If I could share a filmmaking success tip with my younger self, what would I say? In one word, relationships. More importantly, cold calling. Think about it. Your filmmaking success is not created in a vacuum. It is created with the help and support of other people, including mentors, associates and your eventual audience.
While it is true that some people stumble upon contacts and get lucky, I would venture to say most successful people got what they wanted in life by using some variation of the following three success tips:
First: Successful people know what they want.
Second: Successful people make a plan to get what they want.
Third: Successful people pick up the phone and cold call people who could help make their plan a reality.
Networking For Filmmaking Success
Unless you ASK for what you want, nobody will know how to help you. In other words, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. But let’s make one thing clear. You are not entitled to filmmaking success. You’ll have to do the work. This means you’ll need write or option and then refine a script. You will have to find actors and collaborators, and the money to pay these people. And you will have to go the distance to get your movie made, seen and sold.
If you are lucky, you might even get to make a living with your work. It won’t be easy. Months and years will pass. Your friends will get married and have babies. Their kids will grow up. And you may find yourself living alone in your mid-life wondering if trying to achieve filmmaking success is worth it. This will test your resolve.
While the vast majority of first time feature filmmmakers dream of fame and fortune, your perspective may be a bit more pragmatic. While affordable production technology has made filmmaking accessible, you aren’t the only filmmaker who knows this. Many people are making backyard indies.
As a result, the supply of cheaply produced movies has surpassed demand. The days of HUGE minimum guarantees are over. So if you’re going to become a filmmaking success, you need to do more than make movies. You will have to view yourself as an entrepreneur and you will have to view filmmaking as your business.
Three Simple Steps To Achieve Filmmaking Success
To garner success, YOU are now responsible for sourcing an audience and building a platform for YOUR projects. And this reveals the next major challenge. How does a filmmaker succeed in this changing business?
1. Become an Internet marketer: Or team up with someone who is. Movies are now accessible everywhere, including computer monitors and mobile devices. As a result, you will need to drive targeted Internet traffic to many different points of sale and convert these visitors into a paying audience.
2. Crowdfunding Is Essential: Running a successful crowdfunding campaign requires social networking, real-world networking and Internet marketing. Aside from raising money, crowdfunding allows you test your movie concept before you invest time and money into making your movie. When successful, you can add your supporters to your ever growing mailing list. Which brings me to my next filmmaking success tactic…
3. Your Audience Is Your Business: Marketing nerds have a saying, “The money is in your list.” And the same statement applies to you. Your ongoing goal is to create work that encourages people to sign up for your mailing list and become a fan of you and your movies, for life. With each project, your ongoing goal is to continually grow your list.
Filmmaking Success in 30 Minutes a Day
As you can imagine, becoming successful in any field is challenging. And if you’re busy working a day job, finding time for your film project may seem impossible. Here is a filmmaking success challenge you can employ… It’s a strategy I use myself:
- Make a list of all things filmmaking that you need to accomplish.
- Break the list into micro-steps. For example if the task is to finish your screenplay, break it into “write one page per day.”
- Carve out at least one half-hour per day to get closer to your goals.
If you follow this formula, you can become a filmmaking success in 30 minutes or less, per day. Think about it. One half-hour per day equates to 3.5 hours per week – or 182 hours a year, which is roughly 4 working weeks. What can you do with 4 weeks of solid work? Probably a lot.
The best time to accomplish your filmmaking goals is early in the morning. Each night before bed, prep your work area and plan what you hope to accomplish. Then get up an hour early and get to work. The secret to filmmaking success is to continually break your filmmaking in manageable chunks. If you consistently check things off the list, you will achieve filmmaking success faster than you imagined. And if you loved this tip, grab a copy of my filmmaker action pack.