Mommy? What’s a movie theater?

Written by  //  05.11.11  //  Word  //  No comments

In 5 years my kids may wonder what a movie theater is…

It seems as though everything we thought we held sacred is shifting. Books are now read on computers, phones and ipads, long phone chats are now replaced by long skype chats (I’m still not fully in to that one- sometimes I like to wear pajamas – or nothing!), TV is anytime, any place and now movies are on their way out of the Cineplex and into- well wherever.

The old notion that one must pay a small fortune to sit in a dark room with sticky chairs to see a good film is shifting to going to your local yoga studio to see a film and hear from the film maker. People are looking for a more intimate experience when seeing a film. They want to feel a part of something. To me this is part of a larger movement within society to belong. It’s no wonder social networking is the newest boom.

These days it’s not just enough to have a movie – you need a brand. In my experience, people want to know more than what they see in a film. They want the whole story, they want the filmmakers story. They want to connect on a deeper level for a more complete experience and that can’t always happen in 90 minutes. What other products can you create from your film concept? Books, additional dvd’s, seminars (it ain’t about t-shirts and hats anymore – although those are good too)

For sure audiences will always flock to the theaters for your typical Hollywood blockbuster, but my guess is most of you reading this aren’t making those.

What is a filmmaker to do to get their film seen? I live by Three Golden Rules when making or considering a film for distribution.

  1. Know my audience (I mean really- not “Everyone will love my movie!), but really know your core audience. Get specific – very specific. Understand their patterns. Where do they like to go? What magazines or websites do they read? How do you reach them? If your film speaks to your core then they will do the real work which is the best marketing you can have for a movie “Word of Mouth”.
  2. Make a movie people want to see more than once. In this digital age most of your revenues will not come from a theatrical release (Should you choose to do a theatrical release, you should be thinking of that as an expense for marketing- not a revenue stream!) Your revenues will come from your dvd (and even that’s limited these days) to other digital distribution outlets such as V.O.D and PPV. The more people want to watch your movie, the more opportunities for revenues.
  3. Make it cheap. You don’t need millions and millions of dollars to make or distribute your film. The less money of yours, your parents or your investors you spend, the more likely you’ll make it back and be able to make more!

I have found that most filmmakers leave their business hat off when making a film. I know, I know you want those creative juices flowing- and in the end it’s most important. But if you don’t consider the business of your film before you make it, it’s likely it will end up being watched by your mom and her bridge club friends on her big screen at home.

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    About the Author

    Mom, Filmmaker, Author, Radio host and Blogger. Co-Creator of the hit film "What The Bleep Do We Know?!". Betsy Chasse is an internationally known filmmaker, author and speaker. She funny, irreverent and thoughtful in her exploration of all things spiritual. She believes “if we aren’t laughing we aren’t growing and learning.”

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