Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

May 16 at 8:30am

16 Recommendations For Filmmakers To Discover Best Practices For A Sustainable Creative Life

By Ted Hope

Note: If you’d like to share this post, here’s a shortened link: http://bit.ly/SustainCrtvLife

Two weeks ago at The San Francisco Film Society we launched A2E (Artist To Entrepreneur), a specific line of programming designed to provide filmmakers with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and best practices needed to have a sustainable creative life.  We launched with A2E OnRamp, a workshop to allow filmmakers to budget, schedule, and predict possible revenues for their film throughout the direct distribution process.

Before we rolled up our sleeves to start the practical, I warmed up the crowd with a series of short lectures focusing on what all filmmakers should know about the film biz, the current culture, and recommended best practices for themselves.  Last week I shared with you what we discussed about culture in general.  Prior to that, I shared with you what I felt we had to recognize and accept, at least for now, about the film business.

Today, I offer you my recommendations on best practices in times like these if you want to have a hope of a sustainable creative life as a filmmaker.  Don’t worry if it looks like there is more than you can currently achieve.  It is a process and you are not alone.  It gets better. We can build it better together.

  1. Focus on developing Entrepreneurial Skills as well as the creative.  The corporate distributors don’t need your work to the extent that they will ever value it as much as you will.  If you want your work to last, engage, and be profitable, it is up to you to be prepared to use it to ignite all opportunities.  Armed with a good story and good storytelling skills, you should be able to profit if you know how to take responsibility for your creation.
  2. The great challenge is no longer how to get your film made or funded, but how to get people to watch it.  All the tools and connections have improved.  Information is accessible.  You need to allocate time and resources to engage people with your work.  There is nothing harder in the filmmaking eco-system than this.
  3. Aggregate audience.  Build those email lists.  Transition or lead folks from social networks where you don’t own the data (Twitter, Facebook, etc), to your own lists where you can directly connect and engage with your community.  You need to know how many people you can lead to action.
  4. Go beyond thinking of whom the audience is that you make your work for, and start figuring out how your audience uses your work – and with that comes the shift from a passive one way relationship from a maker to a fan base, to an active participatory relationship between an instigator and the community they are part of.
  5. Transition your passive audience to an active engaged participatory community.  If you know how people find your work, why people respond to your work, and what they use your work for, you can unleash their power and creativity to fully engage, and thus make the work a more critical part of their life.
  6. Distributors are for the few; recognize though, that platforms are for the many.  Distributors have their pick of licensing films, but also have a limited bandwith as to what they can promote well.  Platforms need your work.  If the odds are those that you want won’t want you, shouldn’t you first figure out how to play well with those that want you on their team?  You have the opportunity to do well.
  7. The only logical response for filmmakers to these Days of Too Much is to be more prolific and ubiquitous.  “How are you going to be more generative in more places?” you ask? This demonstrates both the need for radical collaboration – and the forum to do it on. Your work is how people will discover you.  You need to make it available in as many forms as possible.
  8. You need others to be authentically incentivized to share and promote your work.  That means they must honestly appreciate it and understand what they have to gain by getting the word out about it.  The easiest way is for your work to share the same goals as they do.  This may mean it needs to be part of the same thing as theirs.  Think about that.
  9. We have stop trying to reinvent the wheel every time we release a new film.  Currently, each new film is a new effort to gather audience, even when it is from the same director or story world.  IMG_5545We must start to remain engaged with our fans, and shift our focus from a single product business to one of an ongoing relationship.
  10. The film biz lacks a way for the passionate fan to demonstrate their appreciation of a work.  People buy art both because they like it and because it elevates their status.  If you like a movie as a work of art, maybe you can find a foreign poster of it, or wait until Taschen publishes a book on the director.  There are few fetish objects to award the die-hards with.  What can you provide for those that love your work?
  11. You are currently witnessing the end of feature film dominance.  The feature film form was born out of economic necessity and biological necessity.  People valued the time commitment it took to consume and could get through it with one bathroom break/stop at the concession stand.  This product length has been the basis of all media based financial decisions other than subscription fees – and even there it was the initial driver (along with sports and pornography).  Yet, feature films are a costly product to market with no easy way to initially engage an audience on an active level without giving away the cow.  In this connected age we can create an infinite variety of storyworld extensions, discovery nodes, and engagement forums. Time to start thinking broader and deeper.
  12. Be responsible for your film, for no one has the incentives you do to do so.  Learn to strategize, schedule, budget, and predict revenues for the entire life cycle of your film.
  13. Embrace rapid prototyping with multiple iterations. There is no current business model for indie film & there will probably never be a universe template for most films.  The goal is to determine a variety of “best practices” as soon as possible.  We need to work together.  This is the era of cooperation not competition. Each step brings us closer to a certain truth.
  14. To increase your rate of success, fail twice as much. Experiment.  We have to get over our cult of success and speak more about the ongoing process instead of the rare result.
  15. You are not discovering gold or creating a patentable process.  Determining best practices to have a sustainable & rewarding creative life is a group endeavor.  We can build it better together, but if we hide our failures and the powerful information we collect, we will not advance. Gather & share data.  Embrace transparency and an “Open Source” attitude to all you do.  This is a collective process to lift all of us up.
  16. Don’t despair.  As much as art has always shown us where we are, we also depend on it to show us where we want to be.  The work you create moves us closer to the world you aspire to.

