Filmmaking Seminar Los Angeles

For Los Angeles based fimmakers looking to take their show to business, I recommend checking out the next  Norman Berns workshop.  In this full-day, hands-on instruction, you will gain experience on the following:





Your day will begin with an overview of the basics. Then you’ll spend A FULL DAY working with YOUR script, YOUR schedule, YOUR plan, YOUR pitch. You’ll gain valuable insight needed to dissect the logic of a shooting schedule, review production budget cost savings and craft business plans to meet investors needs. And you’ll also discover how to allocate state film incentives correctly.

Oh. And as a highlight, I’m going to stop by and share some tips on how to market and sell your movie without the middleman. I’m told this one day event is filling up fast. So reserve your spot.

When: Monday, May 9th

Where: Showbiz Software Store

500 S. Sepulveda, Los Angeles

9am – 6pm

Filmmaking Is Just Like Making Widgets

When we compare modern moviemaking to widget production, it oftentimes seems as though we are saying that the end product of our work carries with it so much more human, emotional weight and experience than the mere production of a widget. And while I understand that watching a feature film has so much more value to ME, and as most of us would argue, humanity – Our friends at the widget factory might disagree.

If we think about it, widgets run our moviemaking; Think about our cameras and our equipment and the computer (or mobile device) the enables us to read these words. Now think of the companies and factories that produce these widgets, and the widgets that create the cars that drive the widget production team to work. And when these widget craftsmen and craftswomen go to work, (to take the analogy further), some of them will spend the next twelve hours dreaming up the next award-winning widget, with one goal in life: They want to make your experience on earth more valuable.

Sound familiar?

Like making a movie, creating the perfect widget takes tremendous time, effort, planning, research and development, financing, prototype creation, craft, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales. These business components, like modern moviemaking are all essential to the success of a mere widget. And none of it would have happened without the creativity or tenacity of some entrepreneur (or movie producer) with an imagination and the desire to create and share something that might just make your life better.

As a modern moviemaker, I have no problem with this analogy. Most folks know I’m a little bit too obsessed with Video On Demand distribution and how it finally enables us to effortlessly share our finished films (our widgets) with the world. But what this means to me is, moviemakers finally have a business that no longer requires the outsourcing of marketing, distribution and sales. We can finally operate as a stand-alone business, albeit a small business! And unlike widget production, our product does not have to be delivered in physical form. This means we can NOW reach our customers (our audience) without the headaches, time consumption, fulfillment and shipping costs previously associated with our industry – which are still cumbersome elements most always associated with other industries.

If nothing else, I believe this analogy should serve to help all modern moviemakers quickly communicate OUR business to prospective investors – with a reception we have never known! Because like it or lump it, most prospective, private investors make their living dreaming up and manufacturing the perfect widget in some other industry. And because we finally have a middle-man-less, non-discriminatory sales channel (VOD), prospective investors might finally understand that OUR business, like their widget business, makes sense.


Note: This posting was initially published as my response to a posting on Ted Hope’s blog, Truly Free Film. Because I went on for quite a few paragraphs, I decided to post it here too.


5 Movie Industry Success Tips

A young Lai Man-Wai in 1913 in Zhuangzi Tests ...
First Movie in Hong Kong Image via Wikipedia

If you want to get ahead in the crazy industry of movies, you would be best to follow the following 5 tips for movie industry success:


1. Read every business book you can, even the ones not related to movies. In fact, focus on business books not related to movies. Why? For many of you, most of your potential investors will work in other industries. You’ll want to know how to frame your movie project in such a way that it sounds like sound business!

Get a Job

2. If you have to take a job to survive, you may as well learn how to sell. I say this because no matter what you do, your success will depend on your ability to sell yourself and your projects. Plus, as an added bonus, professional sales people sometimes make more than doctors and lawyers.

Set Clear Goals

3. Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish in your movie career. So many people are clueless. They go around and around, always saying things like: “This is going to be the year I really get focused.” Twenty years later, they are saying the same stuff. If you haven’t written down your filmmaking goals, you run the risk of becoming one of those people. Don’t do that.

Greenlight Yourself!

4. In the event you are between industry jobs, create your own project. These days, making short movies and uploading to YouTube is super inexpensive. There is no excuse not to make skits and try to gauge audience reaction. No good responses, then make another movie. Try to learn how to make things happen on the small screen, and the big screen will follow.

Become  a Marketing Machine

5. Finally, in ways akin to learning how to sell, you must also learn a thing or two about internet marketing. Distribution is changing. And in time, everything may well be video on demand. You need to prepare for this shift… In the future success will belong to the best marketers. (You still need to do good work!)

Hope this helps. And if you haven’t signed up for the free course offered by, what are you waiting for?