Leverage Your Following | Sell Your Movie PT 7

Internal rate of return, two solutions, cashflow

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One of the most important filmmaking strategies you must adopt in this era of modern moviemaking is a long term perspective. In years past, filmmakers focused on making one movie, selling it and then moving on to the next movie.

While the idea of creating multiple titles over the course of your filmmaking career has not changed, it is now vitally important that you plan a series of movies from day one. The reason for this is simple. You are now solely responsible for the success of your movie business. And to stay in business, you will need to create a profitable library of titles that continually pay you.

To use a real estate business analogy, in years past you built a house and sold it for maximum profit. But these days, given the changes in the real estate market, it makes sense to hold onto the house, rent it out and collect rent checks every month. This is the difference between capital gains and cashflow. And as an independent filmmaker, the growing demise in DVD sales outlets means that filmmakers must now focus on creating multiple titles – and increasing cashflow, over time.

Leverage Your Following

As I mentioned previously, creating a highly targeted mailing list is now essential for your success.

Thinking long term, the most important component of your movie making success is establishing a loyal following. From a business perspective, the size of your mailing list will provide a solid metric on which to base forward looking revenue projections. In other words, you can take look at your list and say “two percent of our followers bought this movie. I wonder how many fans will be interested in my next movie?” But instead of guess work, you can send your followers an email and ask them.

As you grow your community your fans will begin to know you, know your company and celebrate your work. And as long as you continue to provide good entertainment, you may eventually reach mass great enough to fund your future movie projects. Imagine how much prospective investors will appreciate your pitch when you already have one-hundred-thousand fans eager to buy your next movie?

[box style=”notice”] For more information on how to market and sell your movie, visit www.HowToSellYourMovie.com[/box]

In the end, the heart and soul of all forms of distribution is finding an audience willing to pay you for your work. Video on demand simply removes the middle-man from the process and allows you to connect directly with the people who matter the most – your audience.

Filmmaker Jason Brubaker Gets Punched Out By LA Producers Over Video On Demand Sales Projections

When I published my article on leveraging VOD sales to finance your movie, I had no idea that a simple internet marketing formula for filmmakers would be such a polarizing issue. I can’t tell you how many Los Angeles based movie producers responded negatively through email.

One guy even told me my grammar sucked.

So to clarify, I was not trying to ruffle any feathers. I was simply applying a standard internet marketing ROI formula to a product available through video on demand. Nothing more.

All of this was based on the premise that selling movies on the internet is no different than selling any other downloadable product (where you are lucky if you convert 1%)

This is based on experience. I learned how to market and sell movies on the internet when our first feature did not garner a traditional distribution deal and we ended up selling on Amazon. Back then I personally knew a bunch of filmmakers in a similar situation – all had titles but no deal. Since that time, even more filmmakers have flooded the market with titles. Couple this with the decline of various DVD sales channels, and suddenly a crappy $25 backyard indie can now share virtual self space with $25M movies.

For those of us who produce features without any sort of pre-sales, instead of telling prospective investors “If we are lucky, we might get into festivals and garner a distribution deal.” We can finally reach our audience without asking permission. And to me, this makes the indie movie business like any other small business… Produce a product and then market, sell and distribute your product.

This said, I totally agree with one of the readers who said my equation for returning a 1M dollar budget was preposterous. He was right. Anybody who thinks you can magically generate the mass amount of sales needed to recoup even a 1M dollar investment without a substantial outlay of cash towards advertising is mis-guided. Which is what those formulas reveal.

I wasn’t trying to present an indie movie panacea. We are all trying to find profit in business competing with (what I think is the indie movie equivalent) of sweat shop labor produced goods. So in terms of the person who said I’m trying to seduce “starry eyed producers,” I would say that finally having non-discriminatory VOD sales channels like Amazon, and especially iTunes finally gives us producers something to get excited about.

Whether or not we can find the marketing formula to justify our budgets remains the ongoing challenge. I for one am working my butt off to find the balance between budget and the amount of marketing needed to recoup the money – and hopefully create an ongoing stream of revenue.

My model of moviemaking isn’t for everyone. In fact, many of you have great relationships with distributors and are still making money in DVD and theatrical. Awesome! But if you are a filmmaker still relying on the “Sundance Dream” to recoup your budget – or if you are a filmmaker with a title collecting dust in your bedroom closet, I hope my article offered a little optimism.

