Managing Expectation

June 22, 2009
posted by sheric

Have you ever thought you had the greatest idea for a film and only could envision its (and your) ultimate success? Probably you even gave it a try, scraped all your money and a bunch of other people’s money together, hired the best talent and crew you could afford and, despite your best efforts to achieve world recognition, you ended up with 1,000 copies of your film in your garage, gathering dust. What might have been different if your vision of success for the film had been smaller?

Instead of a premiere at Sundance, six figure distribution deals, screenings at national and international multiplex chains, and shelf space at Walmart, your vision had started out with building and capitalizing on success at small festivals, building audiences one city at a time, screening in whatever local venue would allow it and selling DVD’s wherever you went and through whatever reputable online venues would have you? Not as glamorous for sure and not an overnight success, but a slow and steady build. Each success helping you gain the momentum to keep going until you can reach the ultimate.

As an independent filmmaker, you must stop defining your film’s success by trying to compete with the studios, the multimillion dollar films distributed worldwide. That cannot be your only vision of success. You will try and try to best that level until you get so frustrated that you quit. Instead look at your success as a series of small wins, festival acceptance and competition wins, building an audience from your closest inner circle to 500, 1,000, 10,000 etc., receiving serious inquiries from reputable distributors instead of chasing them. Each small success will build upon itself, create some buzz and finally a sense of inevitability that you can’t help but be a success.

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