Helping you tell better stories

Helping you tell better stories;

closer to your vision than you ever dreamt possible.


List of Marketing Posts 2010 to 2014

This picture is ironic. Keep reading.

I've several new posts coming up in the new year (maybe sooner) which specifically discuss the field of Pre-Greenlight Marketing (PGM) so I thought I'd round-up all my marketing related posts to date.

Bear With Me

  Who is your customer? Who is it really?

Seth Godin on why marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department

  The most important marketing seminar you will ever see.


  Consistency of message, whatever the medium.

Similar but Different

  Arguably the most important concept in script development.

Is Your Film "Remarketable”?

  Advertising is no longer reliable. Why are people going to talk about your film?

Legwork 10 Step Checklist

  My company's proprietary checklist before we'll greenlight.

There is no more room in the middle

  In a saturated market you have to be at the edges to stand out.

Legwork Films

  Introduction to my PGM consulting company.

Film Policy Review… thoughts

  Why a 58% customer expectation of "being entertained" isn't good enough.

Enjoy, and I'll be back to talk about PGM soon.



DIY Script Doctor

This may sound silly at first, but it's just a little shift in perception that could make all the difference to your work, make you a better writer, and shave years off your time spent breaking into the biz.

If you've been writing fairly consistently for several years, reading scripts and blogs and how-to books, learning dramaturgy and honing your craft, then it's probably safe to say that you're a far more knowledgeable and experienced writer than when you started out.

Wow what would that younger self give to have the knowledge of wordsmithing and the industry that you have now? What if there was some way you could time travel and brush up those early scripts?

Well there is. Just dig them out of the drawer.

There's presumably something in the concept that drew you to those themes, to that subject matter.

Maybe it's worth having a fresh look from the POV of the older, wiser, more experienced (more jaded) person you've become. It might seem like an extremely time-consuming endeavour, but in comparison to the several extremely expensive days a script consultant might spend poring over your story and word-choices, maybe it doesn't seem such an outrageous endeavour after all.

Wait, but why is a script consultant telling you this? Because making money isn't my primary goal. I'm far more interested in simply helping my clients and readers get to where you want to go.

When I achieve that I'm happy, you're happy, and my marketing becomes word-of-mouth, which is much better, way cheaper, and far less time-consuming.



Hardwired for Story

Emmy-nominated screenwriter Sarah-Jane Murray helps us to think about why insanely great storytelling matters and why it’s the key to our future.


Fix the Problem Before It's the Client's Problem

A producer friend of mine is a former engineer. The quote "Fix the problem before it's the client's problem" came up in a discussion about a script she has in development.

I'd given her some straight-talking script feedback (she's an Aussie, that's how she likes it) but I warned her not to pass the feedback on to the writer in that form.

She responded by saying that both her and her writer very clearly understand that "criticism is about the project, not the person". Her engineering background taught her to simply strip away ego even when discussing personal creative expression. She's focused on the client, not protecting herself.

Hear, hear. I wish there were more producers (and writers) like that. It truly is the mark of a pro.



Bear With Me

If you're a toy manufacturer, kids are your consumers, and parents are your customers. You agree that you need to sell your toy to both groups, right?

A kid might want all loud and destructive and expensive toys, while parents might want quiet, less expensive and more educational toys. Unless there's an unhealthy power imbalance, they'll probably come to a compromise.

Well the same can be said of the film industry: audiences are your consumers, and international distributors are your customers. You need to sell your film to both but — here's the problem, you guessed it — they're each looking for different things.

Audiences are looking for something that's interesting and novel and remarkable and niche. Distributors for the most part are looking for mass-market, meat-and-potatoes, broad appeal to the masses kind of stuff. This disparity is the reason we have the current independent film industry we do. 

So how do you sell your film to both groups? There has to be a lot of crossover, or else either group could reject you. Anyone with experience of film sales will agree that many good films fail to find a distributor in every territory, and mediocre films seriously struggle in the marketplace. If you don't sell to German, Japanese or US distributors, then it's unlikely that 'pester power' will see audiences there changing their distributors’ minds.

Films are too expensive for anyone to make this mistake very often — and competition is growing rapaciously.*  What solutions exist to make your films competitive again? What can make it attractive to distributors and audiences? What tools are you employing to test your market or identify your niche?

These are questions I ask myself daily. Is someone on your team responsible for asking them?


* Here’s British producer and statistician Stephen Follows with some sobering recent data.