No-Budget Filmmaking: Rise of The Backyard Indie

Like it or lump it, there are a lot of backyard indies being made each year. Thanks to inexpensive production technology, no-budget filmmaking is not only possible, but has become the norm for many first time feature filmmakers, web series producers, YouTube artists and short filmmakers.

These days any filmmaker with passion and a story can make a movie. And unlike years past, backyard indie filmmakers are not prohibited by cash or creativity.

Yet despite the no-budget filmmaking movement, many of my high profile “professional” friends in Los Angeles, have made a conscious effort to ignore the rise of backyard indies. Why?

Because no-budget filmmaking isn’t real! (At least, that’s what some of the old school pros would tell you.) When it comes to no-budget filmmaking, some common questions asked by these Hollywood hot-shots are:

  1. Who signed the SAG agreements?
  2. Who contacted the Unions?
  3. Who notified the MPAA?
  4. Where is your theatrical distribution deal?
  5. Who do you think you are?

Good questions. Why don’t you go back in time and ask Roger Corman!

But the thing is, if you create a good movie – Your audience doesn’t care if the movie was an official union indie or a backyard indie made for pocket change.

no budget filmmaking

Photo © Jacek Krol / Dollar Photo Club

No Budget Filmmaking: Rise of The Backyard Indie

The demise of traditional DVD distribution coupled with the growing market domination of iTunes, Amazon and Netflix had leveled the playing field. The big difference between a $10,000 backyard indie and a $2,000,000 dollar indie isn’t the budget – The difference revolves around the film that gets the most eyeballs (and sales).

Think about it. Hitting breakeven on a 2M feature is going to require a lot of sales.

As a rough example, to recoup 2M dollars, the filmmaker will need to to sell (roughly) 200,000 video on demand downloads at $10 a pop. These first sales will cover the 40% cost allocated to VOD providers (the real winners here), after which, the filmmaker will still need to sell an additional 200,000 downloads to repay the investors.

400,000 VOD downloads x $10 = $4,000,000 minus $2,000,000 in VOD fees = the initial $2,000,000

Meanwhile, through no-budget filmmaking, a backyard indie only has to sell 2000 VOD downloads to recover the initial 10K costs.

While nobody wants to make movies for pocket change, many filmmakers still believe we can somehow continually produce unprofitable (movie) products and expect the money and the subsequent jobs to keep rolling in.

And unlike years past, filmmakers can no longer approach investors with the cliche pitch: “Filmmaking is a risky investment – if we are lucky, we might win Sundance and get a deal.”

Now, with transparent distribution options available to all filmmakers, that line of give-me-money reasoning is reckless, no longer applicable, and in my opinion, unethical. And for these reasons, no-budget filmmaking makes a lot of sense.

Aside from the initial challenge of sales and marketing, the ripple effect reveals an even greater conundrum:

How will you raise enough money to pay your cast and crew AND still pay back your investors?

I mean, what’s the new sweet spot?

How can we once again make independent filmmaking profitable?

“I CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY MY CAST AND CREW. WHAT DO I DO?”

Here is the modern moviemaking model on how to save the movie industry.

(And you thought this was going to be your typical no-budget filmmaking article.)

To survive in this ever changing world of indie filmmaking, we have to change our strategy.

Instead of focusing on making that one big awesome indie, we now need to focus on building a genre specific movie library and spend all of our downtime building a ginormously targeted email list.

Step 1: Find your top-ten closest filmmaking collaborators. Form a company.

Step 2: Write a business plan, but instead of putting all of your focus on making one movie, concentrate on making 3-5 feature films.

Step 3: Make sure that you include a sales and marketing plan for each movie. To do this, take your proposed budget for all movies and work backwards. Start asking yourself, “How many units do we need to sell to recoup our investment?”

Step 4: In this model, instead of paying freelance day rates, you’ll have to hire long term employees and provide each with a salary and back end points (sort of like stock options) on each title.

Step 5: When the title wins, you all win. Over the years, your titles will add up. And the real compensation will come back in the form of residual movie income.

While this is not a fully refined model, it’s a start.

In my opinion, creating a sustainable business model is better than ignoring no-budget filmmaking and pretending backyard indies are not real movies.

We are experiencing a time of change.

This is the indie movie distribution equivalent of the automobile replacing the horse drawn wagon.

You can choose to ignore this movement, and you can probably succeed for a few more years. But there will come a day when all entertainment will be on-demand and cheap to produce and cheap to consume.

