The newly published third edition Variety’s Producer’s Business Handbook is a must read for anyone involved in the business end of filmmaking.
Coming from a publicist background, I found it highly informative in helping me “fill in the blanks.” In the film business there’s always more to learn. This volume may help you to see the big picture with much more clarity, by providing you with an expanding foundation of knowledge of film industry best practices on a wide range of issues. I think it will help you make better, informed decisions on all of the day to day issues you face as producer.
Various distribution issues are reviewed, and I’ll write about them in subsequent postings, but I found one section in particular exceptionally thought provoking.
The authors make a compelling case for viewing your film, and your production company, as a brand.
Of course that principle is easy to understand with respect to a large established company like Disney, but what relevance might branding have on the typical indy film? Plenty!
During the pre-production process a producer’s primary concern is funding the film’s production, which naturally involves analyzing the plusses and minuses of various forms of investor and bank financing.
But what about ancillary rights? Your characters will be wearing clothing, eyeware, footwear, and probably jewelry. Won’t they be using computers, cell phones, driving cars, eating at restaurants? All of these aspects and many, many more are potential revenue streams for the producer through the licensing of product placement and other ancillary rights. Plus relationships with major brands can help build the producer’s credibility with potential distriburtors.
Naturally, product placement revenue stems from your charactors’ favorable use of those branded products.
To discover how widespread product placement of branded products is in feature films, check out: www.brandchannel.com/brandcameo_films.asp then think about how some product placement might work for establishing your characters, and enhancing your story.
Then add it all up, and you can easily envision how all of those well known brands, used skillfully, can in turn help you to establish a brand for both your film, and your production company.
When you begin approaching distributors -- which from now on you’ll be doing beginning in pre-production -- those distributors are going to consider one fundamental question: Who demographically and geographically will be seeing your film? Therein lies the true value of developing a brand consciousness for your films and your company: People really do respond positively to brands. You will be presenting an extra level of proven audience demographics to your potential distributors for their consideration, and distributors know that when a film works, the audience wants more!
The audiences you develop are going to want to see the same characters again, or other films with characters they can identify with and relate to in a similar manner.
Films will always revolve around a strong story, but by considering your story’s branding potential, you can face the competitive financing arena, and improve the probability of producing subsequent films by considering the branding aspects of both your individual film, and your company producing your films.
Order a copy of Variety’s Producer’s Business Handbook at www.focalpress.com/producer Use discount code 46436 to receive a 30% discount with ordering through Focal Press.
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