IFH 022: Does Your Indie Film Have an Audience?

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I’m never surprised anymore when I speak to filmmakers or Filmtrepreneurs and ask them one simple but powerful question,

Does your film have an audience?

I usually just get a blank stare. This is probably the most important question you can ask yourself as an indie filmmaker. Now if you are making film as art and have no intention or care at all about making money with your film then you should stop reading this email.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that but that is not what I’m discussing here today. For the rest of us that want and need to make money with our films, these few little words should be your mantra in the development process.

Most filmmakers get so excited by the concept of a story, the emotion or just with the idea of making a feature film that they never ask the question. They are scared to because it might stop the fun they are having. Trust me I know the feeling.

Before you waste all that energy on writing a script, getting talent, crew, and money you better know if you’ll be able to sell this puppy when it’s done.

Ask who is going to watch this, then find out where your audience is hangout online. Join a Facebook group, forum, etc. Ask the community if they would be interested in watching a film like yours. Ask what they would like to see in it and which actors get the group excited.

I know this takes out the art and excitement of filmmaking a bit. Well, when you are starting out you need to take advantage of every opportunity you got.

You’re not David Fincher…yet

You’re not Quentin Tarantino with millions of fans who will just go out to watch anything he does. You have to approach your first film as a business, with a bit of art dashed on top.  It’s called show business for a reason.

This is one of many ways to approach making your first film. If your making your film for $2000 then make whatever you want. It a gamble but a small one. I’m talking about filmmakers with $50,000 to $1,000,000 budgets. With that kind of money on the line, you better know who is going to watch and pay for your film.

So before you go off half-cocked to make your first feature ask the question, you’ll thank me later. Listen to this episode and find out some tips and tricks to see if your film has an audience.

