The production value of your film can influence profits. And the thing is, nobody can tell what films will be successful with 100% accuracy. Even major movie studios release big-budget movies that fail miserably. And these movies are created by experienced motion picture executives, complete with a staff that does tons of audience research…
William Goldman said It best with his quote, “nobody knows anything.” And if anyone tells you they can assure you the film will make a profit, they are wrong. So when making a film, it’s essential to mitigate the risks as much as possible.
One way to do this is to ensure your production value is way higher than the budget.
CAST Name Talent
When considering ways to increase the production value of your film, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Don’t forget that the story should be your film’s primary focus. Every method you use, including fancy camera moves, the colors you choose, the format, locations, and your choice of actors… These should all be motivated by the story.
Assuming your screenplay is fantastic, the first thing you should focus on is the cast. Out of everything you can do to increase production value, having a name cast or a semi-name cast can make your film much more sellable. In the foreign sales world, the first question motion picture buyers ask is, “who’s in your film?”
Imagine if you can deliver an A-list name for your film. If you could attract a name cast for a low price (while it’s always a risk), you’re on a much better path to profit from films. It’s like you’re stacking the deck in your favor before the movie even starts.
Leverage Production Elements
If you can put “name actor” in your movie, the next step is getting creative about where you produce your film. When it comes to modern production technology, there is a lot you can do for a lot less. And if you do things right, you could have a movie that looks like your budget was $10 million.
Here are five additional steps you can take to increase the production value of your movie.
1. Shoot in the best format you can afford. Because technological advances continually raise the bar, yesterday’s HD is today’s SD. This means you will want to shoot in the best format for your budget.
2. Shoot in a city, if appropriate. Establishing shots of a city or having skyscrapers in the background can increase the production value of your film.
3. Get some movement in your shots. Move the camera using a dolly or a steady cam. And add some drone footage… Speaking of drones…
4. Incorporate overhead shots when possible. This gives the appearance that you are using a crane and will provide unique angles for the audience.
5. Find creative production elements. If you know people willing to lend you use of their exciting cars, houses, and locations, find ways to add them to your story.
These small elements are the key to making your $100,000 budget look like a $750,000 budget or at least close. And while this is easier said than done, a little creativity can go a long way toward making a profit from films. If you’d like more info on this, download the filmmaker checklist.