Refine Your Trailer


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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

Movie Sales Funnel | Sell Your Movie PT 4

Layers of a typical sales funnel.

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Filmmaking is changing. Like it or not, if you want to make a living making movies, you need to learn about the business side of independent movie making. And if this is your first time on filmmaking stuff, you are reading step 4 of a 7 part series on How To Sell Your Movie On iTunes, Amazon and Netflix For Maximum Profit.

So picking up where we left off, once you have sharpened your hook and targeted your target audience, and set up shop in the popular VOD marketplaces, your next step is to create a movie sales funnel.

Step 4 of 7 – Create Your Movie Sales Funnel

To set up an internet movie sales funnel, you will have to modify your website to funnel all traffic towards a sale. This can be achieved easily by removing all the potentially distracting content from your site including production photos, press kits and actor bios. Once removed, further emphasis should be placed on your trailer, your about page, and most importantly, your “buy now” buttons.

Most of your visitors will exit your website and never return. So to increase your odds of converting these visitors into paying customers, you will want to create ways to capture visitor contact information. One easy way is by creating a Facebook page for your movie and then placing a Facebook link on your site. This way, once your visitor joins your movie’s Facebook community, the added social proof of like-minded fans touting the joys of your movie may increase your sales. This goes for Twitter and other social networking communities too.

But because many social networking sites run the risk of going out of vogue, you will want to migrate your fans off the social networks and get them into your own mailing list. For this, I recommend using a third-party email marketing service such as Aweber.  Aweber provides ease of service. As soon as you sign up for one of their inexpensive accounts, you can easily create a way for your fans to connect with you. For example, if you would like over $47 dollars in FREE filmmaking tools simply enter your info into my Awber opt in box below.

If you just signed up, you will get an email. You will need to first, confirm your subscription. After you confirmed, you probably noticed how you were redirected to a “Thank You Page.” And on that page you were able to download all sorts of premium filmmaking tools, for free.

This is called permission based marketing. Because I have built some trust with you, you decided to give me permission to send you useful filmmaking information. While I am obviously utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with filmmakers (and YOU), this model can be (and should be) applied to your own movie business. But instead of giving away filmmaking books and audio courses, you might consider allowing your prospective movie audience to download a free movie soundtrack.

The reason why I stress Audience List Building so much in my Filmmaking model is because no matter what happens in distribution, the size of your targeted audience list  (a community of people who know you and your work) – this will determine your rate of success over your long-term career. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Three Tips for building your Audience List:

  1. From now on, as soon as you have a website, start buiding your list.
  2. Put your website on your business card.
  3. Collect names and email addresses at film festivals.

Companies like Aweber allow you to manage your email communication with thousands of fans. And since reputable email companies have good relationships with internet service providers, the odds of your movie newsletter ending up in spam folders is decreased.

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

Is Traditional Movie Distribution Dead?

If you are subscribed to the filmmaking stuff podcast, you probably already know my thoughts on movie distribution. In a few years VOD will be the primary method by which movies will be seen and sold.

With this belief, there will come a day when there is no delineation between your TV and the internet – which means you’ll be able to upload your feature into popular marketplaces with the ease of uploading a movie to YouTube.

With each passing day, your ability to tune into the iTunes, Amazon or Netflix on-demand channel on your TV is increasing in popularity. Science fiction has become science fact sooner than we ever thought possible.

These innovations, no matter how subtle, will put the last nail in the coffin for traditional distribution.

So we may as well get ready for the new world of distribution right now…

Is Traditional Movie Distribution Dead?

Even now, traditional DVD distribution is deteriorating. And with the rise of VOD marketplaces, old-timers are trying like crazy to make sure that traditional, global territories remain safeguarded by pre-existing, DVD territorial bounds.

The problem with trying to fit  VOD into the same “box” as DVD is simple. Video on demand marketplaces are bound by the internet, which doesn’t have boundaries.  This is potentially bad for traditional distribution. But it’s great for modern moviemakers. Why?

You no longer have to worry about preserving the old ways of doing things, including asking some 3rd party to give you permission to sell your movie.

With all these changes in distribution, as a filmmaker, getting you movie seen and selling is still one of the biggest challenges you face.

That’s why I created my latest product: How To Sell Your Movie. This step-by-step action guide shows you how to market and sell your movie in popular marketplaces such as Amazon and iTunes. Additionally, I show you how I lost around $100,000 dollars with our first feature and how you can avoid my mistakes.

While creating community around your title, building buzz and increasing your fan base is both challenging and fun, a lot of filmmakers have no idea how to get started. In this regard, one of your first steps is to determine if your movie is ready for the marketplace.

Do you have all your paperwork and errors and omissions insurance? Are you ready to get your movie seen and potentially selling? If you have a movie collecting dust on some bookshelf, and the title is currently not selling, listen up:

If you are seeking movie distribution, check out

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 – 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!


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:

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: