I spent the weekend with my good friend Simon Cox, at a science fiction convention in Birmingham called Memorabilia, selling my books and his movie on DVD, ‘Written In Blood’, signed by him of course. It was an intense two days, but very rewarding, not least because I sold some books, but also because I was forced to sell DVD’s – and this is something every film maker should have to do. All to often we sit in our ivory towers, imagining how wonderful our movie will be, what the poster will look like, how the audiences will flock to it – and that dream is almost entirely based one WHAT WE LIKE, and not what the market wants or the audience finds attractive.
Simon and I were closing deals based entirely on… how we presented ourselves and our sales patter, the title of the film, the genre, the key art / poster, and the cast. Here are a sample of the common questions… ‘What’s is about?’, ‘so you are the director?’, ‘is it any good?’ Some of the comments were, ‘I like the poster’, ‘I like horror movies’, ‘you have a lot of energy for your movie…’ When it resulted in a sale, it was most often based on the buyer feeling the movie would be at worst OK, hopefully, terrific, but mostly on Simon and his enthusiasm. This is a fundamental principle in persuasion. I like you so I will buy your DVD (enhanced by him signing it).
I don’t like the artwork for Simon’s film, but the audience out there sure as hell did. And that’s what matters. What this has taught me is that knowing your audience is the key to success – the genre, the cast, the title, the expectation, how to get to them above and beyond the obvious machines like Blockbuster and Amazon.
Simon isn’t there to sell every DVD, it needs to sell itself. And hoping that will happen isn’t enough. So go and rethink your movie now. Can you see the poster? Can you see the trailer? Would you sell the DVD yourself if that meant the difference between success and failure? Consider, Jake West’s movie ‘Evil Aliens’, sold 35,000 units. There is a film maker who knows his audience.
Simon can be contaced at Storm Rider Films (www.stormriderfilms.co.uk)
Filmmaker, Author and Firewalk Instructor
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Directing splinter unit on Mission: Impossible 7
Exec producing The Happenings
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