The question is, will you ignore the no-budget filmmaking movement and continue to play your distribution lottery ticket in hopes of winning the dream deal, or will you  join the movement and help us filmmakers figure out a way to make indie movies profitable?

If you liked this article, you’d probably benefit from these professional filmmaking tools.

The Secrets of Successful Online Movie Advertising

If you want to be a successful filmmaker, you better learn a thing or two about online movie advertising.

The reason I emphasize online movie advertising is because most movies end up in some sort of video on demand platform. And because many of the most popular platforms exist online, selling movies on the internet is very similar to selling anything online

This means you now have the ability to create online movie advertising campaigns to drive people to your point of sale.

If you’ve been reading my filmmaking stuff for any length of time, you know I’ve been sharing similar advice with filmmakers for years. I first published my thoughts back in 2010 – Here’s the article called Financing Movies With VOD Sales Projections. As you’ll read in the comments, most people thought I was crazy.

Fast forward to a recent job interview with a well known distribution company. I kid you not, the whole conversation revolved around this thing called conversion science.

“Jason, WTF is conversion science? I’m a filmmaker. I failed science!”

Look. I am trying to help you. You’re obviously reading this because you want to know the secrets of online movie advertising. And I’m telling you, the big secret is this thing called conversion science.

Online_Movie_Advertising

The Secrets of Online Movie Advertising

Here’s the thing about business (that most filmmakers ignore). Everything in business is measured in profit and loss. So if you spend money for online movie advertising, you better get that money back, plus a profit on top.

So here’s the question: How do you know if your online movie advertising is working?

This one is simple. You track your advertising campaigns. If you make more money then you spend, you’re doing OK. But if you start throwing money into an online movie advertising black hole, you have a BIG problem.

And before we get too crazy, there is something you need to know.

The whole reason you want to do your homework is so you don’t end up depending on the glaringly flawed and totally outdated distribution strategy:

“Gee, I sure hope we get into a film festival and garner a great deal.” 

Hope is not a sustainable business strategy. It is a lottery. And it’s outdated.

Online Movie Advertising Formula

Whenever you think about your movie advertising strategy, it helps to think about some real world scenarios. And because we are talking numbers, I am going to share a basic direct marketing ROI (return on investment) formula.

Here are the MAJOR Filmmaking Challenges:

  1. With no promise of pre-sales, or minimum guarantees in a traditional distribution deal, how do filmmakers justify a budget large enough to pay freelance day rates, while at the same time project enough direct DVD and VOD sales to recoup the initial investment?
  2. And assuming only 1% of your website visitors buy your movie, then how many people must visit your website so that 1% recoups your initial investment? (Don’t forget to include marketplace costs.)
  3. How much will this cost in advertising?

Here is a formula you can test and tweak. Plug in numbers and play around with assumptions.

U = Unit Sales Goal.
A = Amount you pay advertiser per website visit.
C = Projected conversion percentage rate.
X = Number of Visitors Needed.

(X)C = U
EQUATES TO: X= ?
THEN:  X(A) = ?

If all of that seems like a bunch of gobbledygook, you’re not alone. In the real world, most marketers utilize software, an online calculator and spreadsheets to help clarify assumptions.

But here’s the rub.

When you actually crunch the numbers on a One-Million dollar budget by selling $20 dollar DVD’s in Amazon (which is a totally high price), and you rely solely on Pay Per Visit advertising at $.05 cents a visit – Even if you’re lucky enough to garner a 1% conversion, you would need to sell 100,000 units (which allows for a 50% marketplace fee).

Or to put it another way, to get these results, you would need 10,000,000 targeted visitors, visiting your website.

Yes, ten Million people! Which is outlandish… 

This means you will have to think very carefully about your movie budget, marketing budget, your distribution strategy and obviously, you’ll need to make sure your movie actually has a market large enough to support the budget.

If you would like to start planning your distribution, you might want to check out my “How To Sell Your Movie” program.

Why Filmmakers Must Establish A Production Company

Filmmakers must establish a production company.

And that means you should too!

Taking time to establish a production company (the right way) will help you get taken more seriously.

In fact, it is an essential part of your filmmaking career. And given all the changes taking place in our industry, you should probably take a few seconds to stop what you’re doing, read this article and then click here and tweet it to your friends. 

Here is picture of Rory Delaney and me hanging at the American Film Market. He always takes time to establish a production company. And one thing I like about Rory is his ability to get movies made on time and under budget.

