If you’re into indie filmmaking, do not wait for Hollywood to give you permission to make films. But rather, pick up a camera and make your movie now!
For some, becoming an indie filmmaker is easier said than done. Part of why this whole filmmaking thing seems challenging (and impossible at times) is because most of us start our career with the belief that filmmakers need a gazillion dollars, tons of experience and an address in Hollywood to make a living as a “real” filmmaker. Thankfully, that was then.
The new era of filmmaking allows you to make and sell films from anywhere in the world. While this offers exciting opportunities, you still need a great story, passion and persistence to bring your film to life. And you need guts to share your work with the world.
Five Tips For Making Indie Filmmaking YOUR Business
To give you a rough plan of how to get your indie filmmaking studio up and running, I have provided a few steps. (Where I thought it would help, I also included sponsored links to filmmaking tools and services.) With that said, are you ready?
1. Build A Team: Create relationships with at least 5-10 collaborators who complement your skill set. At the very least, you will want to find a writer who understands budgets, a physical producer experienced in low budget filmmaking, a tech guru who understands modern production gear, an editor with software and an internet marketing guru who can help promote your films online.
You get bonus points if you add a lawyer who can provide you with the necessary legal advice, contracts and advice on setting up a business.
2. Create a Manageable Movie Concept: Come together as a team and design a movie that can be explained in one high-concept log-line. It has been my experience that original, genre specific movies with a bit of controversy, geared towards a clearly defined target audience will later help you when it comes time to market and sell your movie.
Above all, your movie idea should be totally fun and captivating. (Otherwise, why make the movie?)
3. Break Down Your Screenplay: Out of this, complete your schedule and your budget. Then analyze your budget. Ask yourself: How many $9.99 VOD downloads will we need to get a return? At this point you can decide to decrease your budget, or not. But once you decide on your budget and the amount of sales you’ll need to get a return, you can then begin planning your marketing strategy.
4. Go Get The Money: Once you have a concrete filmmaking strategy, go after the money. Prospective film investors like to see three things in your business plan: Who is running the company? How will you spend the money? And how will you make a profit?
Unlike years past, iTunes, Amazon and Amazon Prime provides you with an accessible distribution pipeline. This will assist you in getting the necessary movie money. If you don’t know how to find prospective investors, see: Find Film Investors.
After you lock down your money, you can go into pre-production full force. Hire a great 1st AD.
5. Sell Your Movie: Once you get the money, make your movie. After that, two things have to happen. You have to spread the word about your film. And you have to figure out how you are going to sell your movie. Once you get your movie out there and selling, focus on fueling your marketing with ads, PR and partnerships with other filmmakers.
After you do this once, the way to become successful is to create more and more movies. Remember, your goal is to create at least 20 movies in your lifetime, so that you can get at least 20 checks in the mail each month!