I am trusting you to let all of us know what I forgot. I look forward to the comments.


19 Things Regarding Our Current Culture That Should Completely Alter Your Creative And Entrepreneurial Practice.

17 Things About The Film Biz That Should Significantly Alter Your Behavior



  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print


leave a comment
  1. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now ;)

  2. valid email id / May 16 at 8:30am

    whoah this weblog is wonderful i love studying your posts.
    Keep up the good work! You already know, a lot of people are looking round for this info, you can aid
    them greatly.

  3. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!

  4. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Can I simply say what a comfort to find someone who actually knows what they’re talking about on the web. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people must read this and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular given that you certainly have the gift.

  5. Dentista amigo / May 16 at 8:30am

    Hola, Una pasada buen contenido Un beso

  6. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Right here is the perfect webpage for everyone who really wants to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic which has been written about for ages. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

  7. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Can I simply say what a comfort to discover someone who truly knows what they are talking about on the net. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people need to check this out and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

  8. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    May I just say what a relief to uncover someone that truly understands what they’re discussing on the web. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must look at this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you are not more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.

  9. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Very good post. I definitely love this site. Keep it up!

  10. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    This is the right blog for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been discussed for many years. Excellent stuff, just great!

  11. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

  12. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after looking at many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly pleased I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  13. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    I love reading a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

  14. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    This excellent website certainly has all the information I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  15. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after looking at some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  16. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Excellent web site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  17. ÿþM / May 16 at 8:30am

    I together with my friends ended up going through the nice suggestions from your website while then I got an awful feeling I had not thanked the blog owner for those secrets. These guys became as a result excited to read all of them and have now sincerely been tapping into these things. Many thanks for simply being very considerate as well as for considering some really good tips millions of individuals are really desperate to understand about. My personal honest apologies for not saying thanks to you earlier.

  18. News-Round.Com / May 16 at 8:30am

    There is certainly a reat deasl to learn about this issue.

    I love all of the points you’ve made.

  19. small business startups / May 16 at 8:30am

    Thank you for some other informative site. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I’m simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info.

  20. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    After looking into a handful of the blog posts on your web site, I seriously appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and let me know how you feel.

  21. detektyw wroclaw / May 16 at 8:30am

    Appreciating the commitment you put into your website and in depth information you present. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

  22. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  23. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site. I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own site now ;)

  24. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  25. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you need to publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not speak about such topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

  26. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    You are so cool! I do not believe I have read through a single thing like that before. So great to find somebody with unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

  27. www / May 16 at 8:30am

    Very good article. I absolutely love this site. Keep it up!

  28. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Independent Filmmaking – Assessment 3 | Taraka Rama's
  2. try this site
  3. as seen here
  4. feather
  5. small business web marketing
  6. Must Have League Of Legends Codes By Freeleagueoflegendscodes.Com
  7. long waiting List
  8. information on e-banking
  9. repossessed cars for sale in pakistan
  10. linked site
  11. real estate website
  12. lynnkushi.Page.Tl
  13. real estate online
  14. getting rid of ants successfully
  15. Tools for SEO
  16. Natural termite control
  17. explanation
  18. Gap Insurance
  19. Home Garden Decoration
Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!