Alex Ferrari 0:00
So this week's episode guys is does your indie film Have an audience. And that is a question that every filmmaker should be asking themselves as they go forward in their filmmaking journey. I know so and I mean, I've seen so many people walk into my office, into my, into my post suite with films that are so passionate and so wonderful, and they love what they did, and they just want to get it going. But they have no idea not only where they're going to sell it, how they're going to sell it. But if there's even an audience for it, and that was one of my mistakes, when I made I produced a film called behind forgotten highs was a documentary that I produced gargling almost 10 years ago, what a lot of awards at festivals, and so on, but I didn't know where I was going to sell it, you know, and I just come off, you know, kind of the success I was having the, the minimal successor, I was having unbroken. And I said, Hey, I can market anything, I could just push this out. And that movie was about, it's a very, very rough subject, let's just put it that way, World War two kind of subject matter with between Korea and Japan. And it was a wonderful film very, very proud of that film. But the problem was, I didn't know where to sell it, how to sell it, it was extremely difficult to sell it because of the subject matter. So my, the director and myself, really had no idea where to sell it, you know, and had no idea where to go forward with it, at the end of the day, kind of just sat there. No one ever really did anything with it. I mean, he sold it a little bit here and there. The director did. And we got a couple, some distribution. We sold the to a couple countries for distribution, but nothing major. Not enough to get our money back. that's for damn sure. But it was a simple question that could have been asked prior to making it now, with that kind of film, specifically in that documentary, it was a passion project. It was something that he felt very strongly about. And he wanted to tell the story, and try to help. And that's one aspect. And that's one angle of going through filmmaking, especially with documentaries, a lot of documentaries are just about trying to get the word out about a specific cause, or a story that's not getting enough attention, regardless if it can sell or not for narrative films, and also for documentaries. But it just depends on what what your what you want out of your documentary, or what you want out of your film. If your point is just to get this movie made, and tell the story, great. If your if your point is about trying to make money and sustain a career doing this, then this is a question that you need to ask yourself, every time you start writing a script for a feature film, or for a short film, but more specifically for feature films, short films, you could be much more experimental with. But with a feature film, you have to ask, do I have an audience? And I've had so many filmmakers I've talked to that have a blank stare? I'm like, Who's your audience with this film? Oh, well, you know, as a demographic between 18? And I'm like, No, you do that's not that's not your audience. You can't afford to market to 18 to 35 year old males, you just can't, you can't afford to do that. The Studio's can afford to do that. Because they could just throw millions and millions of dollars at that demographic, and they'll get some awareness for their films. But you won't, you can't do that. You have to be very, very specific about who your audience is. And, and before you go down this long journey of making a movie, dammit, man, you better know that answer. Because if you don't know that answer, you can you can work a year or two on a movie sometimes. And at the end of it all you go some festivals, you get some plays, you might win a few awards, and then what you're stuck with holding the hand, you're stuck holding this film that you can sell. Nobody wants to see it because there's no real audience for it. So you have to kind of ask yourself, what, who wants to watch this? Now again, if this is just art, and you're just making art for art's sake, then my god do it, that's fine. But for the rest of us who want the not only want money to make money, you have to ask this question and answer it very, very clearly. So once you've identified your audience, go find out where they are, and then start marketing to them. It's called crowdsourcing, you should start crowdsourcing your movie. Prior to it even being written in some ways. If you feel really strongly about, you're going to make this movie, start figuring out where your audience is hanging out, and go hang out in the same places where your audience hangs out. Start talking to them start engaging them and you start crowdsourcing these people ask them questions, ask them hey, why would anybody here want to see this kind of movie? This is the kind of movie I want to make. Who's the stars? You want to make it put those in these movies? Do you need stars in this movie? Do you need this kind of topic what that is is a cool topic. And so on man, man. I'm telling you if you understand who your audience is, you're so far ahead of the game. It's not even funny. This is what I did with broken I actually identified who am I to carve my target audience was going to be which I knew was going to be independent filmmakers. Now I didn't know this when I was making the movie. I wasn't that far ahead at all. have time yet. But after the movie was done, I was like, Well, wait a minute, I think I can sell the short film. And I don't think anyone's gonna buy it in the real world. But they will buy it. I think independent independent filmmakers will buy it because they're going to want to know how I was able to do this and just share this information. Because there was a, there wasn't there wasn't anything like this in the marketplace at the time. So I went to the forums, to there was no Facebook at the time, there was my space was crazy. But I went to these places where all these independent filmmakers hung out. And I started talking to them, I started engaging them, I started showing them trailer showing them behind the scenes and people got so excited. But why the time that I launched the DVD for sale, we made almost five grand in the first day. You know, that's that's huge for us, you know, for a little short film that was made for eight grand, that's insane. So ask that question, guys. Who is your audience? A does my does my film, have an audience? answer that question. Go find that audience and start marketing to those, that audience and I've talked before in other episodes, like how to make your indie film into a money market made into a money making machine on how to treat your film, like a business. And how to, to think about it as a business because it's show business. And the business is double the letters of the word show for a specific reason. So I already covered that in other episodes, but in this episode, ask that question and answer it. And trust me, you will thank me for it. And you're not quitting Tarantino or Woody Allen or Martin Scorsese just yet, for people who will just show up to your movie, because you made it that will come. But you first have to figure out who your audience is. So as promised guys, I'm going to give you a coupon code for lipstick and bullets, the gorilla film school edition, it is going to be i f h tribe, that's i f h tribe. And that gives you 20% off the purchase price, not the rental price, but the purchase price. So that once again, that coupon is AI, f h tribe just go in there when you're when you're signing out, or when you're putting in your information, just say get coupon or, and just type in the coupon code. And you'll get your 20% off, man. So thank you guys for your support. I really appreciate it. Let me know what you think of. Please, please let me know what you think of lipstick and bullets. If there's anything I can add to it. If there's anything that's missing what you think about it, what if you like it, what you don't like, I'm here I'm open I want to I want to learn from you guys because I want to serve you guys as best I can and give you great content and great information so you can go off and make your movie so thank you again, guys, for all the support. Thank you for making this podcast. Like blow up. People are going crazy for this podcast, and I'm getting crazy amounts of downloads and crazy amount of subscriptions for this podcast, so thank you so so much. Please don't forget to head over to iTunes and leave me a honest review of the show. And it would really it really helps me out a lot. It helps the show out a lot to get seen by more people who want and need to hear the show. So thanks again guys. Keep that dream alive. Keep that hustle going. Talk to you soon, man.

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