Entertainment about Entertainment can be financially entertaining.

How many of you have seen a Pixar film?  You know, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Cars, Up, and so on.

A lot, right?

I’ve seen just a couple.  I’m no die-hard, but I can get dragged to one and have a good time, even if my date isn’t 10.

I am a big documentary fan, however (especially since I made one), and the other night, at 2 AM, I found myself cruising through what docs were available to “Watch Instantly” on Netflix.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, there was one on the making of Pixar.  Since I’ve got a passion for how entertainment superpowers are born, made and maintained, I decided to watch.

It was damn entertaining.

And when it was over at 3:30 AM, you know what I did?  I started looking for Pixar films to watch instantly.  I wanted to devour them all like a box of jujubes.

I went to bed at 5:27, dreaming of talking cars and cowboy dolls.

If you’ve got a product that already has market interest, another way to boost that interest is to create supporting products that might appeal to either a new demographic, or more importantly, your core demo.  That group is desperate to consume as much information as they can about who you are, what you do, and where you come from.

So once you have a show that has some traction, take some time to supplement that traction with a history book, a mini doc, or something else that might make money on its own . . . and that supports your primary product.

This idea can be especially rewarding for non-profit institutions.  You should have a book on the founding of your theater, what shows you’ve done, photos, etc.  And before you tell me it’s too expensive, I’m not talking a mass-market paperback.  Try self-publishing with a site like Lulu.  And if you want a doc, try a new filmmaker.  They are tons of them hanging out at Starbucks all over the country.

The cool thing about this concept is that it has the potential to hit the marketing trifecta:

  1. Make money on its own.
  2. Increase interest in your core product.
  3. Identify your most passionate customers.

It’s that third one that is for the advanced marketers out there.  Most of us would jump up and down if we sold a book or a doc about our show or theater, right?  Well, the smarties out there wouldn’t jump up and down just yet . . . they’d find out exactly who that person was that bought it, and they’d make sure they used all of their savvy to turn that person into an even bigger ticket buyer — or better . . . a bigger donor.

Gotta run.  I’m going to see Cars 2 today.

Which I never would have seen if it wasn’t for that damn doc.


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  • Amyleigh1982 says:

    Ah, Pixar – One of the few companies where the employees LOVE to go to work. When you love what you do it changes the product of whatever you’re creating. A dream scenario — where the people don’t think “I HAVE to go to work,” they think “Wow! I GET to go to work!”

  • Jake says:

    Have you seen Every Little Step? A documentary that was arguably more enjoyable than the documented Chorus Line revival. The material fit perfectly (a documentary about auditioning for a musical about auditioning for a musical) and it was one of my favorite films of that year.
    See it if you haven’t yet.

  • Hillary says:

    I read this blog like it was a diary entry! This exact scenario just happened to me: searching for docs, found Pixar, saw Cars 2…(meh)
    Love seeing the financials for the shows- FASCINATING and educational. Are their any numbers that surprise you? Or any that look deceiving? Their gross looks impressive but their net is not so impressive?

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