Moving Into Films: Part 3


What people want

I spent another year studying filmmaking on my own. But first I did some marketing. Before I sat down to write my screenplay I needed to know what kind of movies people were paying to see. Many do not understand what marketing is all about. My first associate degree is in marketing; I completed this two-year apprenticeship while I was still in high school in Puerto Rico. So I will tell you what marketing is: finding the needs of the market. How do you find what the needs are? -By collecting data. In other words, marketing is collecting knowledge.

Once you know what kind of product or service people are in need of, you then proceed to design a product or service to satisfy the need. Then the product is introduced into the market. Since in a free market economy competition is also trying to satisfy these needs -for a profit, you launch an advertising campaign to influence consumers into thinking that your product or service is best in satisfaction and results.

Movies are entertainment products that satisfy consumer needs for entertainment. A movie’s advertising campaign will include, for example, printed ads and a theatre trailer that will influence your emotional bottoms to entice you to go see the movie. But if filmmakers do not take care in advance to find out which bottoms to push and which bottoms to pull, in the end, their movies will most likely be commercial failures. So how do you know what bottoms are the right ones? Back to marketing. Demographics data --the age, gender, sexual orientation, religious inclinations, political sensibilities, social environment, and other etceteras, is where you are going to look first to find out how the market has received movies similar to your own.

Understanding demographics will tell you that not everyone will want to see your movie, but demographics will tell you what “segment” of the market will. This will provide you with the numbers you will need to base your estimates on. What I have just explained to you, of course, is a grossly oversimplified explanation of marketing theory. But at least you understand what I’m trying to say without going into coma.

Since I understood these basic marketing principles from the outset, instead of making a movie first and then try to sell it to a fickle market, I began by studying the market to find out what kinds of movies they were paying to see, and who was paying to see them. Next, I proceeded to write a screenplay for -a marketable movie. The title of the screenplay: Bad Blood.

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