What If You Choose Filmmaking As Your Next Small Business?

It’s rare to think of filmmaking as a small business. As independent filmmakers, most of us create art first and hope the money will follow. What if you chose filmmaking as your small business? I mean, some people are driven to open a deli, or a print shop, or a dry cleaner. In your case, you want to make a movie.

filmmaking as your small business

Filmmaking As Your Small Business

Let’s first talk about the old “studio system” way of doing things. In the studio system, the business revolves around asking a lot of folks for permission.

  1. “I finished this great screenplay. It’s high concept and awesome!”
  2. “Would you please read my screenplay?”
  3. “Can we have a meeting?”
  4. “Did you read my screenplay?”
  5. “Why isn’t the producer returning my calls?”

As a result, this approach results in a lot of rejection: “We have decided to pass at this time.” But here is the thing. You don’t need permission to be successful. But you do need to think long term, with a never-ending focus on how to “level up” your filmmaking:

Don’t Ask For Permission

As independent filmmakers, many of us suffer from a need for validation. We think reaching out to prospective investors with a business idea is the same as bugging them. As a result, we become passive in our approach. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  1. “Mr. Investor, if we are lucky this movie will get into Sundance.”
  2. “If we are really lucky, we will get a great a sales agent offer.”
  3. “And if we are really lucky, we might get a distribution deal.”
  4. “But if we are really, really lucky we will get a 3 picture studio deal, and we will live happily ever after.”

What if you think of producing a film as your next small business? If you think about it, all you need to start a small business is an idea, some start-up cash, raw material, production, and a customer base – and a way to sell whatever it is you’re selling. Oh… And it would be best if you had a plan for achieving your filmmaking goals.

Filmmaking Business Goals

It’s one thing to make a film. And it is another thing to create a filmmaking business that makes money. You need to know about sales, distribution, the marketplace, and how to get your film out there. Just like any other business, you need to plan out all these steps to be successful:

  1. Screenplay with a strong concept
  2. Defined target audience and how to reach them
  3. Cast and crew that can deliver a great film
  4. Partnerships with sales agents and distributors
  5. Producing a specific types of films over and over

Why should we over-complicate our filmmaking? Can Modern Moviemaking be your next small business? If you’d like to stop asking permission to be successful, you may as well download the quick guide to film funding.

Photo of author


Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.