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IFH 012: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Business

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So many independent film creators just want to think of themselves as artists. That’s perfectly fine but it’s called show business for a reason. If you don’t understand the business you won’t be able to create the show. Filmmakers need to think more like a filmpreneur if you will. Put the business back into show business.

If Coca-Cola comes out with a new flavor do they do market research? Do they create a marketing plan to introduce the new product? You bet your butt they do.

Now when indie filmmakers or filmpreneurs create a new independent film or “product” most of the time they just throw there finished baby into the marketplace and hope for the best.

This is NUTZ! All that time, hard work, money, pain, blood, sweat, and tears that go into creating an independent film is for nothing. Do they just hope for the best? It’s insanity.

In this episode, I share with you what it takes to change your mindset and start thinking of your independent film not just as a precious piece of art but to also think of it as a product that needs to do well in the marketplace in order for you, as the filmmaker, to continue putting on that show!

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
So this week's I want to talk about something that's kind of been dear to my heart for a long time. It's one of the core pillars of what indie film hustle is about. indie film hustle is about giving you guys the tools to survive and thrive in the film business. One of the big misconceptions about making a movie is that it's only art. And there's a reason why it's called show business. It's it's a business to and there's a reason why there's double the letters in the word business than there is show because it's twice as important as the show. Because without the business, there is no show without the show, there is no business. But the business side of it is what allows us to continue the show to go on and continue to make more shows, and so on and so forth. So I want you guys to change your mindset a little bit and start thinking about film, and your projects as product. And that's a very, very key point to make. Because you have to think about your film as product, how you can monetize it, how you can sell it, how you can continue to make a living, doing what you love. First step is create an understand that your film is your product, when Coca Cola is going to release a new flavor, they don't just throw it out in the marketplace and wish for the best. That's what most filmmakers do, they raise the money, they put the money out of their pocket, they put it on credit cards, they have no idea where the movies gonna go, how it's going to be sold, what's going to be sold, how where if it's going to be sold overseas, if it's going to be sold online, if it's going to be sold to a distributor, if it's going to get into a film festival, if it's not, if it who's going to be I don't even know who their audience is, most of the time, they just make the movie because it's like I gotta make my movie. And that's great. And you need that energy to be able to make your movie, but you need to know how to sell that movie, you need to know how to be able to make a living doing this. So by thinking of your film as a product, like Coca Cola would do with a new product line, they do market research. So when you have an idea for a movie, or you have a script that you're thinking about making into a movie, do product research, call, talk to talk to your friends, talk to people on Facebook, on Twitter, on message boards, just go to where the topic of your movie is about and figure out if this is a movie that's going to be even sold. If people are even interested in watching this or even buying this. So you have to do some market research on your product before you release it. This is product release 101. Once you find out if the product is a viable product, then you have to go and find where your audience is. So then go and find what the audience is. So like if you're making a movie about a romantic comedy about vegan chef, and he happens to be a main character the whole thing's not about being a vegan chef, but he's the main character in it. Let's say he or she is a main character in it. And now your audience is not only for ROM coms, but if you're smart, you can go after the vegan movement, the vegetarian movement, the the organic movement, the gourmet food movement, the chef, the chef, crowd, the foodie crowd, there's so many other avenues of places and customers that you can look for for your film. Now I'm talking about this in the assumption that you're going to try to sell your own film, if you're going to try to sell to a distributor or things like that, this is also very important, but I'm coming, I'm coming at it from you. Because if you honestly if you if you're going to go sell to a distributor, and you don't know if this is going to be a viable product, more likely it's not. So I've had a lot of films that I've worked on, that never didn't have a star in it, and they just kind of put it out there. And the distributors like Well, there's this is not a viable product that can't sell it, it's not an genre, it's not this, it's not that it's a drama, with no stars in it has very few awards, it really doesn't matter even if you want Sundance, that you're not gonna be able to sell this. So I'm coming at it from a point of view of you're going to sell your own product. So you go to where the audience is, and you start marketing to the audience about what your product is. So if you're making a movie, I would get an I would start marketing the movie, in the pre production stages, start getting people excited about it, start putting out a poster, putting out obviously the website's most important part. And on the side note, guys, I'm going to, I'm going to come out with a lot more information about this, I'm kind of just going over it right now. But I'm going to be coming out with a lot more information about how to