Two things in life are guaranteed: death and taxes.
Whoa there! No need to get all dark about this. Taxes aren’t that scary. Neither is setting up an LLC. Don’t get too intimidated by all this!
Here are the three steps you'll need to take to legitimately get your movie off the ground:
The biggest antagonist to writing quickly will be self-doubt.
Follow our first two steps of advice on choosing the right genre and testing ideas to KNOW that you’re writing something people want to see.
There’s all kind of advice out there on writing quickly and most of it boils down to this: GET THE FIRST DRAFT DONE FAST.
The step before that is outlining. Go through and use whatever method works best for you-- I use notecards with roughly the amount of scenes I need to plan out all the ups and down the characters will face.
Having a writing partner in this stage can drastically speed things up. Take an afternoon you both have free and commit to finishing that outline in one sitting.
Two brains will be better than one and you’ll keep each other accountable for finishing.
So you know what genre you want to make your film for. You’ve studied the market and have balanced passion with realism. Good.
Time to start writing, right?
Slow down there. The horror stories are countless— and I’m not talking high ROI horror films— I’m talking about how many filmmakers run with an idea without testing it.
To be honest. We did it a few times before we learned our lesson. Learn from our mistakes. That’s what we’re here for.
What do I mean by testing?
One of the first key decisions a producer has to make is the genre of the film. This will guide most decisions through production. Each genre is different and there are some other factors to consider.
There are plenty of articles about the best genres for Return on Investment (the difference between the budget and the box office returns); however, I wanted to find out what other factors can push high Return on Investment (ROI).
Six factors with established audience appeal have been identified through my research of 2016’s theatrical releases. These categories cross over in many ways, but they distinctly have the ability to draw an audience.
1. Source Material Based
A script with well-known source material has a built in audience. These films generally do very well regardless of execution. That is because there are thousands (if not millions) of fans ready to line up and pay for a ticket the moment the movie is announced.
This source material ranges from comic books and novels to video games and board games. The latter of those two generally don’t make “good” movies, but they do make money.
2. Name Talent (Stars) Attached
Another clear draw for audiences are familiar stars. Either actors or directors that are well known will almost certainly lift ticket sales. This isn’t a guaranteed, so it had better be a good movie… or at least decent.
Attaching big stars comes with the obvious drawback of inflating the budget and is likely an unattainable goal for most relatively new producers.
Getting familiar faces on screen is something to think about though when trying to convince an audience your film is worth paying for.
3. Thoroughly Scare-Filled Horrors
These next four factors are genres that are derived from the study I referenced earlier in the post. They all seem to stand on their own without source material or attached stars.