Establish A Production Company | Jason Brubaker and Rory Delaney at the American Film Market

Don’t Ask For Permission

Before we get too far into the nuts and bolts of how to establish a production company, it’s important that you understand something.

If you’ve been following filmmaking stuff for any length of time, you know that one of my key filmmaking success philosophies is to stop asking permission to make your movie.

The whole practice is time consuming, humiliating and at the end of the day, nobody cares about your movie more than you do.

Well, actually, people will care when you make it easy.

More on this in a second.

But first, check this out.

The following note is pretty typical of the stuff filmmakers send me every week.

Here is a recent example of someone asking for permission (What NOT to do)

Hi Jason,

I’ve been reading Filmmaking Stuff for over a year and love your emails. My problem is, I have lots of great ideas for a movie. But I can’t find anybody willing to produce my movie for me.

I thought about esablishing a production company. But I don’t really want to do that stuff. (I just want to make the movie.)  If I send you my screenplay will you produce my movie for me?

It is really good! Please let me know ASAP.

Filmmaking Frank

I am going to be frank with filmmaking Frank.

Aside from his unwillingness to go the distance on his movie or at the very least, establish a production company – what he is asking is a very difficult request.

As much as I would love to read the script and spend the next three years of my life producing, I am very busy working on my OWN projects.

  • This means I’m busy. Not much room for much else.
  • This means I’m losing sleep and occasionally crying over a lost deal.
  • This means my FOCUS is getting MY next movie made.

So the idea of dropping everything that I am doing to establish a production company (for Frank) and then  produce Frank’s movie is not appealing.

And it may not make good business sense.

This is what they mean when they say: “Rejection is nothing personal.”

And it’s not. Most agents, producers, directors and other filmmakers have a full plate of stuff they are working on. The only time they will stop what they are doing is if your project seems more promising than the one they are currently working on.

(Read that again if you need to.)

Here is an example of how Filmmaking Frank could grab attention:

Hi Jason,

A few months ago, I grabbed your Film Finance Guide. (Great stuff there.) After going through the guide, I decided to stop waiting for someone to give me permission.

I went on to establish a production company. Then I talked with my lawyer, got some paperwork and then located a prospective investor. I’m happy to report he has funded my movie and we have 500K in escrow!

One minor issue. I don’t know crap about distribution. And I’m in over my head here. I’d love to find out if you have any bandwidth for consulting. Happy to discuss a fair rate too, if it makes sense.

Would you have time to get on the phone?

Frank

Do you see the difference here? In this example Filmmaker Frank took time to establish a production company and actually do the work. He raised money and presumably knows the scope and scale of his movie. He also took time to research me, my background and gear an email towards my interests, which is Video On Demand Distribution.

From a busy professional perspective, Frank got my attention by preemptively answering my BIG question:

“What’s in it for me.”

Based on the email, someone willing to help him would probably be able to negotiate:

  • Consulting fees.
  • Credit on his (fully funded) movie.
  • A new collaborator and friend.
  • Possible back end percentage.

The point here is, in the second example, Frank disarmed me. He made me think that working with him would complement my current business, not distract me from it.

Why Filmmakers Must Establish A Production Company

First things first.

Taking time to establish a production company allows you to take the necessary steps towards the fun part of filmmaking, which is actually making your movie.

Before you get all hog-wild with emails and invites for co-production ventures, you need to know a few things.

As a filmmaker, the moment you start putting your project together, you’re in business.

It is at this point that many filmmakers get a business card and set up a website, touting the wonders of their upcoming projects. It is also at this point when many costly mistakes are made.

How you decide to establish a production company and then conduct your filmmaking business can have legal and tax ramifications.

Before you produce a feature film or speak with any prospective investors regarding your movie project, you should first speak with a qualified professional on ways you can protect your personal assets from liability. These professionals will help you decide on the appropriate business entity for movie. And in this way, you can establish a production company the right way.

Here is a short video on how to establish a production company and why you need to do so.

Additionally, the moment you decide to start putting a project together, you should also seek out the legal and tax advice of qualified professionals. After meeting with these folks, you might find that operating your production company under the protection of a corporate entity (such as a corporation or LLC)  may provide safeguards that you otherwise were not aware of.

Filmmaker Action Pack

The steps of setting up a business entity are pretty simple, but they could be a little costly depending on your state (or country) laws and tax liabilities. Also, as a general disclaimer, I am not qualified to offer legal or tax advice. So I can only talk about my own experience – which may not be right for you.

