Your film can set Hollywood on fire, if you know what you’ve got


We’re in the midst of a revolution in the way films are marketed and distributed.  There’s significant opportunity for filmmakers who navigate successfully through this rapidly changing environment.

At the same time, savvy investors want a clear understanding of how they can profit from their investment. Therefore, it’s crucial that the business plan for my documentary, The Shamans of Rock & Roll, include a marketing and distribution section that provides the background on how to achieve that goal.

In speaking with potential investors I often refer to the great insights provided by Kevin Goetz of Screen Engine at the ITVA’s 15th Annual Production Conference. Kevin’s company specializes in market research and he believes that “every movie can make money as long as you know what you have.”

In today’s marketplace, the Big Idea is the single most important indicator of a film’s success. More than even the story – it’s the idea of it all – the DNA. The Big Idea motivates a big audience.

Also, filmmakers should know just who makes up their audience. Who are they making their film for? How large is this audience?

Kevin stressed that it’s important for films to be “comp’d” (using examples of other films that are similar) correctly. Filmmakers should not use “aspirational” comps – what they wish it could be.  They should choose films with similar genres and similar budget ranges.

To be successful, a film needs to have at least one the following:

  • Capability – the DNA measurement, the gut.
  • Playability – the audience’s experience when they sit down and watch the film.  How well does it “play”?
  • Marketability – the ability of a film to attract an audience.
  • Buzzability – what critics and social media want to see.

I’ve found that it’s been extremely useful to include a discussion of these ideas in conversations with potential investors – especially those from outside the entertainment industry.  It gives them an understanding of today’s marketplace and just how successful my film can be.


This article was originally posted on my LinkedIn page.