market your film, how to create a brand about your film and things like that. And I'm actually thinking about creating a course, specifically about an online course where people can, I can, you know, show people how to create a brand, how to sell it, how to product, launch your film, how to gain social, social media, following how to build that audience, how to sell to that audience, how to package your film, how to package your brand, and so on. So if you guys are interested in that, please give me a shout out, I'm going to do some market research right now I'm doing this on the fly, hit me up on my email or my Twitter or my facebook or my Instagram or wherever, and hit me back and say, Hey, I would love to, to buy that product. And I would really be interested in that product. I'm thinking about putting it together, it's something that some people talk to me about and say, you really should put something like this together, I'm still thinking about it. So because it's such a it's gonna be a tremendous amount of work, anything I do, I'm gonna do 110% video, audio worksheets, workbook ebooks, the whole ball of wax. So um, let me know if you guys are interested in that. So on this, I was just on a side note, sorry, sorry to go on a tangent there. But so create your find out what your audience is go market to that audience, then start building up hype about the production while you produce a while you're shooting it while you're in post, and then start talking about the product launch, which will be if you're self distributing it, I would stay away from doing a DVD or Blu ray alone. But if you're going to self distribute it through VHS or gumroad, or Vimeo pro or any of these places, start hyping it start hyping up the release date and all that stuff, and then start looking about how to package that movie because the movie itself, in many ways is just advertising for a larger product line. Let's all take a note from George Lucas. Star Wars made money. But where he really made money was his his other ancillary products, whether that be the lunch boxes, and so on. I'm not saying that you guys got to make lunch boxes for your independent film. But if you create enough hype around it, depending on what the kind of what kind of movie it is, what kind of genre it is, who's the stars in it, if there are any stars in it. You can create t shirts, hats, and package them all together to make your let's say a normal $10 sale turned into $100 sale because someone was really excited about who's in your movie, what your movies about. If they've been invested through this entire process. They will they will pony up 100 bucks. A lot of movies have been doing this product, this kind of marketing plan and it's worked great because instead of having 10 people buy 10 movies, you need one person to buy one package, t shirts, hats behind the scenes, how tos, soundtracks, autograph posters, all sorts of different things to give your audience what they want because they want to do they want to buy this. So that is one way of going about treating your movie like a product. I'll give you more tips coming up in further shows but I really just wanted to kind of go over and start the conversation about treating your film like a product and a lot of people don't talk about it like this. It's also an artistic You know, this is an artistic medium. But you know what the people who survive in this business and I keep saying business because it is a business. People who survive being a filmmaker in this business all understand the business side of it. Every single big movie director that you ever admired. Under stood the business even the most art house directors under stood the business Woody Allen has been making his movies for the last 30 years now 40 years, he keeps them under a certain budget, he attracts very, very amazing cast. And he does his movies the way he wants to do them. But he understands that the business is that I mean, he couldn't make a movie for $100 million, or Woody Allen movie cannot be budgeted $100 million, it'd be very difficult to make that money back. But at a $5 million movie, he could. And he did that over time. He built that up over time, he has a huge following of people who would just show up to a woody allen movie, because Woody Allen made it. And, and so a lot of other filmmakers as well, especially in the indie world, like Mark duplass, from the mumble core crew, and a lot of other filmmakers who keep their budgets low. And they just keep selling to their audience because the audience loves them. This happens, this is the same, this is the same thing that goes with indie rock bands, indie music, people that they just have a following. And that following pays them. And they love them. It's a wonderful exchange, I'll make art for you, you pay for my art, so I can continue to make art for you, and so on and so forth. This is the way it should be. So I hope this episode was helpful to you guys. I'm going to be doing more of these kind of episodes, kind of talking about certain topics that I feel passionate about, and hopefully give you guys great content by doing that. So please hit me up in the comments of the show notes. And let me know what you think. Also, let me know what you think about that idea about creating a product line based about how to market not only you film yourself as a filmmaker, maybe your company as a brand, all sorts of different avenues that I'm going to be going down in that course. But I want to see if you guys are even interested in me talking about it or doing the course so please hit me up. Thank you so much for all your support. Please don't forget to head over to the iTunes Store and give me an honest review. It really helps out the show a lot. Getting getting higher ranking and more people can actually enjoy the indie film hustle tribe, as you will so thanks again so much guys. Keep hustling. Keep making your movies. Don't forget, make your key Don't forget that your movie is your product that you need to sell to keep doing more movies. I'll see you guys next time. Thanks.

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