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Ben Yennie: Why Filmmakers NEED to Understand Business

In something of a follow-up to last week’s blog, I’m going to go into exactly why filmmakers need to understand business if they are to have a successful career as a filmmaker.   It’s more than business not being the enemy of art, it’s that business is necessary to enable art happening at all.  Before you go and rage at me in the comments, here’s why.  

1. Films take money to make.

We all know that films take money to make.  In fact, there’s an old joke about it that starts one of my more popular blogs on TheGuerrillaRep.com. (this blog). Raising money for films is not an easy task, and without good business skills, you don’t really have a chance.  While we can help you make your schedule, breakdown, and budget with our production management tools, you’ll need more than just those documents to get your film financed.  More in the next point

2. Convincing people to give you money means you need good business

In order to convince an investor to give you money, you’ll need to outline where you plan on getting the money (hint: it shouldn’t all be from investors.  More on that in this blog) You’ll also need to make a deck and potentially even write a business plan.  

It’s a lot you’re going to have to do, and we’re happy to be the only project management system with tools to help you track your financial mix.  We also offer a dashboard you can give your investors to help them stay up to date while you focus on getting the film made.  

3. Without marketing, no one will see your movie

On the other end of making the movie, you’re going to need to make sure you market your film if you’re going to have any chance at making your money back.  That means you’re going to need a base to market to. There are as many as 16,000 feature films made in the US every year.  (see the state of the film industry report for more details.) With that glut of content, you’ll be hard-pressed to have your film get discovered if you don’t have a base to market to and a marketing strategy to convince them to by.

4. If no one sees your movie, it won’t make any money

In the process of making your film, you’ll only spend a lot of money.  You need to sell the film to get money for your work.

Hopefully, this is obvious, but if people don’t see your film, the film won’t make any sales.  If you don’t make any sales, you won’t make any money.  Which brings me nicely to my final point.

5. If it doesn’t make money, you can’t make more movies.

Investors don’t give people money to indulge in their hobbies.  If you’re not likely to make money on your films, that’s all it is.  We can quibble about whether or not the film is art, and whether or not there’s a statement that needs to be made with your film.  However in the end, without money, you won’t get to keep making films.  After all, no one can pay their rent with exposure, not you, not your crew, not anyone.  

Thanks so much for reading!

If you liked this article, you should check out our site for more information and some of the most powerful and communicative tools on the internet.  As I said earlier, we do budgeting, scheduling, call sheets, breakdowns, and a whole lot more.  We also have an entire community of filmmakers where you can find the stuff you need and get your questions answered.  Join FREE directly below.  


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