In case you haven’t noticed, filmmaking is changing. And the future of filmmaking is now.
In years past, if you wanted to make a film, you had to raise enough money to not only cover the film and equipment, but you paid for your DP, your camera operator, someone to pull focus, someone to load the film, someone to lay dolly track and someone else to push your dolly.
If you wanted to create an awesome film on a budget, you shot Super 16mm. Once the film was in the can, you paid to get the film processed, color corrected, transferred to video, edited “off line” and later blown up to 35mm. And all these steps were considered the affordable option! After all that, you crossed your fingers, hoping to land an awesome distribution deal.
Can you imagine trying to make films like that? It’s easy to understand why most would-be filmmakers never took action.
Future Of Filmmaking: Will You Be Replaced By A Robot?
With the emergence of awesomely inexpensive production technology, making a film is getting easier. And everything has changed. It’s been over a decade since I’ve met any filmmakers seriously considering shooting their first feature on film. And why would they? These days, if you want to make a great looking movie, you grab your $2,000 DSLR camera and you start shooting.
That’s it. No film stock. No silly processing costs. And no transfers to video.
You simply take your camera out of the bag, point and shoot. Then you edit on your computer and upload to several of the video on demand stores. And you can start selling your work to the world. This is an AMAZING time to make films, right?
Or is it?
For the first time in history, filmmakers are experiencing what happens in other industries when robots (and cheap labor) start producing comparable goods for less and less money. You get an overwhelming supply of inexpensive product in the marketplace, which devalues the market as a whole.
Couple this with the demise of traditional DVD distribution, and you can understand why it’s difficult land a killer payday. Considering these unfavorable odds, why would any filmmaker risk millions on a budget when there are less opportunities to make the money back? This is our new paradox (and paradigm) as filmmakers.
Producing product is not the problem. It is easy to make a backyard indie. The real challenge is keeping budgets low enough to increase the odds of recouping, while at the same time creating films that people actually want to see.
This is the future of filmmaking. And there are no guarantees in this or any business. So in addition to making an awesome film, you’re going to hustle. Here are three things you can do to increase your odds of success:
- Know your target audience.
- Have a plan for reaching your target audience.
- Cast actors (or social media influencers) who appeal to your audience.
Having spent the majority of my career working in film distribution, I can tell you that most filmmakers completely ignore these steps. Most never take time to sketch out a marketing, sales and distribution strategy for their movies. And as a result, most movies end up dying in digital obscurity. Don’t do that.