Modern Filmmaking Business Plan

Figure1. Cognitive channel preferences of targ...

Image via Wikipedia

Most filmmaking business plans are stupid. Why? Because most filmmakers have no idea how to project a possible return on investment.

Don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault.

Until five years ago, distribution was discriminatory, abusive and monopolistic. As a result, the old business model for indie filmmaking relied heavily on some 3rd party, middle-man distribution strategy. “If we are really lucky we will get into Sundance and get rich.”

These days, relying on a 3rd party middleman to buy your movie is like waiting for the Tooth Fairy. It’s a nice thought, but it’s not solid business. Instead, I recommend you answer these questions before you go into any production:

  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?

After you answer these questions, then make sure you incorporate your marketing costs into your initial budget.

You might ask: “What if I just want to make movies and sell my movie?”
My response: “1995 called and they want their dumb distribution plan back.”

Like it or not, the world of filmmaking has changed.

If you hate asking permission to become successful in your own moviemaking business, then make sure you sign up for the filmmaking stuff newsletter.

Facebook Streaming Movie Distribution

The old model of independent filmmaking has made many traditional filmmakers into a bunch of wimps. As a result, wimpy filmmakers talk about DIY as if it’s a new concept or a bad word. But step out of the indie world for a bit, and you realize that other (more traditional) businesses do it themselves.

There are many reasons for our wimpy attitudes. As filmmakers, we have been conditioned that there is only one “correct way” to make, market and sell our  independent movies. Much of this mindset can be directly attributed to our never ending addiction for outsourcing distribution.

In other words, the old model of independent filmmaking was predicated on the idea that filmmakers served as research and development specialists, creating expensive prototypes at will – without any discernible idea of what to do if the movie product was not accepted by some (malevolent?) middle-man. The old model dictated that  filmmakers needed to ask permission to make, market and sell movies. And in those dark days, filmmakers were forced to travel the festivals and sales markets, seeking out greedy gatekeepers who held the keys to distribution and, subsequently, an audience.

But things have changed.

With access to non-discriminatory distribution, anybody can make a movie. And anybody can potentially reach a global audience.

As a result, it’s time to wise up. VOD is not the same as DVD. And filmmakers no longer need sales agents or traditional distributors unless these middle-men already have access to a receptive, sourced target audience. This is the ONLY way these folks add value. Otherwise, you’re just dealing with another bottom feeder. And Modern Moviemakers no longer need bottom-feeders.

Think I’m kidding? Facebook just started streaming movies. Now it’s even easier for filmmakers to source an audience without adding another middle man! Welcome to modern moviemaking!

  1. Now, go watch a movie on facebook. Here is the link   >>
  2. And while you’re at it, JOIN THE MODERN MOVIEMAKING REVOLUTION

Feel free to comment   >>

Marketing A Movie

refine your target audience

Image via Wikipedia

Filmmakers aren’t like normal business people. Marketing a movie is not considered part of the normal day-to-day process. But in other industries, marketing is just an aspect of business.

This makes a lot of sense. In the old days, your success as filmmaker depended on your ability to create an unproven product. And if your product (or in this case, your movie) did well with audiences, it was picked up, marketed and sold. These days, there are less deals. That means filmmakers must take on the responsibility of marketing a movie. And if  this is something you would rather leave to a third-party, then you’re living in the stone ages.

  1. When marketing a movie, the first thing you need to think about is your target audience. WHO cares about your movie? If you don’t have an understanding of your target audience, then nothing else matters.
  2. If you KNOW your target audience (in this case, YOUR people) then your next step in marketing a movie revolves around uncovering all the places your people shop. What magazines do they read? Where do they hang out online?
  3. Then figure out where they watch movies. Do they prefer netflix to iTunes? Or will they shop at Amazon? Obviously part of marketing a movie is getting your title into the appropriate marketplace. (Try distribber)
  4. Once your movie is in the appropriate marketplace, then circle back to step number two and target the appropriate publications, websites and forums. Not all of this will cost money. Some will.
  5. After that, figure out how to build a relationship with your audience.

If you don’t have any idea how to get started, I created an easy to follow guide on marketing a movie. In it, I talk about all this stuff in much greater detail. Click here to find out more   >>

Also, you might say: “Hey, I haven’t even made my first feature. Why should I care about marketing a movie now?” The reason you should care is because – If you don’t know who is going to buy your movie – then you won’t have any idea how much money your movie could potentially return. And if you can’t figure out a reasonably project ROI, then good luck raising money.

Just sayin’

Make Your Movie Now

Dominant learning style of target audience

Dominant learning style of target audience - Image via Wikipedia

As a filmmaker, I think the idea of producing your own work is good. I don’t really believe in asking anyone for permission to make my movies – including traditional industry executives or other producers.

I see this in Hollywood all the time. People have an idea for a movie, but instead of trying to create their own movie business, they spend days, weeks, months, and (sometimes) entire lifetimes hoping to find someone else to do the heavy lifting.

While this may seem like an easy route, it can be a very difficult path. Why? Because you are relying on other people to do the producing for you. And in my opinion that takes way too long!

Imagine you are someone who desires to open your own business. Would you do it yourself? Or would you rely on someone else to do it for you?

Example: “Hey. I got this great idea for a hardware store. If I tell you my idea and show you my business plan, will you open my hardware store for me?”

Do you understand what I mean? Trying to create a business like this would be crazy talk.

Of course if you want to open YOUR own business, YOU would open it.

So if you happen to be one of those filmmakers with tons of ideas, but no feature credits, I highly suggest you focus less on finding someone to do the heavy lifting and instead, focus on testing the market to gain a realistic approach to your projects.

To get started, ask these questions:

  1. What is my Hook?
  2. Who is my intended target audience?
  3. What is my budget?
  4. Are there enough people within my target audience to justify the budget?
  5. How do I intend to reach my target audience?
  6. How much will my sales and marketing cost?
  7. From this, what is my projected return on investment?

If you’re new to the modern moviemaking model, then you will either agree with me or you won’t. In the event you like what you’re reading, then you can become part of the modern moviemaking revolution by grabbing a copy of the official Filmmaking Stuff newsletter. To grab it, go here >>

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.