Here are some Action Steps to establish a production company:

1.     Once you have a desired company name, chat with an attorney about establishing a proper legal structure for your company. Each state is different in terms of laws and tax consequences. Create a team of trusted tax and legal advisers. These folks will help guide you towards raising money and also keeping everything legal.

2.     I REPEAT – Talk with a qualified professional first. If you’re short on cash, many states offer an organization of lawyers for the arts. Check with your state film commission or do a web search for appropriate contact information.

3.     Once you establish your company, create a website, logo and a business card. These marketing materials will share consistent colors, fonts and logos. Make sure everything looks great. If you are spending more time focused on the “look” of your company, you have lost perspective. Your primary goal is to make movies, not fiddle with websites.

If you’d like more information on any of this stuff, check out these professional filmaking tools.

How To Build Rapport With Movie Investors (And Other Hollywood Heavy Hitters)

If you want to to raise money to make your movie, you need to first build rapport.  This one lesson alone can accelerate your filmmaking success faster than most anything else you can do. This is especially important when you meet with prospective movie investors and Hollywood heavy hitters.

The reason is simple. People do business with people they like and trust.

(Remember this, always. Seriously.)

My first film was this silly short, shot in 16mm. It was a college project. And it was expensive.

In order to participate in the class, I had to come up with a over one-thousand dollars. That may or may not seem like a lot of money to you. But when I was in college, I didn’t have it.

I was broke!

I saw a job advertisement in the local paper that seemed interesting (this was years before the internet.) Anyway, the job was with this swimming pool and spa company. They needed someone to travel to regional fairs and carnivals to sell hot-tubs.

Yeah. Before I made and distributed movies, I worked at a carnival. Don’t judge me.

Can you picture this? You’re at a local carnival. Probably chomping on french fries and funnel cake. And as you’re walking to find a chocolate milkshake to wash it all down, you stumble into the hot-tub tent.

Picture this:

I’m pitching you a ten-thousand dollar hot tub that you have no desire to buy.

At the time, I wasn’t the best sales guy. In fact, I had no idea what I was doing. I kept pitching and pitching, but the ice cream eating customers were not buying.

Worse, they ignored me cold and often walked away.

My filmmaking dreams faded with each rejection.

But then one day, this old timer sales guy came up to me and said the following:

“You know why you aren’t selling?”
“No,” I said.
“It’s because you ain’t taking time to build rapport.”
“Rapport?”
“Yeah. You need to connect with these people. Make a friend first.”

Rapport is simply a feeling of connection between you and the person (or people) around you. To build rapport, you simply need to ask some questions, shut your mouth and listen. Once I understood this, I took time and got to know each prospect BEFORE I went into the pitch.

In the weeks to follow, an interesting thing happened. I found out that a lot people were just visiting to fair so they could eat ice cream. They had no desire to buy a hot-tub. So I did not waste time pitching my offer. Taking time to build rapport also allowed me to find people who were actually interested.

By the end of the summer, I was the top hot-tub sales guy on the team.

This allowed me to produce my first short movie, and I also had extra money left over.

But Jason – What does this have to do with filmmaking?

Years later I realized taking time to build rapport while selling hot-tubs is the exact strategy you will use to build rapport with movie investors and Hollywood Heavy Hitters. It’s amazing how small jobs can teach you BIG lessons!

Here is a quick filmmaking video.

BUILD RAPPORT

I’ve said it time and time again. If you cannot connect with people, garnering any measure of success in the movie industry will be difficult. The good news is, with a few strategies and techniques, you can begin to build meaningful and profitable relationships with people at an accelerated rate.

Establishing rapport is the first step to creating a Hollywood relationship.

FILMMAKING ACTION STEPS

  1. Read the trade journals, national newspapers and watch the news whenever you can. This will keep you informed of current events, including sports, finance and especially entertainment. (So you can find stuff to talk about.)
  2. When you’re informed, finding conversational topics between strangers will come easier – This is a skill you’ll need when you got out and pitch to prospective investors or Hollywood heavyweights for the first time. I know I just mentioned it – but in Hollywood, there are two trade journals. Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. Read them!
  3. This one should be obvious, but watch every movie you can. (Seriously.)
  4. Read the following books: How to Win Friends & Influence People and Never Eat Alone (These are general business books, but useful to your filmmaking.)
  5. Since communication is mostly body language, one effective technique to building rapport involves mirroring and moving your body in sync with the person you’re talking with. (Just don’t be obvious about this.)

