5.16.2011

The Ten Factors to a Successful Film

Ted Hope's blog posting, IndieFilmFinanceModelV2011.1 : The Ten Factors, summarizes the 10 factors to making a "successful" movie in 2011.  I don't believe in formulas per se that can guarantee success. There are tons of movies that follow the "formula" and tank financially and critically and tons that don't follow the "formula" and succeed.  Still, there is value in considering Ted's very succint list since, at the least, you can position your film to better make it's money back if you consider the factors:
  1. Price point / negative cost below $5M;
  2. “Estimated” Foreign Value at 80% or higher  of negative costs;
  3. Track record of collaborators in US Acquisition market to project 25% of negative costs;
  4. Utilization of Soft Money/Tax Benefits as revenue — not enhancement;
  5. Manufacture desire: inject freshness & an ability to cut through the noise;
  6. Predetermined & Accessible Audience;
  7. Aura Of Inevitability= Polished Script+Show Reel or Look Book + _________?
  8. Urgency of the deal;
  9. Something old (proven genre)
  10. Something new (fresh scent).
Now... as he asked, "What does this all add up to?  Is there a formula we can use?"
Here's my take:


Even though I don't believe there is a straight mathematical formula based on these factors you can use to make a successful film, I do believe there is a series of steps you can take to help you get to that successful film:
  • Take 9 (a proven genre) and add 10 (something new to it).
  • Then research [or hire someone] to find 6 (a predetermined & accessible audience) and 4 (soft money and tax benefits as revenue). 
  • Next, figure out a budget that is 1 (negative cost below $5M) that can yield 2 (estimated foreign value of 80% or more of negative cost).
  • Use 7 (a polished script and show reel or look book +______) and 5 (manufactured desire [at least, initially through social media]) to find 3 (a US acquisition market that can net you 25% of the negative cost).
  • Finally, take advantage of 8 (urgency of the deal) to strike and recoup while the proverbial "iron" is hot.

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