Understanding the Business of Moviemaking

The film business is one of the most lucrative in the world. Films travel globally and generated more than $125 billion USD in 2016 and the market continues to grow more than 5% annually. The industry is made up of large international distributors who make sure the films get to movie theaters and are played on secondary distribution systems. They also produce or purchased most of the film product created each year. There is also a vibrant independent film market that creates thousands of feature film, with a small number distributed by the majors and most being independently distributed by local players in individual film markets. Collectively the marketplace is very efficient.

Making movies, requires a broad set of skills and a commitment to getting something accomplished that is sometimes looked upon as fanatical. The process has been called impossible to complete and yet each year thousands of films are produced around the world. So how do producers like Larry Polhill get films made? It is a process that is not written in stone but the qualities needed are pretty standard. Here is a list of them:

Believe even when it seems foolish

To get a film made you need to have an undying belief in the veracity of the project. In short you need to always feel like and communicate to others that the project must be made. There will be times when it appears that no one believes in the film and you will be told that it will never get made, but through all of this, your belief in it getting produced needs to be unshakable. This unreasonable approach to doing something is the common thread you will find in all successful film producers. They understand that the risks associated with every part of the filmmaking process is high, but they move into and thorough each part with unchecked enthusiasm.

Have a great reason for making the film

When a producer looks to enlist others on a film project he is taking a shot in the dark, particularly if it is an indie film. The producer must find true believers and get them to agree to work for no money until the money is secured. Any savvy film investor will demand that certain aspects of the film have been secured. These may include a great casting director who can secure good and marketable talent, a director with experience, talent that has some name value and a cinematographer who has won an award or two. The producer must approach all of these people and get them to sign on to a project and what will capture their interest is a great script but as importantly, the story the producer will tell about why he or she has chosen to take on this film project. So the producer needs to have that story ready to tell and it must be compelling.

Be Prepared to Collaborate

A film is a true collaboration between business and creative people who all want to get the picture made. Film scripts can go through a dozen rewrites to modify story, budget, locations, endings, and cast and each time it takes those involved working together to make sure that the essence of the project is not lost. The journey should be one where the core group learns to work together and push each other toward creating a better more marketable product. Without this constant modification, films rarely end up being marketable so any producer must be great at collaborating.


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