As you meet more people, you’ll begin to expand your context of reality. People will provide you with ideas, help and often introduce you to other people. Add this up over time and you’ll soon see how each person you meet potentially creates a positive ripple effect that will propel you in the direction of your Hollywood goals!

RESOURCES
If you are looking for tips and strategies for getting movie money, check out The Film Finance Guide. It was authored by myself and Tom Malloy. Keep in mind the Tom Malloy has raise over 25M in film funding to produce his firs feature film. Head over the Film Finance Guide here.

How To Finance Movies With VOD Sales Projections

Do you know the most popular question filmmakers ask me?

I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with video on demand.

Ready. . .

Without too much variation, the most popular question is: “Can you provide some VOD sales projections?”

I understand the motive behind this question.

Believe me, I do.

You’re a filmmaker. You either made an awesome movie and you’re trying to use VOD sales projections to convince your partners that VOD is the way to go. Or you are in the process of making a movie and you need to convince your investors that VOD is awesome. In both scenarios, you’re trying to find proof that movies make money in VOD.

I get that. . . But. . .

Let’s make one thing clear. Asking for VOD sales projections is asking the wrong question!

If you dig around, examples of VOD Sales successes are out there. Check out what The Polish Brothers did. And if that’s not enough, Google the case study around Indie Game the movie.

But the truth is, one filmmaker’s past success does not guarantee that your movie will be successful.

Read that statement over and over again. And if you need a little more clarity, take a look at what the cat is saying here:

VOD Sales Projections

Realizing that VOD sales projections are BS is essential for your success. And I am going to explain how you can use your new found understanding for good, very soon…

But before I go there, let’s talk about why people invest in independent film.

Why Investors Invest In Indie Film

Independent movie investors invest because (aside from having an appetite for risk and an interest in the film business) most of these people want a return on their money. If you are doing things by the book, you probably created a marketing strategy as part of your business plan. This plan provides prospective investors an overview of how investment dollars will be budgeted, spent and hopefully recouped.

In the past, trying to convince investors movies were a good investment involved projecting returns based on speculative data. To guess how much money a movie may make, filmmakers would compare their project to other successful movies.

Creating indie movie comparables is complete BS.

The reason for this is simple.

Just because you make a low budget horror movie does not guarantee your movie will have the same success as Paranormal Activity.

In fact, Paranormal Activity is an outlier. It is not a fair comparison. And using breakout hits as examples, while ignoring the thousands of unsuccessful horror movies made each year, is short-sited at best and I dare say a little unethical.

Video On Demand Sales Projections

Given the birth of VOD distribution, as a filmmaker you now have the ability to access and enter into a non-discriminatory marketplace as soon as your movie is ready. And because many of these marketplaces exist online, much of your sales will come from internet traffic.

This is actually awesome news.

It means that you can boost your sales by using a very common marketing concept called…

[Seriously… Are you ready? You are about to receive the secret sauce of modern, indie movie marketing.]

More important than VOD Sales Projections is:

Conversion Rates

What is a conversion rate?

Conversion Rate Defined, According to Wikipedia:

Your conversion rate is the proportion of visits to a website who take action to go beyond a casual content view or website visit, as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators.

Conversion_Rate

In other words, if you send one-hundred people to your movie website and two people buy your movie, your conversion rate is two percent. This is profound. This is life changing for indie filmmakers!

Question: Why should filmmakers be enthusiastic about the internet marketing, nerd concept of conversion rates?

Answer: If you know your conversion rates, you can model and potentially project more accurate movie sales projections from day one.

But before you start noodling around to find your conversion rates, it helps to answer the following questions:

Modern MovieMaking Model

  1. Who Is Your Target Audience?
  2. How Large Is Your Target Audience?
  3. How Will You Reach Your Audience?
  4. What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
  5. How Many VOD Sales To Break Even?

While I won’t get into the actual mechanics of marketing and selling your movie here (My Action Guide How To Sell Your Movie provides you with an actual step-by-step plan for getting your movie seen and sold), I will simply note that a marketing plan must now be included with your business plan.

The Secret VOD Sales Projection Formula

When you create (or refine) your marketing plan, you must now include some marketing math.

Truth be told, math is a weak subject for me and I dare say, most of the filmmakers I know. But luckily there are many spreadsheet templates that allow you to test several conversion rate scenarios. You can use these scenarios as a guideline to ballpark the potential ROI for your movie.

