Get the Free e-book The Business of Show Business
Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage.” I have found the vast majority of filmmakers are passionate to tell their story – this is primal. And now more than ever, that stage on which to tell your story/show your film has never been more crowded. On average there are:
- 500,000 filmmakers worldwide
- 10,000 films made per year
- 700+ Films MPAA rated & with some form of release
- 200 or so obtain a decent release permitting any return at all, much less a profit
Most filmmakers have a vision and passion to make their film, and many have been highly trained in great film schools to make that film, but what most aren’t trained for is the business of filmmaking. The shortest window of a film’s life cycle is typically the actual making of the film (pre-production, principal photography, post production). It can take years to fully develop the property, raise the financing to fund the production, and market and distribute the final product. A filmmaker in the 21st Century must fuse business and creative to successfully launch and maintain a career. I am often asked, “What exactly does a film producer do?” I can answer that in one word or a whole book. That one word is: everything. Did you ever wonder why it’s only the producers who accept the Best Picture Oscar? It’s because they did everything necessary to get the film onto the world stage. From concept to development, to financing, to production, to delivery, to marketing and distribution – they have their hand in each and every phase of it.
A filmmaker today must have the skills and knowledge of creative, legal, financing, production, marketing and distribution, and be able to put that knowledge to use. A filmmaker must be able to multi-task, handle all types of personalities, pitch, coach, stand their ground, corral, cajole, and yes, sometimes scream and demand to get ‘er done!
To be able to accomplish all these tasks successfully, a filmmaker must be what I have coined a “Balanced Producer.” A Balanced Producer gives equal weight to being a Fiduciary, Marketer and Visionary.
- A FIDUCIARY strives to return a profit to their Investor(s) and their company.
- A MARKETER creates projects with commercial appeal to a known target audience, and secures
- domestic and/or foreign distribution commitments in advance of principal photography.
- A VISIONARY has and lives a clear vision for each project and an entire career.
This book is an attempt to give the independent filmmaker an overview of all the areas a filmmaker must take accountability and responsibility for in order to lead their team through the 6 cycles of a film’s life:
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