The Secret To Filmmaking Success

If I could go back and talk to myself ten years ago… And if I could only share one filmmaking success tip, what would I say?

In two words: Cold Calling.

I know this may sound unrelated to filmmaking. But I can tell you that success is not created in a vacuum. It is created with the help and support of other people, including mentors and customers.

And while it is true that some people stumble upon contacts and get lucky, I would venture to say that over 90 percent of self-made successful people got what they wanted in life by utilizing some variation of the following three success tips:

First: They knew what they wanted.

Second: They made a plan to get what they wanted.

Third: They picked up the phone and cold called people who could help make their plan a reality.

Think about it. Could you go to “networking events” and try to find folks to help introduce you to the appropriate contact? Yes. But just as easily you could pick up the phone, call your prospective contact’s place of business and try to get him or her on the phone to make your pitch.

Will you get through? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you had a list of 100 prospects and you called all the people on that list, odds are good you would find someone willing to sit down with you.

Why is this important to your filmmaking? Because unless you ASK for what you want, how is anybody in life going to know how to find you?

If you would like to find out more about networking, success strategies and most importantly – how to find prospective investors for your next movie, you might want to check out the independent producer’s guide to getting movie money. You can find out more by clicking here  >>

Indie Filmmaking As Your Business

If you’ve been following Filmmaking Stuff for some time, you probably know that this site really pushes non-permission based filmmaking. This concept means that if you’re a filmmaker with ambition and a dream, you should not hesitate…

You should not wait for Hollywood to give you permission – but rather, you should pick up a camera and Make Your Movie Now!

For some of you, this is easier said than done. Part of why this seems challenging and impossible is because many of us start our career with the belief that filmmakers need a gazillion dollars, tons of experience and an address in Hollywood to make a living as a “real” filmmaker.

While this was once true, the new model of movie making allows you to create and sell movies from anywhere in the world.

For many, this filmmaking evolution is exciting. But the classic elements of filmmaking remain. You still need a great story, the passion and persistence to bring your movie to life, and the guts to share your work with the world.

To give you a rough plan of how to get your indie movie business up and running, I’ve provided a few steps. (Where I thought it would help, I also included links to some sponsored filmmaking tools and services.) Ready:

1. Build A Team: Create relationships with at least 5-10 collaborators who complement your skill set. At the very least, you’ll want to find a writer who understands budgets, a physical producer experienced in low budget movie making, a tech guru who understands cameras and modern production gadgets, an editor with Final Cut Pro and an internet guru who can help you promote and sell your movies online.

Bonus points if you can find a lawyer who can provide you with the necessary legal advice, contracts and advice on setting up a business.

2. Create a Manageable Movie Concept: Come together as a team and design a movie that can be explained in one high-concept log-line. It has been my experience that original, genre specific movies with a bit of controversy, geared towards a clearly defined target audience will later help you when it comes time to market and sell your movie.

Above all, your movie idea should be totally fun and captivating. (Otherwise, why make the movie?)

3. Break Down Your Screenplay: Out of this, complete your schedule and your budget. Then analyze your budget. Ask yourself: If we do not garner a traditional distribution deal, how many $4.99 VOD downloads will we need to sell to get a return? At this point you can decide to decrease your budget, or not. But once you decide on your budget and the amount of sales you’ll need to get a return, you can then begin planning your marketing strategy.

If you have money, hire a great Production Manger. If you don’t have money, you’ll have to do your own breakdown. Check out my sponsor, LightSpeed EPS.

4. Go Get The Money: Once you have a concrete filmmaking strategy, you can go after your money. Investors like to see three things in your business plan: Who is running the company? How will you spend the money? And how will you make a profit?

Unlike years past, iTunes, Amazon and (sometimes) Netflix provides you with an accessible distribution pipeline. This will assist you in getting the necessary movie money. If you don’t know how to find prospective investors, see: www.GetMovieMoney.com

After you lock down your money, you can go into pre-production full force. Hire a great 1st AD.

5. Sell Your Movie: Once you get the money, I’m assuming you’ll make the movie. After that, two things have to happen. You have to spread the word about your movie. And you have to figure out how you are going to sell the thing. Once you get your movie out there and selling, focus on fueling your marketing with ads, PR and partnerships with other filmmakers.

After you do this once, the way to become successful is to create more and more movies. Remember, your goal is to create at least 20 movies in your life time, so that you can get at least 20 checks in the mail each month!

If you like this filmmaking stuff, you’ll love this resource: www.FreeFilmmakingBook.com

Filmmaking Tips You Can Use Today To Prosper

Nestor Studios, the first film studio in Holly...

Filmmaking has come a long way since this picture. But one thing hasn't changed - Filmmakers Need To Make Movies to prosper. Image via Wikipedia

If you’re filmmaker seeking practical filmmaking tips you can use TODAY, I’d like to share some thoughts with you.

The world of filmmaking is changing. Producing content is getting cheaper. And distribution outlets are becoming increasingly accessible. While these changes have not fully hit mainstream Hollywood, you can rest assured that it’s only a matter of time until the ripple effect has a leveling impact.

And when these changes hit, will you be ready?

Here are my 5 filmmaking tips on how to prepare for these changes.

  1. Filmmaking Tip #1 – Build Your Fan Club. Like any business, in order to prosper, you need to create, build and keep customers. For filmmakers, this means building an audience of people who like your work. (If you like this website, you can sign up for my fan club by going here: http://www.FreeFilmmakingBook.com)
  2. Filmmaking Tip #2 – Create content. If you’re serious about your filmmaking future, you need to have a YouTube page and you need to be making creative short movies at least every month. Why YouTube? Because I believe the site will become a hub for Video On Demand movies, they are owned by Google and YouTube allows you to create community around your work.
  3. Filmmaking Tip #3 – Create new products. Every business needs to sell a service or a product to survive. As an independent filmmaker, your primary product is feature films. To make this business viable for yourself, you need to fill your file cabinet with story ideas. Then you need to figure out how to turn those stories into feature films, ready for sale.
  4. Filmmaking Tip #4 – Surround Yourself With Talent. You can’t do everything yourself. Find a group of 10 other filmmakers who have complementary talents and an equal level of passion and enthusiasm. Then join forces and create some (movie) products!
  5. Filmmaking Action Tip #5 – Learn how to sell. You will need sales skills on two fronts. Firstly, you should know how to sell, so you can raise movie money. And secondly, you should know how to sell so that you can accelerate sales of your movies. Once you learn the basics – stop fetching coffee and take a sales job outside of the industry, selling something tough. If you can master sales skills, you will start cold calling heavy hitters with no hesitation. This make pitching your ideas or (independent movie) products a cinch.

Anyway, I hope these filmmaking tips are helpful.

As always, if you have thoughts or ideas or questions, feel free to comment or email.

Conference Call Recap: Film Finance

Hello From Los Angeles!

For those of you who tuned into the filmmaking conference call over the weekend – it was great to meet you. For those of you who missed it, no worries. The call will be available for download soon. (So if you’re on the filmmaking stuff mailing list, you’ll get it for free.)

For those of you who missed the call, we focused on film finance and digital self distribution. (These are the two areas I learned the HARD WAY.) And if you happen to be one of the many filmmakers with a movie and no deal, stay tuned. . . I’m very passionate about digital self distribution and know a ton about this topic (FROM EXPERIENCE) and I want to make sure that your movie distirbution needs are getting met in this ever changing climate. (In other words, I want to show you how to market and sell your movie for maximum profit.)

As always, thanks a lot for tuning in.