Here is a basic website conversion rate calculator you can utilize: http://bit.ly/17TSCrt

Before you get overly excited (like I am) calculating your movie website conversion rate is only one metric to determine your movie’s potential for profitability. You still need to figure out how to price your movie. And at the same time, you will need to determine how much targeted internet traffic will cost you.

Generating Internet traffic is the result of executing four strategies. You can either get free traffic online, free traffic offline, paid traffic offline or paid traffic online.

For the sake of this example, I am going to incorporate pay per visit advertising. With pay per visit advertising, you simply pay for someone to visit your movie website.

One example of Pay Per Visit traffic is StumbleUpon. It’s a social bookmarking site that also allows you to pay for semi-targeted traffic. This works well if you have a movie with a dose of controversy and a strong hook.

And again, if you’d like more info on specific traffic generating strategies, check out my indie guide to distribution.

Ok. Here is our first example…

Let’s assume only 1% of the targeted folks who actually visit your website, buy. Then how many visits will you need to sell 100 units?

100 units = Our goal for this ad campaign.
$.05 = Amount you may pay advertiser per visit.
X = Number of Visitors Needed to buy 100 units if only 1% buy.

(X).01 = 100 units
EQUATES TO: X= 10,000
THEN 10,000($.05) = $500 paid for targeted traffic.

So in other words, if you were lucky enough to get a 1% return, you just paid $500 dollars in pay per visit advertising to sell 100 units of your movie. But let’s go one step further. Let’s assume you’re like me – and you hate order fulfillment and shipping. So you decide to let a company like Amazon’s Create Space or iTunes (or some other popular marketplace) handle your order.

Video On Demand For Rent (Electronic Sell Through)
100 units ($3) = $300 – 50% paid to marketplace = $150
minus $500 paid for advertising = -$350 NEGATIVE

In this VOD rental scenario, the Pay Per Visit Ad numbers don’t work, unless you like losing money.

Video On Demand For Download (Electronic Sell Through)
100 units ($10) = $1000 – 50% paid to marketplace = $500
minus $500 paid for advertising = BREAK EVEN

In this VOD download to own scenario, the numbers work a little bit better. Assuming you’re lucky enough to get 1% of your money returned, at least the advertising pays for itself. But unless you can increase your conversion rates, pay per visit advertising is going to be very difficult method for returning money to your investors.

Physical DVD Sales
100 units ($20) = $2000 – 50% paid to marketplace = $1000
minus $500 paid for advertising = $500 in profit.

Ah ha! If you’re fortunate enough to get 1% return on your pay per visit advertising, you can see how physical DVD’s (or units) sold at $20 dollars may offer a slight profit margin. In other words, in this scenario, for every $.50 cents you spend, you get $1 dollar back.

So let’s tackle the bigger problem. Let’s try to get a return on our 1Million dollar movie, selling physical DVD sales and using pay per visit advertising alone:

Movie Budget = 1 Million dollars
Physical DVD Sales using Pay Per Visit Advertising

$1,000,000 divided by $20 per unit = 50,000 Units

Since we will give 50% to the marketplace for all sales, we will need to project for double our budget.

100,000 units = Our goal for this ad campaign.
$.05 = Amount you may pay advertiser per visit.
X = Number of Visitors Needed to buy 100,000 units if only 1% buy.

(X).01 = 100,000 units
EQUATES TO: X= 10,000,000 (Yes, TEN MILLION people.)
THEN 10,000,000($.05) = $500,000 paid for targeted traffic.

100,000 units ($20) = $2,000,000 – 50% paid to marketplace = $1,000,000
minus $500,000 paid for advertising = $500,000 in profit.

So to break even, you would need to sell 100,000 units and make $2,000,000.

Some Sales Conclusions

Based on this scenario, as a filmmaker you will (obviously) need to expand your promotion beyond pay-per-visit advertising!

But importantly and most AWESOMELY, you can treat your movie business like any other small business. With VOD Sales projections, you can find the marketing formula that works for your movie and crunch your numbers until you find a scenario that brings you profits.

Create a plan that included your marketing costs in your budget.

While there are no guarantees in any business, having a plan for marketing, sales and distribution sure beats the old days when your only plan for ROI involved crossing your fingers in the hopes someone will offer you a profitable, traditional deal.

While these may not be the VOD Sales Projections you were looking for, hopefully you now realize the power of knowing your conversion rates.

Treating your movie business like any small business simply means you don’t have to ask permission. You can make your movie NOW! And your prospective investors might take notice…

Also, can you do me a favor? If you liked this filmmaking article, could you kindly retweet or share this article with your friends?