If you’ve been in the film business for some time, chances are you’ve read a statement like this before:
This statement can easily go on to fill half a page or more, listing a multitude of risks in the endeavor, including competition and so on. But what I am focused on here is less the legal necessity of informing folks that the film business is a risky one, like oil exploration is, or mining is; I am focused more on the specific risks each producer confronts in birthing and bringing a film to market, and for which you can mount a credible plan of defense, or against which you can forge a viable campaign of mitigation.
In general, in life, to the risks go the rewards. Risk, and this potential for rewards, are both inherent in the business which you and I have chosen to pursue. I am personally, however, very much against running wildly into the risk storm, yelling, “Wow, this is risky, but fun!” It is incumbent upon us to understand the risks and to take measures to control them and to control the relationship of our projects to those risks, while also not limiting the potential for reward.
The Risk Points
Are Met at Key Tasks and Their Attendant Decisions
- Creation of a quality script
- Effective development and packaging of the property to make a film
- Fully financing the film
- Completing the film at a level commensurate with its budget and market
- Gaining adequate distribution in the marketplace
- Achieving effective marketing for the target audience
- Achieving consumer uptake or sales levels, thereby achieving financial goals
Under each of these risk points are a series of further risk points. Each risk point is actually a decision point and an action point. The act of planning the business of your film is the act of learning, understanding and gaming out your moves in advance so as to minimize risk and maximize the potential. You previsualize the creative plan of your film to mitigate production risk, so why not pre-visualize the business plan of your film and mitigate the business risks, which also protect the precious creative asset you are fixed on producing.
Now there are very complex business moves that people I work with might take, all meant to target and neutralize financial risks. These are good and viable, but most of the items I want to talk about in this series of articles are primarily about how information and preparation enhance your decision-making, enabling you to effectively prepare for the primary risks in front of you, risks you can manage without being a hedge fund manager or the like.
Over time I will be discussing these risk points here. If you want to go on this little journey with me, you can subscribe here:
What originally caused me to begin FilmProfit® was my noticing that the studios and big players had lots of folks to help them figure out how to make their films profitable. Indie producers were in a gunfight with rubber stage knives. I wanted to give them some weapons to begin to level the playing field a little. The things I do, whether for rump indies or mid-level players, or even the studios are meant to get down under the hood, not just numbers, although numbers tell a story, but to get at the functions, of moviegoers, exhibitors, distributors, and all the working parts of the industry, and help my clients see better what they are getting into and how to prepare for it.
Onward and Upward