How to become a successful indie filmmaker

Exclusive this, exclusive that

Alex Ferrari gives us the inside information on what it takes to be a successful filmmaker.

It’s about thinking outside the box and right now it’s still very wild, wild west. It’s gunslingers going everywhere. There are no set rules; there are no set paths yet. People are still discovering tools. Every day there are new distribution outlets; new technologies coming out, you know, Gumroad, VimeoPro. These are self-distribution outlets that you can go to.

There's so much opportunity, but it's all about who is willing to do the work. That's what I keep saying that there's not enough of - people willing to work hard. In LA, everybody wants the quick rich. How do I get there quickly? How do I get that Oscar? Now! I need instant gratification. I know I sound like an old fart now. I'm 41. I'm starting to think more like my grandpa did.

Long term, think long-term. You can't think short term. For the early part of my career, I was like what's going to blow me up? Nothing blew me up because I didn't plan it properly. That's what I see filmmakers do all the time now.

Alex Ferrari, Indie Film Hustle, Broken

"Okay, I'm going to make a short film. I'm going to put it on YouTube I'm going to get five million views". Okay, you got five million views. I know a ton of guys did that. What else? Okay, now what. Next! You got 5 million views. How did you monetize that? Did you build a community? Did you get any emails? How did you do?

And there’s so much other stuff coming down that you just get rolled right over. It’s literally like an avalanche of content. If you’re not the one strong and standing and you don’t stick your pole in the ground, you just get bowled over and that’s what this business is like. This city is filled with corpses. It’s called the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

It’s very true. People came here trying to get famous and if that’s the goal then you’re going to get killed. You’ll be shark meat. The sharks will smell you coming a mile away. I preach about a lot of this stuff at Indie Film Hustle because I want people to not be taken advantage of because I’ve been taken advantage of by the business.

Creativity is something very, very important. You have to be creative in how you market and sell your movie. Figure out if there’s a market for it. A lot of filmmakers go and make a movie because they want to put it out there and they go “this is going to be cool”.

Alex Ferrari, Indie Filmmaker, success, living

The future is in being able to sell your own stuff, being an entrepreneur, a filmmaking entrepreneur. So if you make a feature film you have to think of the feature film almost as advertising. Sure you can sell the feature film for $14.99 download or $3.99 rental but that’s not where the money’s at. The money’s at selling exclusive behind the scenes of how you did it, exclusive interviews, exclusive this and exclusive that and start packaging it.

Now that might not be interesting to the common fan but to those raving fans, people who love you and want you and want to get your autograph. You have to package that movie in a way that you have t-shirts, hats, posters, things that your true raving fans love. They’ll love you for it. You’re giving them content that they want, you’re giving them merchandise that they want and you’re giving them art that they want.

Exclusive this and exclusive that. If you package it all together, that’s where the money’s at.

This article was originally published in Issue 01 of Follow Magazine. To get more inside information on how you can make a living as an artist, subscribe now.

Get it on Google Play