I want to be straight about this post right away. If you didn’t know, Google Analytics Academy is designed to teach you to use Google Analytics to drive traffic and conversions to your website (surprise!).
That’s pretty basic, I know. And most indie filmmakers either never make a website or wait until the movie is ready to distribute. That’s wasted time!
Just think of all the excitement, the interest, the connection and anticipation you could generate if you created some online properties while you were making the film?
You could initiate a crowdfunding campaign and post subscriber or donator clips that offer behind scenes footage, interest pieces, merchandise, and (my personal favorite) audience feedback.
But another great reason to set up a websites is for the analytics!
With a website you can spread the good word about your good work. With analytics you can identify and target the audience that appreciates what you are producing.
You can identify key search terms, demographics, locations, etc… What festival should you attend? If you have a big following in in the US West you could target Telluride, Sundance, or SXSW depending on the content of your film. If you have a following in Europe you might consider heading to Cannes.
Because I want you to use analytics to improve your filmmaking success I want to offer you opportunities to train on and use analytics. Today I want to direct you to Google’s Analytics Academy.
I love Google analytics because its FREE!!! I don’t even care that the know what I’m thinking right now (in fact, they probably planted the idea to start this blog in my head as some master plot towards the Matrix). Their service is so extensive and readably accessible that if you’re not using it then you’re way behind the times.
Google Analytics have multiple products that can all link together on one account for your online property (website): AdWords, Tag Manager, Search Console, AdSense, and AdExchange. There might even be more, but I’m not currently aware of them as I really only use AdWords, Tag Manager, and Search Console.
These products can help you find and target the right audience for your film. You will learn how to tag your website pages and optimize your search keywords so that your audience can find you. And best of all you can learn to optimize your site so that it will sell for you, because if your like me it can be difficult to try to talk someone into the sale when you feel like they would get it if they just got the product in their hands. So let the machine do it for you.
The academy courses are all free. Their absolutely geared towards an e-commerce website, but you should have an e-commerce website. Didn’t you know? Listen, you have a film (or are working on one), right? You plan to have more or know some filmmakers that have other good properties, yeah? So, that makes you (or the group of you) a studio.
It’s 2016. Yes, you can (and should) try to catch the eye of studios through festivals, social video sites (where you show your work for free), and pay-to-own sites, but you don’t need to rely on that alone.
I have this friend, Jason, who started producing one niche film. He targeted a specific audience, raised funds, made a terrible terrible film, and sold it to his eager niche audience. Then he took his piles of cash and made two more really bad films. One of the films he made for the original niche and the other to a new niche. He built a following and capitalized on the crossover tastes of both groups (they both started buying the film made for the other niche audience).
As those groups merged he took his bigger piles of money and made five films. They all are available through his website. He is now a profitable indie studio and he made $1.6 million in 2015. I hate that he’s so successful because I hate his movies!!! But I was inspired by his method that I decided to copy his structure.
But Jason got LUCKY. He didn’t know that he would find a niche. He just found a financier that happened to know that there was a niche. He also wasn’t sure he’d make any money, but because he did he was able to duplicate his success. Now he’s expanding. He’s bringing on five new directors so that they can make 3-5 films each.
If you’re eyeing the math then you should be seeing something like this: $200K for Jason to feed and house his family for now and the next few years incase things all come crashing down. $1.4 million to fund 15-25 films (five directors making 3-5 films each) at an average production cost of about $50,000 with money left over for overages, negotiating leverage, and marketing.
If he knows that he’ll make at least his costs on these films (and history shows that he will) then he can keep on making bad films indefinitely. But what would have happened if there were no niche? He has no big industry connections. He would have made one film and that would have been the end of the story.
The lucky linchpin here was the niche. If you want to remove luck from the equation then use analytics to target your niche and build your following. Three years from now you can be a studio too. I suggest you start with a website and Google’s Analytics Academy. You can do it.
But please, make good movies.
Share your thoughts. Can I answer any questions about how to get started or how to use analytics for your next film?