What is Your Filmmaking Niche?

In movie marketing, there is this phrase I really like: “Marketing to everybody is marketing to nobody and niches will make you riches.” And while not every movie is guaranteed success, it is much easier to find your audience when you choose a filmmaking niche.

What is a filmmaking niche? It’s making a movie for a small slice of a larger audience. For example, let’s say you were making a horror movie. Horror is a very broad genre. But a subset of the horror genre is zombie movies. So in this example, making a zombie movie for a zombie loving audience would be your filmmaking niche.

So this is where you start. Will you make a horror movie, romantic comedy, action movie or a girl with a horse movie? (By the way, a girl with a horse movie really does well internationally.)

filmmaking niche

Photo © auremar / Dollar Photo Club

What is Your Filmmaking Niche?

Knowing your filmmaking niche is important because in order to make non-discriminatory distribution channels, such as iTunes and Amazon profitable – It is required that YOU market your movie on the internet. This means that you must work on sourcing your target audience and then drive those folks to your point of sale.

Having spent the last few years working in distribution, I can tell you that most filmmakers screw this up. They make a movie for everybody. And it is frankly too expensive to market to everybody! So before you even think about making your movie, answer these filmmaking questions:

  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?

Since both iTunes and Amazon are internet, transactional marketplaces, it makes sense that most of your sales will come via the internet. And as a result, you must create a web presence that speaks to your audience. In other words, you need to make sure the right people know your movie exists.

Who are the right people? People who love your type of movie.

Your Movie Website

When it comes to designing a movie website, most filmmakers never think about their filmmaking niche. They know they need a website for their movies. The problem is, most filmmakers put way too much crap on their site. And none of it speaks to their audience.

Goals

It’s essential to have goals for your movie website. When people come to your website, what action do you want your visitors to take? Do you want them to Tweet about the site? Join you on Facebook? Get into your audience list? Or buy your movie?

Distractions

Once you know your website goals, you need to determine if your website architecture and design is inline with your goals. To do this, install Google Analytics and monitor your traffic. If you find people are getting lost in a bunch of silly pages, remove those pages. Keep what matters.

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If you like these tips, you’ll love the Independent Producer’s Guide To Digitial Distribution

How To Generate Movie Ideas That Sell

A few weeks back I was at my dentist. We got to talking about movie ideas. And she immediately started telling me about some story she’s been writing for close to a decade.

That wouldn’t be too bad, except I’m paying her to drill my teeth.

And her story sucks.

Well, let me clarify…

I didn’t actually read her screenplay. For all I know the execution could be fabulous. But in terms of finding a remarkable hook that would lead her (or a distributor) to fulfilling my seven si·ne qua non distribution tactics, there was nothing there.

Nothing memorable. Nothing remarkable. And nothing exciting…

I recommended that she hire an A-List movie star and call it a day.

(That is what I call generic advice for generic movie ideas.)

As a filmmaker your success depends on your ability to produce and pitch movie ideas that sell. A good movie idea is memorable. It makes people raise an eyebrow and respond, “that’s interesting!” And it’s the sort of thing people remember long after you left the conversation.

From a business perspective, great movie ideas have a clearly defined target audience. If you can’t define your audience, you’ve either never thought about creating movie ideas that sell… Or you’re pretending that everybody on earth is your audience.

If that’s your situation, allow me to share a saying that applies to your movie business:

“Everybody is nobody. It’s niches will make you riches.”

movie ideas

Movie Ideas That Sell

The first step to planning your movie and finding your niche begins with brainstorming a few movie ideas. Write down a list of at least a dozen movie concepts that seem interesting to you. From there, pick the most appealing idea.

Keep in mind that getting your movie made, seen and selling is not a fast process. So in addition to creating marketable concept, you have to love your material. If you cannot have fun with your story, then why make the movie?

Once you focus on a concept, distill your movie into one concise sentence known as a log-line.

For example, let’s say your movie is described as “Zombies attack people.” Obviously this is a very succinct log-line, but it lacks the necessary detail to make your movie memorable. So your next job is to incorporate some flavorful elements back into your log-line.

Here is the same example with added detail: “Zombies attack a camp for the mentally challenged.”

While socially inappropriate, the extra detail adds sizzle to the description.

This will help you in two ways. Firstly, a unique description makes it easy for your audience to immediately understand how your movie differs from all the other movies in the genre. And secondly, from a marketing perspective, the words “zombies,” “zombies attack,” and “zombie movies” will help you to refine target your core audience.

Later, these targeted keywords will help you jump-start your internet search engine optimization campaign.

If you like these filmmaking tips, you’ll love my Sell Your Movie System.

 

How To Sell Your Movie Idea

If you want to sell your movie idea and actually get your movie made, you need to stop procrastinating and take action.

To do this, start the process by breaking your BIG filmmaking project into small, manageable chunks.

How do YOU plan on taking your movie project from script to screen?

Do you plan on finding prospective investors outside of Hollywood to fund your movie? Or do you plan on moving to Hollywood and then networking your way through the studio system?

Sell Your Movie Idea

How To Sell Your Movie Idea

1. What Are You Selling?

Everybody has an idea. Trust me.

The other day, while waiting to get my oil changed, I sat within earshot of two idiots pitching movie ideas to each other.

Both thought the other was gonna jump at the chance to “produce” each other’s epic story. The problem was, both of these yahoos wanted the same thing – to get THEIR movie made.

(And both bragged about knowing some movie star.)

In this example, even if these guys were real, there was no buyer in the conversation, just sellers.

