Many independent filmmakers consider indie film to be sacred and avoid working with studios. Other filmmakers think studio movies are the ONLY movies that count. And they discount indies as a calling card to simply get noticed by the studios. And yet other filmmakers just want to get their film made!
Long before I moved to LA, I spent a summer writing a silly bowling comedy with my buddy Jared. When we finished the script, I sent it to my actor friend in Los Angeles. He read the script, loved it and invited Jared and me out to LA for a reading.
How To Become A Modern Independent Filmmaker
The next thing you know I was flying across the country and I was super excited. On the day of the reading, Jared and I walked into a room full of “known” actors we had only formerly seen on TV. To say it was surreal is an understatement.
As these actors read the script and acted out the characters who had (up until this point) only existed in my and Jared’s imaginations – During that time I was transported to a world full of possibilities. A world where my work meant something and had merit with people I respected. I imagined myself flying all around the world to watch screenings of our film.
Hearing the script come to life was (still) one of the best experiences of my life. Having “known” Hollywood players appreciate your work is a drug. And when this happens, you get intense idealized imaginings of success. And I was hooked on getting my movie made. So what happened to the project?
Experience Builds Confidence
The truth is, I didn’t have enough experience (or confidence) to go the extra mile. Sure, there was a business plan and a private placement memorandum. And I had an initial breakdown and a budget. I was even good enough to cold call high net-worth individuals and get meetings.
I was trying to raise a mere 250K. And my prospective investors kept asking how I planned the recoup the money. And I didn’t have an answer. Back then, the only distribution strategy I could offer was something like this:
“My friends are actors on well known TV shows. If we get into festivals and create buzz and get noticed by a distributor, we might have a chance at recouping the investment.” Suffice it to say, no distribution meant no deal.
Fortunately a lot has changed since then. One big change is Amazon. Unlike other major outlets, Amazon allows you to directly distribute your film into their marketplace. This means you can now incorporate both a marketing and distribution plan into your overall film business plan, without asking permission. And this is encouraging.