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Ben Yennie: The 7 Most Valuable Resources ALL Filmmakers Already Have


Most of the time when filmmakers think of allocating resources, they’re thinking of money.  However, not only is money far from the only resource available to filmmakers, in many cases it's not even the most valuable resource filmmakers have at their disposal.

Since a big part of what we do at ProductionNext is to properly managing resources, here’s a prioritized list of the most valuable resources available to any filmmaker as we see them.  

    1.    Time

In order to be successful in any entrepreneurial endeavor, it’s important to learn to manage your time well.  No matter who you are, there are 60 minutes in an hour, and and there are only 24 hours in a day.  Given that it’s a finite resource that everyone has the same amount of, it’s where we should start when figuring out how to allocate resources.

ProductionNext offers tools to help you manage your schedule and track your tasks so you can make the best use of this limited resource.

    2.    Reputation

If you’re an entrepreneur, your business lives and dies by your reputation.  Your reputation is made up of the culmination of every experience your customer, client, or service provider has had with you, your company, or your work.

In today’s market, authenticity is paramount in developing a strong reputation.  You need to live up to your word.  It’s important to make sure that when people who want to do business with you ask around, they only hear good things. If they start to hear bad things, you just lost a gig, client, customer, or job.  

ProductionNext doesn’t do a lot to help you manage your reputation at the moment, but it may well in a few future updates.  

    3.    Relationships

When staffing a production, a producer will call up people he’s worked with before first to see if they’re available.  If they’re not, the producer will ask if they know anyone good who might be.  They will then proceed down the list of people they know.   If no one they know is available, they’ll call the referral list.   If you want work, it pays to have good relationships.

Finding work isn’t the only reason relationships that pay dividends in the film industry.  If you have a strong relationship with a vendor, they may give you a substantial discount on your order, and your friends may work for you for less than their standard rate.

ProductionNext lets you track your relationships in your directory, and if they end up in your cast and crew you can do all sorts of cool things like automatically generate and send call sheets and sides.   

    4.    Knowledge

In the words of William Goldman, “Nobody Knows Anything.”  While it’s nearly impossible to predict what will be a flop and what will be a hit when you’re at the script stage, there are certain things every filmmaker needs to know.  Additionally, there are other things that every specialist in a department needs to know if they want to build their filmmaking career.

It’s important to continually educate yourself in order to make sure know what to do when something happens on set.  But, since nobody can know everything, we’ve built a Quora-esque Q&A system into ProductionNext.  If you have a question you want to ask an executive producer, you can do so using this system.  If you’re a member, I may personally answer your question if you ask it on the platform.  

    5.    Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (or IP) is incredibly important in any business, but, given that the film industry is built entirely around monetizing intangible intellectual property, it’s even more important in our industry.  

You need to make sure you copyright your script as well as register it with the WGA. When your film is done, you need to make sure you copyright it as well, and you’ll need to track various contracts throughout the development of your film.   The technical term for this is chain of title documents, and they’re incredibly important in distribution.  

ProductionNext gives you secure cloud storage attached directly to your project so you can keep all of these documents in one place.  

    6.    Community

Every filmmaker and every entrepreneur exists at the nexus of several communities.  There’s the community that makes up your target market, the community of your peers, and most likely the community in which you have your friends, family, and loved ones.   There’s likely to be overlap in all of these groups. Managing yourself in your communities is an arduous task, but necessary if you want to find success.  

The community that makes up your target market will be the people who are most likely to back your crowdfunding campaign, and the people who will be first in line to buy your movie when you release it.  Your community of your filmmaking peers is who you’ll call when you need some help on set, or an extra pair of eyes on your script.  

Your community of friends, family and loved ones will be the ones who are there to mourn your losses and celebrate your successes.  They’ll help to support you through the death march that is making a film.  The members of that final community who also inhabit your filmmaking community are the most valuable, since they’ll understand your struggles and care enough to be there for you.

ProductionNext offers a community space with tools to discuss, find what you need for your film, and more.   

    7.    Money

Finally, we get to money.  While it is important, it’s last on this list for a reason.  Money can buy the time of others, but time is still a finite resource you’ll never get back.  Even though it’s great to be known as someone who pays their debts and pays their crew on time, it’s far from the only thing that influences your reputation.  Money won’t buy you the relationships you want, and the good relationships will save you money.  

Money can pay your tuition, but it can’t put knowledge into your brain.  Money can buy intellectual property, but it takes knowledge to know how to use it.  And finally, no amount of money can buy you an authentic community.  

That said, money is necessary, and n be the hardest to come by on this list.  While ProductionNext is not a platform for raising money, it can help you figure out the best ways to spend it using our smart budgeting features which we regularly improve.  

Thank you for reading, if you’ve become intrigued by my teases on what our platform can do for you, sign up using the link below.


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