I want to produce a feature, but I don't know where to start!
Hey guys, Kelby here. Content creation and distribution *appears* to be a lucrative industry and in a certain sense, it absolutely is! In other cases, it could be a money pit. Some of your favorite production companies distributing and producing award nomination darlings year after year are plummeting financially! So what tips can I offer you to encourage you to create, help you figure out what to create and also how to create? Let's see.
1. Always remember that entertainment is showBUSINESS. You want to be aware of the cost of production/distribution/marketing as well as the value of your brand. As filmmakers, we normally have the idea to produce stories that we feel passionate about, but will your audience feel passionate enough to support your endeavor? Understanding your target market, the demand for your product and the cost of production will offer you more success than simply producing what your heart desires.
When comes down to it, you'll be passionate about many different stories in life and you'll want to express your emotions on screen. Remember to create for the sake of sustainability along with what your heart desires, if you want a long and storied career in one of the toughest industries.
Understanding the value of your brand is very important as well. How do you plan on selling the film? Are you attaching a b-list or c-list celebrity to your film whose name alone can generate $50,000 in revenue? Are you marketing it a creative way that will entice the public? Let's say your movie is a run of the mill indie film. You don't need a gimmick to sell it, you just need people to be aware of it. Create a marketing plan and make a budget to go along with your plan. It is important that you plan it out from pre-production so that when distribution time comes and your film has found a home on Amazon or another platform, you are aware of the numbers you need to hit in streams or purchases to make a profit. This will assist you with a clear and direct marketing plan. Be always aware of your audience, how many people you're reaching out to in order to convert interest into dollars. Being aware of your market and the demand for your film will allow you to forecast earnings for your film for it's ready to be purchased.
2. Write for what you can make. Ok, keep that $50 million dollar script for the right time and place, but if you are champing at the bit to produce, write for what you can realistically produce. Managing your budget from concept is an important skill to have that can truly turn a project from a dream to a reality. Investing in yourself along with assistance from friends or family is what you'll rely on in these early stages of your career. Unless your dad is Larry Ellison, you're probably not shooting your first feature with a $40 million budget. So be creative with your script. What do you own that you can use? Your apartment? Mom and dad's place? Your car? You probably can shoot on the sidewalk or at the park without getting in trouble. Focus on what you have and get creative to tell your story.
3. Do your research. There are genres in film that consistently generate. The good, the bad and the ugly have seen profit. So in the case of your indie feature film, check to see where your idea falls within the demand of the market. Nobody wants to spend that much time and energy creating for it to be rejected by the public. If comedies are your thing, figure out what types of comedies are generating the most returns within your realm of competition. Be clear that what you are producing has a place in the marketplace, is a story that people want to consume and are willing to spend their money to watch. If you are truly not sure about where to start, do a survey and simply ask 100 people to tell you what they want. You can feel free to be specific in your survey. For example: Would you prefer to watch a new Seth Rogan comedy or a new Kevin Hart comedy film? Be specific, compile your data and direct your attention to the audience you questioned when it's time to show the product.
In every situation, it is important to be prepared. Want a career in creating feature films? Be prepared, know your market, understand the value of your presence in the market space, write for what you can produce and do your research! Until next time.