Artist as Marketer, Part 2

By the way, just to follow up on the Artist as Marketer thread I just posted, this is exactly what we did with our indie film, “Family.”

In addition to the film itself, we (meaning the director, and myself as the producer) cut our own trailers, created our own printing artwork and silk screened DVD promos to hand out at the American Film Market, and I built the website myself (figure it out, y’all – plenty of tutorials on the web…).

This led to us selling the film to a reputable sales company, and while I’m not going to argue whether or not it’s a *good* movie (I like my first film, Solitude, better), it’ll actually make it’s money back.

I’ve worked inside large production companies at the exec level, and can safely say that had “Family” gone through one of those, and/or a large distributor, the movie would never, ever recoup what was spent on it because we’d be paying off overhead forever and a day.

It IS possible to do your marketing and do it well. It just takes some creative thought and a little work – and for all you “creatives” out there, who think you’re only responsible for your “vision” of your movie or television show or whatever, you’re going to be into a world of hurt when your services are exchanged for those of others who are willing and able to contribute more than just ideas.

You Are the Marketer

As I’ve posted a few times about the realities of the evolving IP marketplace as dictated by the consumer and not the rights holder, Trent Reznor just keep on popping up with gems. This quote is one that terrifies most of the highest earners in creative businesses:

“As an artist, you are now the marketer.”

Wait a minute, that means you’re destroying my carefully crafted business model that relies upon delivering a highly-polished turd wrapped in sticky marketing hooks for “your people” to figure out how to sell… because if I tried to sell it on it’s merits… well, then… uh… I’d be broke.

To which, I say, GOOD!

For the first time in a century it would be dependent upon the folks who call themselves the “creatives” to create their way into making better content, and figure out how to monetize and market it themselves.

And guess what, if you can’t figure it out, it doesn’t mean the market is betraying you, it probably means that either your content, or your business model, or your marketing (or all three), totally sucked. And you don’t deserve to get paid for it.

Imagine how much more $$ you could make if you didn’t have to pay for all the overhead from the (large) production company and the (large) distributor in making media? I can tell you right now that on a $7m production I’ve worked on, that somehow, the company and the distributor had to make at least another $3m on top of that just to cover overhead.

Now, this still leaves a gaping hole on “well, how do we finance our media projects” and that, my friends, is still very much an open discussion. I do not know how that is going to be solved, yet, but it will be.

Overheads will be smaller, budgets will be smaller, and if you’re any good at what you do, your profit margins will be higher, and you’ll be happier because you’re dealing with a smaller number of schmoes upstream in the foodchain.