Before you make your pitch, make sure you’re actually pitching to a buyer. And secondly, make sure the buyer actually cares about what you’re selling.

2. Make Sure Your Movie Is More Than An Idea

Everybody in Hollywood has an idea for a movie.

Everybody thinks they can write screenplays. Everybody thinks they are special.

Everybody is crossing their fingers, waiting and praying that SOMEONE ELSE will recognize their talent and sprinkle them with Hollywood famous fairy dust.

Ideas are everywhere and ideas are worth less than something tangible.

If you want to be taken seriously, make sure you have more than an idea. I suggest having the rights to an outstanding story, or some money in the bank, or the interest of a NAME actor. At least this is something. . .

3. Speak The Language Of Your Buyer

Everybody asks: What’s in it for me?

If you don’t get this, you will pitch water to fish – with no success. (Fish do not need additional water.)

While I enjoy all movies, my own interests involve skateboarding, time travel and science fiction that explores theories of physics. I also like knowing if there is an easily accessible market.

Is there a niche target audience for your story?

Story aside, some people are interested in helping you because they think it will help them get laid, make more money or simply feel good on the golf course, bragging that that they are now a film producer.

What does your buyer want? If you do not know, you have no business pitching.

get movie moneyIf this aspect of film producing seems totally cray, cray and you never sold a thing, I highly recommend you get some sort of sales job. This will teach you cold calling skills, how to face rejection and if you’re good, you might just make few bucks in the process.

Or you could just grab a copy of the Indie Producer’s Guide To Film Finance and find out how to meet and build relationships with prospective investors.

Sell Your Movie For Maximum Profit

If you’re already a seasoned feature filmmaker, take a moment and think back: Do you remember when the idea of making movies seemed like a far away dream?

Do you remember when you first got the idea for your movie? Do you remember Your first day of production? Do you remember your first screening and how well everyone loved your work?

That happened to me with my first feature. Like you, I thought our movie would get into Sundance, play well, build buzz and if we were really lucky, we had hoped the movie would garner us a 3 picture deal. But that didn’t happen.

Sure, we got some offers, but they were not “deals.” (A deal actually pays money!)

So instead of exchanging our movie for an empty promise, we decided to try selling our movie on the internet. Little did I know, this one decision has changed the course of my movie making life. That was five years ago…

And since that time, the internet as evolved. If you’re a filmmaker with a movie, you need to get it selling in all the popular internet marketplaces, including Amazon and iTunes.

You don’t need a middle-man to make this profitable. I am going to show you my internet marketing secrets…

You can check out my “How To Sell Your Movie” system by visiting the website here.

Refine Your Trailer

YouTube

Image via Wikipedia

Think back to a time in filmmaking history when your greatest challenge was actually making a movie. At least the idea seemed easier.

For those of you new to independent movie making, let’s review. In the past, many first time feature filmmakers were driven by something I call “The Sundance Model.”

This is the idea where filmmakers went out, acquired or wrote a screenplay, got money, made the movie and then hoped like heck they would get into a major festival and garner a significant (and profitable deal.)

From a pure business perspective, this was a crazy way to make movies. I mean, can you name one other industry in the world that produces a product without having a solid distribution channel in place?

Can you name another industry that, once the product is made, relies on other outside people for ALL of the marketing, sales and distribution of the product?

These days things are a bit different. These days DVD distribution is dying. And with this death, the days of relying on some outside distributor to validate your work and sell it are numbered.

The upside to this modern moviemaking movement is, you can finally put all those years of creative accounting and bad deals behind you. The bad news is, as an independent filmmaker, you are going to have to add yet another hat to your overflowing rack. This time, the hat you wear will be sales and marketing.

Now before you leave a gazillion comments telling me that foreign DVD territory sales and (even) pre-sales are alive and well – I provide this disclaimer. Consider any deal that makes sense. But in the event the deal only pays you validation and a copy of your DVD, hopefully this helps you create a more profitable plan.

I also want to caution both new as well as veteran filmmakers of the following: The day is fast approaching when DVD retail will eventually join VHS, CDs, Cassette Tapes, 8-Tracks and the silly stores that used to sell them  in the great abyss of a bygone era. And rightfully so!

So all of this said, if you’re just reading filmmaking stuff for the first time,welcome!

In this community we don’t over complicate the filmmaking process. We make movies and we work to sell our movies without asking permission. And in this respect, you are reading article 5 of my 7 step process for selling your your movie on iTunes, Amazon and Netflix for Maximum profit.

So to recap, once you have sharpened your hook (pt. 1)targeted your target audience (pt. 2)set up shop (pt. 3) and created a movie sales funnel (pt. 4) you are ready to begin the process of driving traffic to your movie sales site.

Refine Your Trailer (And Promote It)

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 re-cut 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.

The internet is full of places where you can upload and post your trailer. But out of all of them, YouTube is top-notch. Aside from being the second largest search engine on earth, the service also incorporates a built-in social networking component that allows people to comment and discuss your movie and create community around your title.

This is important because word-of-mouth indicates what people like and dislike about your movie. And as you will soon learn, more discussion (good or bad) equals more sales.

Since YouTube records the number of views, this is also a great indication of how well your trailer is being received. If viewership is low, refine your title, tags and description to complement your niche subject matter. Martial Arts Movie? One tag might be “Karate” or “Kung Fu.”

After tweaking and re-tweaking your description, if viewership is still stagnant, consider cutting, tweaking and testing multiple versions of your trailer. For more information on how to market and sell your movie, visit www.HowToSellYourMovie.com