Tag Archives: audience

Adventures of a First Time Feature Filmmaker

Sagging Pants & Attracting an Audience
ManySaggyPants2 While I’m not a fan of the style of sagging pants I have to admit that after talking with two young men as to why it is such a “thing” they do, I was reminded of the most fundamental concept of economics and marketing. In other words, why some businesses are successful at reaching their audience and others are not? So………..I had just witnessed some kid who without exaggeration had his pants down so low that I questioned if he should be wearing any pants at all. Then I saw a young man from my neighborhood and I asked about the trend; the conversation went a bit like this:

Me: Why do guys wear their pants so low?

Him: I do it because (blah blah blah).

Then his friend chimes in:

Friend: Some do it because it’s the style.

Me: So, that’s why? No other reason?

Friend: Well, if I walk by a group of girls and if I can get a number, then…

Me: So girls like it?

Friend: Not all, but enough.

Me: I guess that makes sense, because if you didn’t get attention you wouldn’t do it.

Friend: Right.

Me: (Feeling like “oh no, this style could go on for years!”) …Okay…

Friend: (As the car is pulling away) But, if a guy wants a girl who’s kinda more upper class like, if she don’t like it, he’ll come back with a suit on.


Which brings me to the question stated earlier – Why are some businesses successful at reaching their audience and others are not? (All things being equal: time, money, talent, etc.).

Drum roll


Because filmmaking is as much of a business as it is an art. Consequently, filmmakers must begin thinking more like entrepreneurs rather than just artists. And it reinforces the necessity of knowing who your audience is, what drives them, what interests them and what they care about.

There are 3 things I took away from this experience and I’d like to share:


  • Read Here...
    This keeps coming up and I am definitely growing in my conviction that this is so important that to miss it is to PUT YOUR FILM AT RISK FOR FAILURE. Because most independent filmmakers can rarely afford to make a film intended for the general public, it’s important to know whom the film is intended for. If you are creating a film without knowing your audience you could be unintentionally creating a film for the wrong audience. For example, if your film is for young women who like men in suits but all your characters are wearing sagging pants YOU WILL FAIL TO REACH YOUR AUDIENCE. There is an audience for all kinds of people and if the filmmaker knows her audience and you give them what they want, you can TAP INTO A FAN BASE that you can engage and grow.

TIP Write down things from your script that targets a specific group.


  • Read Here...
    If by the time your film hits the theaters or streaming (hopefully) and you’ve done nothing to make your audience aware of it. YOU’VE MADE A FILM THAT NO ONE WILL SEE. If your target audience is young women who like guys who wear sagging pants, then you’ve GOT TO RESEARCH on where they live, how they view their entertainment, and most of all, how to reach them and their friends.

TIP   Start talking about your film before you begin to shoot.


Read Here...
The cold hard facts are that even if you have a distribution deal, (and most will not) you still have to do some marketing. Whether its social media, traditional advertising, or word of mouth, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING THAT WILL GET THE PEOPLE IN THE SEATS. (Unless of course Brad Pitt is in your movie, but even then there is no guarantee).

TIP Build awareness and a fan base (before the film is even made).


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Crystal Barnes

What are the 2 most important elements in Filmmaking?

Since its invention the film industry, like other industries, has undergone a number of changes from how films are made to how the films are viewed.  But throughout, what has not changed is a great story that connects with the viewers.

Some people would argue great dialogue makes a great film, but there are a large number of silent films that are timeless. Others would argue that special effects makes a great film, but one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen (Lifeboat by Alfred Hitchcock) had very little, if any, special effects. Another argument could be made that actors make or break a film, but the here again a case can be made for bad movies that have great acting and great movies with bad acting. The arguments could on and on.

In my opinion, the essence of a great film is a great story and the connection it has with its audience.

So why is it that most filmmakers focus on the peripherals of filmmaking like music, or the look of the film, or location rather what has stood the test of time? I don’t know the answer, and I have been guilty of getting too focused on the details and losing sight of the story, as well.

To this end, we should (or maybe just I should) conclude that the 2 elements filmmakers should spend their time and effort on are the story and the audience.  That being said, the script is my number one priority. Targeting the right audience for the script and making sure I get that story to them will be my primary concerns. Because without a great story, no one will care to see the film I created. And without an audience, a great story may never be seen.

GOAL 1: Create and craft a great story!

GOAL 2: Find out who is the target audience for your story. Research how that target audience consumes media. Connect with that Audience.

What I’m learning and doing…

Give people I trust the opportunity to read and comment on the script. This requires me to listen openly to their input and comments. I can feel really protective of the script, so listening with an open mind isn’t as easy as it sounds. Finally, I cannot be afraid to accept or reject any comment, regardless of how strongly the point was felt by the person giving me input. The strength of the argument doesn’t make the story better.

DO re-writes

DO a public reading

DO identify the target audience

Regarding the target audience – connect with the audience in the script stage, research blogs and media outlets where they go and build relationships.

What do you think is the most important part of a movie film? Let me know what you think and feel free to share any positive or constructive ideas you may have. I’m interested in your thoughts!

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