Independent moviemaking has changed forever. If you are still holding out for the Sundance dream, you are wasting your time. What is the Sundance dream? It’s the thought that you’ll make a movie, get into Sundance and garner a gazillion dollars…
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.
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 But that is an outdated model.
Without a defined market or an established sales channel, it is difficult to justify financing, which makes it very difficult to pay cast and crew – which, by the way, makes it difficult to produce a movie. And assuming you can answer these questions, the problem is still economy of scale. If you can’t reach the masses (or reach enough people willing to pay for what you’re selling), how will you ever recoup your initial movie investment?