Selling feature films: How indie filmmakers are doing it in 2020

It’s a new world out there, and selling feature films is becoming easier and easier. 

Indie filmmakers are adopting the new age strategy to sell their feature films, and I’m going to break it down so you can start using it asap.

Part 1: Build an audience

How to grow your audience

Growing an audience of people excited for your next films doesn’t have to be scary, complicated, or time-consuming. I’ve become a pro at breaking it down for the filmmakers I work with, and this is how we do it on The Creative Filmmaker

  1. Pick 2-3 platforms to focus on. I personally like Instagram and Facebook, because Instagram is a primarily visual platform, and there is a large community of filmmakers on Facebook.
  2. Create a content plan and add time into your calendar each week to create and schedule content. Posting consistently is the most effective way to grow your audience. Drip-feeding is always more successful than posting a lot of content sporadically. 
  3. Spend 10 minutes checking in on your chosen platforms daily. Reply to comments, respond to messages and engage with other people’s content. Social media is a platform that needs two-way engagement.

Bonus: schedule your content in advance to save time + creative energy

Read more: The Complete Guide to Instagram for Filmmakers

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Why growing an audience will help you sell your feature films

Buyers and investors are primarily focused on $$$. 

Having an inbuilt audience, with the numbers in black and white to present during your pitch, is a guaranteed selling point. 

These figures will translate to sales at the box office, which is the #1 aim for any buyer, producer or investor.

Part 2: Develop a slate

Creating your own slate sets you apart from inexperienced and amateur filmmakers. It proves you take your career as an ideas machine seriously. 

Read more: WTF is a slate and why are filmmakers relying on them in 2020?

You’ll have several fully-developed, pitch-ready projects at your fingertips.

This is often the saving grace in all kinds of pitch meetings – from the massive pitches in glass offices to the casual catch up coffee arrangements. 

It also provides producers and buyers with your next feature films, which will allow them to create longer-term plans. 

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It works similarly in publishing. As soon as the debut novel is published, work starts immediately on the sequel. 

The biggest timesuck in filmmaking is the development time. Having a slate full of ideas that don’t need to be developed from scratch cuts down that time, meaning lower cost overall. 

You can be at a festival screening for your £500 short and secure interest in your feature films from producers and buyers, just from a short conversation. The key to securing that interest though, is having a clear picture of your fully developed idea. Which is why all my clients end up with at least 20 fully developed projects on their slates.

Part 3: Let the buyers come to you 

This is my favourite way to operate as a filmmaker. It’s the new age, feminine way of doing it. 

I don’t love the more masculine, aggressive way of sending cold emails and persistent follow ups. It’s a guaranteed way to annoy someone, and it usually means that they’re not looking for feature films like yours anyway. 

Part 1 & 2 are the ways to make buyers come to you, and to get the attention of film producers and buyers in an organic, new age way. 

Read more: What Producers Are Looking For When They Read A Script

This is how indie filmmakers glide into selling their feature films, instead of the cold-emailing-cold-pitching grind that lasts for *years* (and rarely ever works).

It’s time to stop chasing buyers that aren’t interested in your stories. 

There are a ton of people who are looking for your feature films, so make life e-a-s-i-e-r for you by letting them do most of the work. 

After all, it’s their job to find and develop new feature films. They’re automatically looking for feature length film concepts like yours. 

This is the new age, organic way to sell your feature films in 2020. 

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