Independent movie investors invest because they want a return on their money. Creating a business plan will provide your prospective investor with a road map on how his or her money will be spent and hopefully recouped. In the old filmmaking model this wasn’t easy. Because distribution was once discriminatory, many first time independent feature filmmakers had to hold their breath in hopes their movies would get into a film festival, buil buzz, and (hopefully) garner a great distribution deal, complete with a cash advance. But that is an outdated model.
A few weeks back I gave a talk and was surprised that many of the filmmakers in attendance had never heard of crowdfunding. If you are one of those filmmakers, crowdfunding provides you with a “many to one” model. On the following sites, you create a campaign and then reach out to your network and ask for donations.
So if you happen to be one of those filmmakers with tons of ideas, but no feature credits, I highly suggest you focus less on finding someone to do the heavy lifting and instead, focus on testing the market to gain a realistic approach to your projects.
As a feature filmmaker, one of the biggest problems YOU have is finding a traditional distribution deal (that actually makes sense) for your movie. With each passing day, we get closer and closer to a world where DVD sales channels are being replaced by video on demand. And while we are not there yet, after spending the greater part of last weekend watching streaming content on NetFlix and Hulu, I am now of the opinion that the days of DVD distribution are numbered.
Take a look at your trailer. Is your trailer congruent with your hook and the marketing elements we covered earlier? If not, I suggest you recut and refine your trailer to make sure your marketing message is consistent. In doing this you will have to find the balance between showing enough to sell your movie and giving away so much that you spoil the story. And since your movie trailer will be posted on various websites, you should also add a title card with a link to your movie website.
Filmmaking is changing. Like it or not, if you want to make a living making movies, you need to learn about the business side of independent movie making. And if this is your first time on filmmaking stuff, you are reading step 4 of a 7 part series on how to sell your movie How To Sell Your Movie On iTunes, Amazon and Netflix For Maximum Profit.
Given all the changes in distribution, as a filmmaker, getting your movie seen and selling is no longer solely the responsibly of a 3rd party distributor. Once you have sharpened your hook and targeted your target audience, your next step is to set up shop in some of the many popular internet based marketplaces.
These days filmmakers have a gazillion options for reaching their audience, creating community and building buzz. As your own VOD distributor you can finally get your title seen and selling without waiting for some middle-man to give you permission. And assuming you have all the necessary legal documents, releases and (possibly) E&O insurance for your movie, the following seven secret steps will help you get started today!
In years past, filmmakers only self distributed their movies when they had to. It wasn’t a choice! But these days, filmmakers can choose to self-distribute, because 9 times out of 10, making your title available on Amazon and iTunes and other popular VOD marketplaces can potentially pay more than a traditional deal. Because a deal that pays zero is not a deal. (Of course I’m expressing my opinion.)
For those of you who are adding your own thoughts to the Modern Moviemaking Manifesto, what I’m proposing is easier said than done. It is easy for me to talk about the success of our first feature. It is much more difficult to admit that our second feature bombed miserably.