3 Dramatic Ideas for the Movie Industry from a Broadway Producer.

Here’s something I never thought I’d say . . . thank God I don’t produce movies.

Why sure, sure, the theater ain’t no producin’ picnic, but . . . well, let me just ask you this . . . when was the last time YOU went to a movie?  Seriously, how many movies did you go to in the last 12 months?  And how many movies did you go to in a 12 month period 10 years ago?

That’s what I thought.

The very thing that makes movies so profitable – only having to “make it” once and then monetize it forever – has made it less rare and therefore, less valuable.  Anyone can make a movie . . . anyone can start a streaming platform . . . and with the high quality of TV technology . . . not to mention the high-quality free TV programs, is it any surprise that people stay home and pop their own popcorn?

This challenge led the NY Times to ask some of the top filmmakers if the movie industry can even survive the next ten years,  You can find their answers here.

Certainly, Hollywood will survive, it will just look a lot different than it does now. The same way the music industry had to reinvent itself fifteen years ago when Napster and Limewire disrupted the world (remember those platforms?).

But the movie industry is going to have to shake it up, not stir it up. . . so I thought I’d offer three ideas on how to bring audiences back to the movies.

  1. Release a film in one theater at a time. 

Do you know why Broadway is so hot right now?  Because when there’s a hit show, you can only get it in one place.  And that scarcity drives up prices.

So, why not try it with a film?  Put it in NYC.  Put it in Chicago.  LA.  And nowhere else.  Make it rare.  Which will make it valuable.

Now, studios, this is going to @#$% with your business model like crazy.  Because you can’t make a $100mm film this way . . . just like we can’t make a $100mm musical (as Spider-Man proved).  The answer is . . . DON’T make $100mm movies.  Slimming your business model will force you to slim your budgets, which have gotten out of control anyway.  And that’s coming from a Broadway producer who makes less when producing a show than most of my vendors!

  1. Give it away for free.

The current Hollywood model is all about trying to get the biggest gross on opening weekend as possible.  How’s that working out for you, folks?  Time to flip it on its head.  Try giving it away on opening or that first weekend to generate so much word of mouth it gets more people talking than any amount of advertising could.  And hey, make the theaters give you a deal for doing it this way . . . because they’re going to sell a @#$% ton more popcorn.

  1. Forget theaters.  Stream it on THIS.

No, I’m not going to say Netflix.  I’m not going to say Hulu.  Or Amazon.

Stream it on your OWN site.  That’s right, give it away, or charge a few bucks, but make people sign on to YOUR website to do it.  Get that data (which is worth bucket loads of $$$).  Get that contact info.  All of which will allow you to market your next film much more easily.

Movies, Broadway, and Book Publishing are similar industries.  Our “products” are all sold through 3rd party providers (Telecharge, Fandango, Amazon, etc.).  When we give our customers to another party, we lose massive amounts of power.

Maybe it’s time we all try to take it back.

The movie industry has already been disrupted . . . and it still hasn’t found its way through yet (except by licensing their IP to Broadway Producers).  And yeah, I’m predicting we’ll see a lot of empty movie theaters in the next ten years.

The good news?

Maybe we’ll be able to turn them into real theaters.

– – – – –

Are you interested in getting rights to a project from the movie studios?  I’ve got reps from all the biggies coming to the SuperConference to give you tips and tricks on how to do just that.  Click here and get your ticket now, before the price goes up on August 31st!

 

Another mission . . . and we’ve chosen to accept it.

I started this blog over 10 years ago to help demystify the producing process, and shine a spotlight on the business of Broadway . . . challenging some norms, accepting others, and attempting to amplify the conversation about the theater.

Because if more people talk about it, more people will want to see it.  And the more people that want to see it, the more people that will want to make it.

And I believe that if there is more theater in the world, the world will be a better place.

At our Davenport Theatrical company retreat a few weeks ago, we talked about doubling down on this message and finding new ways to help make more theater happen.

And like anything and everything we want to accomplish, it all starts with a goal.

So we made one.

And it’s a doozy.  In fact, it’s a BHAG.  But we’re going for it.

Our goal is to help get 5,000 shows produced by the year 2025.

Obviously, that isn’t going to be all of our own shows.  I’m a pretty prolific producer, but anything beyond 2-3 shows a year is too much to handle in my opinion (never mind the competing with yourself aspect).

So we’re going to do more to help you get your shows produced . . . whether that’s at a festival, a community theater, an Off Broadway theater, or yep, here on Broadway.

How will we do that?

Good question . . .

We’ve already started some of our new initiatives, including my new Whiteboard Workshop series that gives you a glimpse into what Broadway Producers actually do, and our brand new Writer’s Groups.

And we’ve got a ton of things planned, including guest blogs from other experts in our biz giving you insight on a subject that I may not have, more “Shut Up and Writes,” networking opportunities, partnerships with other companies like Final Draft, and of course a ton more resources on our PRO site.

I’m a lucky guy to do what I do.  And I remember what it was like to want to do what I do, but not know where to start.

Well, now, you can start here.

It’s not easy.  It can take awhile.

But we’re here to help.  #5000By2025

If you have ideas on how we can help you accomplish your theatrical goals, throw them in the comments below, and we will NOT take them to heart . . . we will take them to TASK.

Tell us how we can help!

 

P.S. Want to learn how to write a musical? Click here for all the tips, tools and training you need.

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