At the same time, feel free to share your own thoughts on VOD distribution.

And spelling an grammatical tips are welcome from filmmakers too.

Filmmaking Stuff News For 2011 Early

Picture I made for my goals article

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Hi Filmmakers,

If this is your first time visiting Filmmaking Stuff, welcome! For those of you who have been a member of the Filmmaking Stuff community for some time, hello again! I’m writing you from my home in Laural Canyon. For those of you who don’t know this part of Los Angeles, I’m in the canyon between the Hollywood Hills, and within walking distance to Jim Morrison’s former house (which is for sale if any of you have an extra 1.6 Million).

I wanted to write YOU because our filmmaking community is growing like crazy. It seems many of you have told your friends about www.FreeFilmmakingBook.com – and your friends have told their friends, and their friends have told their friends… So THANK YOU for spreading the word! The goal is to grow our community of modern moviemakers to at least 10,000 by December 2011.

Because our filmmaking community is growing so rapidly, you can tell I’m already planning my filmmaking stuff goals for 2011. I am looking for ways in which we can help each other increase our moviemaking business. Obviously our facebook and twitter pages provide at least one way to connect, but I think there is more we can do. Over the next few months, I will share some solutions. (And you’ll be the first to know.)

Filmmaking Stuff News Updates – In Prep For 2011

1. Film Festivals:

I’m in the process of scheduling workshops and panel discussions at various film festivals around the world. My focus is showing filmmakers how to market and sell their movies, utilizing new methods in VOD distribution (and also how to leverage these sales channels to raise money from prospective investors.)

Why is this important to you? Because, before VOD, filmmakers had to find some sort of  middle man to market and sell their movies. But this has changed for the better. These days, you can finally make a movie and distribute your movie without asking permission – which means, you can finally pitch your movie project as a REAL business to investors. (Please stop putting stuff in your business plan about how you hope to get into Sundance and garner a dream distribution deal. 1995 is over. Investors don’t want to play the lottery. They want a business!)

So, if you know of a local film festival that would benefit from the “Maximize Your Movie Profits Without The Middle Man” workshop – feel free to tell them them about Jason Brubaker and Filmmaking Stuff. If I book a gig as a result of your efforts, you will get a copy of the entire Movie Maker Action Pack.

2. New Filmmaking Product:

Speaking of the Action Pack, two weeks ago I totally updated and silently released my latest product. I call it the Independent Produer’s Guide to Digital Self Distribution. It is a step-by-step action guide with some fill-in-the-blank type stuff.  Not surprisingly, this action guide is complementary to my workshop.

In truth, there are a lot of people out there that tell you that twitter and facebook is a great way to promote your movies. And while I agree that FB and Twitter are powerful tools, the other material never fully addresses (or solves) the real question: How do we make filmmaking a viable business? Hmmm?

If you have the same question, then you’re in luck. With the Indie Guide to Digital Self Distribution, I’ll show you how to market and sell your movie through video on demand and direct DVD sales – And I will also share how I lost over $100,000.00 with my first feature and how you can avoid my mistakes. Here is the link>>>

3. Modern Moviemaking Podcasts:

I started a FREE filmmaking podcast. Next time you open iTunes, search for Filmmaking Stuff. You’ll be able to subscribe to the Filmmaking Stuff, Filmmaking Podcast. In the coming months, I hope to interview a whole bunch of industry folks. I am going to focus on finding professionals willing to give away their secret sauce… I’ll keep you posted.

4. Modern Moviemaking Community, online:

Since publishing the modern moviemaking manifesto, some of you have written, requesting an online community where you can share ideas with other filmmakers involved in our movement. So I have taken the initial steps to creating the modern moviemaking community. If you want to be among the first to know about it (because it’s exclusive), make sure you get on the list.

5. Happy 2011. OK… I know I’m early.

For those of you who have gotten to know me, you already understand that I’m passionate and excited for the future of moviemaking. I have so many little projects lined up for 2011, I figure – Why wait? I’m eager to get moving and you should be too. Why? Because I believe the movie industry is changing fast! And it is vitally important that you stay on top of all the changes.

My suggestion? Read everything you can about finance, marketing, filmmaking and video on demand distribution. We are entering a new era.  This is the filmmaking equivalent of the automobile replacing the horse-drawn wagon. We are in the middle of a movement!


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.