You made the greatest fricking Indie film of all time…SO now what?

So, you made your movie and you’re all over Facebook and Twitter patting yourself on the back.

What’s next? Festivals? YouTube? Fancy world premieres? Free DVD’s to hand out to family members?

Using the finished DVD of your film as coasters for party drinks?

Now let me get this straight, you spent all this money and time, and you have no plan for the distribution of your work to make MONEY?

Great Job, amateur!! Keep making movies and having fun with your friends, and wasting time!

Come on now. You should never shoot anything without a goal in mind, ever.

Here’s some free advice: if you cannot summarize your movie in less than 80 words, and you cannot describe the demographic target for your film, cease production of your film at once! It’s like going to a  grocery store, buying a cartload of food, and then realizing you didn’t need any of it. Time wasted. Money wasted.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

Furthermore, will your audience give you enough FINANCIAL  return to make your work pay off?  If I have to say it again, (And judging from the glut of “great new” projects I am seeing on social networks, I DO!) this is a BUSINESS. You do not do business without a financial plan. Just because you have the greatest idea for an Avenger’s “Fan film”, (And please, I hope to God you DON’T.) doesn’t make it a commercially viable film project.

Nothing, in fact, is guaranteed. However, you improve your chances greatly by making a film that has hooks that will get people to buy your product, and recommend it to others. Just BECAUSE you think something is “cool” or “original”, doesn’t mean a distributor or an  audience does!

I have seen far too many film projects with “cool posters” and people on social pages talking about their “Great crew” and “Great film”. Yet the teasers and trailers have bad sound, bad stories, bad visuals, bad acting, and bad music. Eventually the film either never gets edited or released, or it does get out there and it’s garbage.  The “Great Film” isn’t so great, because everyone was having such a  “Great time”, they forgot it’s all about the BUSINESS of selling, not having a freaking “Great time”. Yipee!!!!

I have always  believed a great film is born of pain, struggle, conflict and improvisation. Eric Von Stroheim could shoot all of his films “exactly as written”, but if you’re doing that, I’d say your film needs more problems to make it something more than a paint by numbers set on film. Nothing goes right all of the time on any movie set, and it shouldn’t. Otherwise you’ll never grow or learn a damn thing. Having the final goal in mind, like worldwide distribution and income, will push you onward when undependable actors and crew want to go bowling instead of getting the damn movie done.

So, let me say it again: Good intentions don’t mean shit. Your film can be the “good intention” king of B films, but it will still die on the vine if you don’t have an end game, vision, and plan.

And that doesn’t even get into filmmakers who spend all of their money on production, and then get hit with the dreaded D word: Deliverables!

if you don’t know what deliverables are, again, don’t waste your time making a movie. Deliverables can end your filmmaking dream right now! You have great B name stars! Great sets! A great band! Great photography!

Now, one month before your “worldwide release”  the film sales guy says “We need the deliverables in one week, or the film deal is off”.

D-E-L-I-V-E-R-A-B-L-E-S! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Deliverables will keep you awake at nights, ruin your social life and destroy your soul!

Unless you HAVE A PLAN!!!!

Deliverables cost money, time, and require you to understand BUSINESS language and legal terminology. Need a lawyer? Maybe! Any reputable film broker, sales guy or distributor will be looking for hold harmless clauses, errors and omissions insurance, release masters, trailers for each market, a dialog list for foreign release, talent and crew releases, an official copyright document from the Library of Congress, a Credit block, and–whoa, hold on.

You thought this was just about getting your buds in a room with a camera and becoming famous!? Ooops. Sorry. WRONG! The selling of your film should be number one, two and three in your list of three most important things you do,and to sell it, you have to master the deliverables of your project.

Hey! Some advice: Better plan the end of your film before you even start the beginning.

Find out where the film is going, what it’s going to take to get there- AND HOW YOU PLAN TO GET IT GET FINISHED– including deliverables and marketing, and most importantly–who in the world the film is intended for! No audience, no film! get it straight! Do this before you spend one dime, cast one part, or write one line of dialog!….

Unless you enjoy watching your masterpiece in a small room with your “great friends” who had such fun watching you spend money on a  film that went nowhere. That would be a bad thing.

IT’S NOT EASY, IT’S NOT FUN, IT IS business.

Is this the business you really want to be in?

Get to the end before you start the beginning…just sayin’…  

#OUT

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3 thoughts on “You made the greatest fricking Indie film of all time…SO now what?

    1. Yes, there are many alternatives to doing films for commercial purposes. MY commentary was directed at filmmakers who want to call themselves “producers” but never produce anything of substance.

      Like

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