Before making MAIL ORDER MONSTER , I studied day and night on the ins and outs of film marketing and distribution. I went to seminars, I paid for webinars, I have pages and pages and pages of notes. Then I executed my plan. Most of it went according to plan, and most of what went according to plan had lack luster results.
This wasn’t because we made a bad film. We made a good film. People love it. The target audience really enjoys it. It wasn’t a SUNDANCE hit, but it never was meant to be. It’s a fun, family movie. Then I spoke to more indie producers who felt similarly to me and had the same results, if not worse. Then I saw indie producers who self-distributed and felt fantastic about their results.
Hang on. I was told self-distribution was a last resort / you’ve “failed” strategy because no one wants your film. This is what I was told. This is what distributors told me. So…I went down a rabbit hole and discovered what indie film sales / marketing is MISSING that’s causing lack luster results. I found so many areas where indie filmmakers were relinquishing their own power and knowledge to those that were delivering disappointing results.
THIS IS WHY I CREATED THE PRODUCER BOOTCAMP. This is an industry with a lot of money and a lot of demand. It’s time to take our power back and start learning how to be proper business and sales people instead of accepting the idea that other people are meant to do that for us. Take control of your film and your life.
Below are the 3 missing links to indie film sales and marketing.
- A TARGETED SALES STRATEGY
But, Paulina, how can you say that? Of course we have a sales strategy! We go to the film markets, find a sales agent / distributor with a deal that looks good and we leave the rest up to them. Exactly. Have you ever asked your sales agent / distributor what their sales strategy for your film is? 99% of the time it’s this, we send out a link to our contacts that we always sell movies to, we see if they like it, if they don’t we put it on the platforms through a 3rd party aggregator, take a commission and marketing expenses off the top and throw you the rest.
That doesn’t sound very targeted to my film’s demographic. That also doesn’t sound very strategic. It just sounds like cut and paste. There’s no creativity, there’s no passion! This is why self-distribution is THRIVING today more than ever before. The indie filmmakers who truly understand sales and marketing are able to do more for their film than ANY distributor can.
- A SOLUTION TO YOUR AUDIENCE’S PROBLEMS
Most sales people, including your distributor/sales agent, has a really hard time selling because they’re focusing on trying to get people to buy what they’re selling. No one wants to spend money. What they want is for you to provide a solution to their problems, and THAT they will pay for.
Movies and entertainment provide so much emotional and mental satisfaction for people that they’re willing to procrastinate their entire day’s worth of duties to just sit on the couch and watch something. How many times have you been inspired by a movie to change something in your life? This is why MARVEL does so well. People turn to stories and entertainment that speaks to their emotional NEEDS. Focus on doing that for your audience and people will buy what you’re selling.
- BUSINESS GOALS
I’m not talking about the vague goals of “making your money back” or “playing in theaters” or “premiering at Sundance”. No. I’m talking about strategic business goals that you can accomplish EVERY DAY that lead you to your long term financial goals with your film. For some reason in the film industry we have this narrative that making your money back on a film investment is a rare occasion only granted to those that are able to knock it out of the park with a healthy dose of luck. That’s just not true.
First of all, not everything that looks all fine and dandy from the outside is good on paper. There are a lot of big worldwide theatrical releases of indies that made zero money because of the nature of the deal. Second of all, this just isn’t true. I don’t know of another business where the expectation is that if you aren’t paid back on your investment in a year or less then the business is shutting down and you will just have to lick your wounds. NO!!
A lot of businesses take YEARS to become profitable, but it’s ok because they’re in it for the long haul. It’s a business. Movies are a business. Every single film you make is an asset that can appreciate over time if you give it some good ol’ TLC with the use of immediate, intermediate-range, and long-range goal achievements (as Nido Quebain would say).
Set long term goals for your film. I’m talking 5 or even 10 years from now. Then set intermediate-range goals. That’s about 2-4 years. Then set immediate goals that you can accomplish every day for your film. Now create a strategy for this timeline. Have the discipline to execute your small daily goals that will lead to your future goals with your film. There’s no reason your investors can’t be paid back with an ROI for eternity. It just takes goals, a strategy, and time.
The above content is a snippet of what is and will be available in THE PRODUCER BOOTCAMP. The first 3 modules (SCRIPT, DEVELOPMENT, and FINANCE) are available for purchase NOW. If you purchase all 3 (the total is less than $50 so it’s a freaking steal), I’m sending a free Mail Order Monster DVD to the first 20 people. Mail Order Monster was and is the case study for all of this, so it’s good to watch since I reference it often in the bootcamp.
Keep hustling you guys.