In business they have this thing called USP. A USP is your “unique selling proposition.” It is the one distinction that makes people buy one product over the next. In Hollywood we call this your movie hook. And without a strong movie hook, most filmmakers find themselves lost in a sea of other filmmakers clamoring to rise above the noise of mediocre movie making.
What Is Your Movie Hook?
When defining your movie hook, one of the first questions people ask is, what is your movie about? While this seems like a pretty easy question, if you find yourself rambling on about a complicated, character driven story, full of people reflecting on love and loss.
Don’t do this. A long description is confusing.
A confused mind doesn’t buy (or invest) in your movie.
To sell your title, your movie must be distinct and memorable. You need to make your movie REMARKABLE.
What do I mean by remarkable?
Here’s a brief story to explain how your movie hook influences word of mouth.
Let’s say you’re at a party. You chat with someone and they ask you about your movie.
Your Response: It’s about this guy who falls in love with a woman. Then they have issues. They break up. Then they get back together. It’s really a romantic comedy marketed to every man, woman and child in the world.
Do you see the flaw here? There is no real movie hook.
Do you understand how there is absolutely nothing in this description that makes me want to share your movie idea with other people?
And let’s use another example. Let’s say we start talking and you find out I love martial arts and that I’m really into Bruce Lee. In response, you tell me about the original Ip Man movie. (Ip Man was Bruce Lee’s mentor.)
Then you pull out your phone and share the following fight scene with me:
You can bet I’m going to remark about this. (I might even figure out a way to add it to a Filmmaking Stuff article about finding a movie hook so thousands of people can see my remarks.)
The point here is this. You can have the best movie in the world, but nobody will care about your movie until they care about your movie.
And you have to make them care.
The only way to make people care is to show them something remarkable. And the only way to do that is to make sure there is market for your movie and that you have a sharp movie hook.
In the Ip Man example above, the market is: Martial Arts Movie Enthusiasts.
The movie hook is: The story of Bruce Lee’s Mentor
How To Find Your Movie Hook
Finding your movie hook revolves around taking your broad movie concept and distilling it down to the bare, yet memorable essentials.
For example, let’s say your movie hook is described as “A boxer fights for the title.”
Obviously this is a succinct log-line, but it lacks memorable detail.
So your next job is to incorporate some flavorful elements into your movie hook.
Here is the same example with added detail: “An impoverished boxer is given a once in a lifetime chance to fight for the world heavyweight title.”
Can you guess what movie I’m describing?
With this movie hook example, you can see how the extra detail adds sizzle to the description.
Taking time to sharpen your movie hook will help you in two arenas.
Firstly, with this description, your prospective audience will immediately understand how your movie differs from all the other boxer movies. And from a marketing perspective, the words “boxer,” “fights,” and “heavyweight title” will help you to target your core audience and later, these keywords will help you jump-start your internet search engine optimization campaign.
Finding your movie hook is the start of your movie marketing. Once you have a movie hook, you can then answer the next, very important marketing questions. Take a moment to answer:
- Who Is Your Target Audience?
- How Large Is Your Target Audience?
- How Will You Reach Your Audience?
- What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
- How Many VOD Sales To Break Even?
For many filmmakers, the benefit of creating a movie hook, as well as marketing, sales and distribution plan saves TONS of headaches when you actually take your movie to market. And putting together a distribution plan is a lot easier than you think. For more information on how to market and sell your movie, check out my newly updated film distribution training.