What is your movie about? And who’s in it?

Freytag's pyramid
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Over the past decade everything in the world of filmmaking has changed – for the better. If you’re an avid reader of Filmmaking Stuff, you know that I’m really excited about all the movie making opportunities that are now possible.

Thanks to advances in both production and distribution, the simple use of an HD camera, a good story and a few clicks of a mouse allows many would-be filmmakers to realize their vision.

And regardless of whether or not you’re making your first feature or your fifth, if you want to make movies professionally, the evident challenge will be measured by your ability to find your audience, build a following and get those folks to exchange cash for the privilege of seeing your work. For many filmmakers, this is easier said than done.

I’ve made this mistake too…

To most filmmakers, prepping a project revolves around actually getting the movie made. And rightfully so. But as a consequence of this focus, marketing a movie and building buzz is usually put on the back burner until post production. And while I’ve been that guy – I’ve also learned that waiting until post production to hit the market is not a good strategy.

To increase your odds of buzz building and subsequent sales success, before you pour your heart and soul into your passion project, I ask that you step back and at least accomplish one easy movie marketing exercise. What is the one thing you can do right from the get-go?

Craft a quick and concise answer to these two classically important questions:

  1. What is your movie about?
  2. Who is in your movie?

These questions always come up. And based on my experience, a name actor or a strong story hook that immediately paints a picture and provokes a positive or shocked response is good to have.

But if you’re one of the many filmmakers attempting to build buzz around your complicated character driven story, without name actors – I don’t have to tell you it’s tough. Add a convoluted response to these questions and although not impossible, your odds of building buzz in the marketplace will be diminished.

Conversely, having well rehearsed answers to these questions (that you can deliver with enthusiasm) will increase the odds that an emerging fan could potentially (easily) explain your movie to other people – with or without the quintessential indie queen  Zooey Deschanel attached.

And that’s what word-of-mouth is all about.

Then once your story platform is established, all your movie marketing tasks such as, branding, and creating consistent colors, logo, font, DVD cover, poster, website and putting a focus on your target audience will be much easier to define and faster to implement.

So I’ll end today’s thought with two questions: What is your movie about? And who’s in it?