Imagine this; you’ve made your film, had a grand premiere for it and the film is now available in the marketplace for your fans and new audiences to enjoy. But, hardly anyone seems to be paying to watch it. Do you wonder why that is?
In my opinion, there are many reasons for the poor financial performance of a film. What I’ve found is that there are 5 common, little-known factors amongst many film financial failures:
1. Not being everywhere: When the film is not available on all the platforms its potential audiences are on, the revenue suffers badly. Ask your audience where they would like to watch the film and make it available on there for them.
2. Poor monetisation strategy: If you don’t have a planned monetisation strategy for your film, get one. Without it, it’s going to be very hard to recoup the cost of making the film. Most of the time, filmmakers just copy monetization methods that their peers are following. One money-making strategy does not suit every filmmaker.
3. Only one monetisation method: Over reliance on only one monetisation method is a common mistake that will shrink your film’s revenue – I have seen this happen over and over. Be everywhere and monetise in at least 3 different ways. Once you have enough proof of a clear winning strategy, scale it up and drop the rest. You need to see what works and cannot afford to be choosy in the beginning.
4. Poor marketing: This is huge! Research has shown that a person has to be exposed to a marketing message or advertising at least 7 times before they considering buying. Most filmmakers don’t get anywhere near this number. Hence, poor sales performance!
5. Start small: No matter how good a filmmaker you are or how great your film is, unless you have a limitless financial pipeline, you need to act small and think big initially. Keeps costs down and resist the need to be flashy. Instead focus on the needs of your audience and do the best you can for them.
Most independent filmmaking teams lose steam when they don’t see the big earnings they had hoped for very quickly. The get deflated and typically do one of two things – blame the audience for not ‘getting’ their film or blame themselves. None of this is healthy.
As a filmmaker, you owe it to everyone to make the film as financially viable as possible. Work on the film’s business plan, have a marketing plan in place and then go hard to getting it seen by as many people as possible.
Filmmaking is a creative as well as a financial undertaking. A lot of people have staked their time, effort and money in getting the film made. Your work as a filmmaker does not end after the film is made – in fact it has only just begun!