Having a successful career in the film industry today requires more than just being able to produce films or perform on screen. Talent is important however it is not enough to get a foot in the door or make a living. Below are some of the key things that are necessary in order to create opportunities for career progression and personal success in a competitive industry.
Learn how to sell
The fundamental principle of selling is something that a majority of people are never taught in school, at university or even on a specialized filmmaking course. Whether you’re looking to succeed as an actor, film director, producer, writer or in any other field for that matter, being able to sell yourself, and what you offer is vital. Even if you are the best filmmaker of the last half century, have made incredible contributions to society through art and performance, without the ability to communicate effectively and to make a sale will prevent you from earning a living, and it is without a doubt the number 1 skill to perfect in the film industry.
There are online sales courses that you can take to improve your ability to present, pitch and sell. If you want to be able to get your screenplay sold, your films distributed, or secure that audition, learning this skill repeatedly and over time will bring you results.
One of the world’s most prominent salesman, Grant Cardone, has developed a life-changing course that you can take to increase your income.
Develop your personal pitch
People need to know who you are and what you’re about. One of the biggest issues for filmmakers when they are starting out is getting recognition and attracting the right connections. The concept of a personal pitch is essentially what you present yourself as to the people you meet. A personal pitch needs to be crafted in a way that when you go to a film festival, industry market, red carpet premiere or networking event, you’ve got a story to tell. Even if you’re a student starting out or a seasoned pro, you can work on a personal pitch to attract the right people to support your projects.
Another way of presenting a personal pitch is to create a website that illustrates clearly what you do, and how you contribute to film. There is an idea floating about on the web that having a personal website is irrelevant and that social networks alone are sufficient to tell a story. This could not be further from the truth. A personal website allows you to refine your message in a space that you fully control where you can display your portfolio of work and even build a list of subscribers which we’ll go into further down this article.
Another thing about personal websites is that you can create an email address that is branded with your name. This already creates an instant showreel whenever you contact people and gives a more professional approach to your outreach. We’ll go into branding in just a minute. To get started you can begin by creating a WordPress website with free templates. You can also get a very affordable hosting solution like Bluehost. Give yourself every chance and do this step even if you just started film school.
Build an online brand
Building an online brand is essential if you want to articulate your message clearly across social media and the wider web. People that you come into contact with will likely Google your name, and look at your social networks. If you don’t have a consistent presence that gives people an indication as to who you are, this will work against you as your career progresses. People in the film business like to work with others they trust. Establishing yourself and creating a story around what you do online is going to give you an added advantage. You can get started by creating social profiles on different networks. It’s a good idea to make these consistent with the same profile image so that people can connect with you in those spaces.
Practice live streaming
Live streaming is an emerging trend and is going to be one of the most important communication channels of the 21st century. In fact, in the next 10 years, live streaming may become the dominant channel that replaces all other forms of communication. To get yourself an early start, consider downloading Periscope or testing out Facebook live. As you build your following you can start to sell products and services. If you’re a filmmaker you can use live streaming to promote your film from pre-production to post, and build a fan base. Don’t forget that your followers will ultimately be your investors. They will buy your films, services, and so on. Start communicating with them on a much deeper level using live streaming. It will also help you become more confident in different areas of your life. It’s going to make an incredible difference to you.
Establish a community
Film Industry Network wouldn’t be here today without the support of a passionate community. You should think about creating a community environment where your fans can connect with you. Facebook or Linkedin groups are a great way to get started. Once you’ve set up your social groups, provide value to your readers and fans and show them what you’re doing. With consistent message and regular updates over time, you will start to attract like-minded people who genuinely care about what you have to offer or share. Build it today, even if you haven’t started your company or film production.
Build a list
Building an email list is essential if you want to be able to promote your projects and make sales. Your list is people who have opted in specifically with interest in receiving your updates via email. A typical open rate for email newsletters can range from 15-60% depending on how you’ve nurtured the relationship. That is up to 60x more people seeing your updates than they would on Facebook from a single piece of content. Social media is highly saturated but email is still a highly effective medium for making sales. Don’t overlook this part especially if you have a film coming out. You need to be able to reach your audience on social and via email.
Earn with e-commerce
The most successful films don’t just dominate the box office, they also sell physical products. The Star Wars franchise is a key example of how a film has built a multi-billion dollar merchandising business off the back of its popular story. Think about this for a second. If you’re reaching large numbers of people on Youtube with your shorts or have managed to get your film distributed, why are you not selling merchandise too? Haven’t you noticed that when you buy a product or service from someone, and you had a good experience, you often go back and buy more? Welcome to the concept of e-commerce.
For years, Amazon has dominated online retail by providing creators with the ability to buy and sell products from books to films with an internet connection, but things are changing. There is a new player in town and they’re called Shopify. What’s interesting about Shopify is that you can build your own online store and sell all your products directly to your fans with no middlemen. Amazon takes considerable fees on product sales, and shipping but with Shopify you can start to take control of your business and your merchandise without giving so much away.
We’ve designed our new online store with Shopify which you can check out here. You can list all your movie titles and sell t-shirts, mugs and any other stock you have to build more revenue around your film. This is an emerging trend but for independent production companies and filmmakers, using platforms like Shopify will allow you to build a new merchandising business from the ground up at very low cost. If Disney can do it, so can you, and now it’s possible. This is one of the biggest game changers that you can’t ignore.
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