmmakers hesitate to invest the $19 bucks a month to utilize a professional email service. Yet they will happily pay thousands for equipment that simply collects dust in a closet. Don’t become one of them. Your audience is your business. Not your soon-to-be obsolete equipment.]
3. Always think about community: There is a reason that Food Matters, Camp Takota and Forks Over Knives are successful case studies. If you look closely, making the movie is only part of the equation. The bigger goal is building an engaged community around the subject matter. Take note of how these sites sell ancillary merchandise. (Also take note of how they use email.)
A Final Tactic for Hacking Hollywood
As an added tip, I suggest all filmmakers carve out some time to watch “Please Subscribe.”
This is a documentary about famed YouTubers who have built multi-million dollar YouTube businesses from their living rooms. Watching this movie will show you the importance of audience. And ironically, the movie will also show you that once you have an audience, you don’t really need Hollywood.
If you liked this filmmaking stuff, you’ll love my Sell Your Movie System. In it, I share tactics for growing an audience and creating a sustainable filmmaking business so you can become a filmmaking rock star. If you’re interested, go here.