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thereallorddane114 karma

-Make a movie that audiences will want, rather than a movie that you would want. Put the audience in the passenger seat, rather than the trunk.

ie: Don't be the starving artist.

To anyone wanting to get into ANY kind of entertainment (music, art, film, animation, etc) you need to remember that YOU are not right. Your audience is. You can't go in with a "I'll make it and my audience will find me" attitude. You have to ask yourself how the people will take this and will it turn a profit. There is NO SHAME in making money off of your work. It is not shameful to put food on your table.

When I mull over ideas for movies/shows/whatever I get my core concept and then ask a general "what audience is this best suited to" question. Then, you make sure your work is going to be fun for them to take part in. You can still have ideas and want to push boundries, but you can't try breaking them all at once because the public won't like it. You nudge them and over the course of a career you can change the course of a generation. Look at Don Bluth. His movies were great, Secret of NIMH, All Dogs Go to Heaven, amazing films. They pushed some boundaries, but they still were entertaining to children. At the heart of it all was his philosophy that is starting to be adopted by film makers today "you can show children anything so long as it has a happy ending". He was right, some of these modern children's movies are kinda messed up but have a happy ending.

Treat the public like a tree. It can't immediately take the root and shape you desire. It takes time to cultivate that relationship and grow it. Nurture it with what it WANTS and sneak in a little of what it NEEDS and it will shape up just fine.

thereallorddane45 karma

I see as more of crowdfunding be a double edged sword. You have to essentially oversell your product to get it just noticed then you end up burying yourself so deep in promises that you can't possibly deliver what the people thing you're making and a perfectly decent film gets panned by a pissed off public who's expecting Cassablanca level material and getting King Kong (even though that's what you were doing in the first place).

Unless you have the capacity to over deliver on a crowdfunded project, then it's probably not worth the risk to your future.

thereallorddane22 karma

This is where my education splits from his. In nonprofits, we operate by "its better to have 1000 people donating 1$ each than it is to have 1 person donating $1,000." The volume of donors is its own prestige and it feeds upon itself, like reddit. You post OC and ant the first hundred or so upvotes have little impact, but once you break a certain threshold it becomes more visible and more people join in. In nonprofit we do the same. A hundred people donating a few bucks won't do much, but once we hit a certain number the local news gets involved and all of a sudden the 500 donors turns into 5,000. From there you work on communicating with them and try to retain as many as possible.

You can do this with film, but it's a really hard thing to pull off because of the time scales involved. The only notable exception is South Park. They produce an entire episode in one week in the seven days before air date. Check out the documentary on it, its insane. So in theory, Mat and Trey could go private, hit up patreon, and keep their production schedule the same and they could possibly have higher income than what they make now. POSSIBLY. It would greatly depend on who they hire to do marketing/community engagement online to keep people investing/donating.

thereallorddane8 karma

That's a good question, a valid one. You would be surprised at how similar non profits are to corporations these days. To clarify you'll need a bit of historical context.

In the 1800's and early 1900's the way charitable orgs operated was that EVERY penny had to be used. If you had coin, then you use it. Anything left over made you look greedy. This style worked back then because nonprofits were more community oriented. Why? Because we had more IRL community back then. Remember in this time people still walked everywhere, cars were for the rich/upper-middle class, and with no telecom other than basic phones and telegrams people had to go out all the time for entertainment and socialization. So nonprofits could survive easily with good old fashioned door knocking and face-to-face talking. ALSO, companies and wealthy people had a HUGE interest in giving to charity.

See, around this time a guy by the name of Andrew Carnegie made a bit of a name for himself. He started as a super impoverished employee and eventually became one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the US. He knew the importance of education and saw the dangers of letting the old money families keep accumulating wealth. So he worked behind the scenes to push congress to enact an income tax that was cripplingly harsh to the wealthy. His philosophy was this: if you're wealthy and can't give back to the community that made this possible, then uncle sam is going to wring it out of you. In short, if you're rich and give to charity, we leave you alone. If you're stingy, prepare to bleed cash.

It was a HUGE success. It created a change in how the wealthy and old money functioned in society. Carnegie and his colleagues had giving "wars" to see who could give the most. Carnegie left very little to his family and donated the majority of it before his death then what was left over was used to creat one of the oldest nonprofits in the US, The Carnegie Foundation. He created so MANY libraries and filled them with so MANY books. They still do that today.

So the stage is set, lets look at where it went wrong...

Cue the 70's and 80's. The baby boomers are starting to come of age. This new generation doesn't trust "the man" so they play by their own rules. Business changes. It gets more aggressive. It changes from "lets make a good product and make money by making sure customers are happy" to "lets make money and since you and I are the ones at the top, we'll do it as cheaply as possible so you and I can be rich!". Communications changes, social mechanisms change, and people start losing interest in community charity. Why bother? The family next door is a bunch of yuppies and you voted for Nixon! Partisan politics start fracturing the sense of unity we used to have because why should we work together when we can say "you don't believe what I believe, you're an enemy! A traitor!"

The ultra wealthy are still donating, but it's getting harder to attract them because this new generation is wanting things that we didn't do much of before. They want more over forms of prestige. So what if you cure cancer, am I getting credit for it in the building I just paid for? The nouveau riche don't care about their community, they want "power" (not real power, just the trappings of it because they don't know what real power is). So this year I donate 10 million to a hospital for a new wing...ok, well my name is already on that and I don't get anything from buying new equipment for them or starting a foundation to pay for impoverished children's treatment so I'm going to go to this museum and pay for their new dinosaur exhibit! That way everyone knows me!

Companies donate because they fucked up and big time (like BP) so they donate millions in a 1-off thing to the towns and cities affected. Yay, Lake Charles Louisiana has a new performance hall for their symphony...a shame the fisherman who bring in millions of dollars to the local economy are still out of work, but who cares, that's not sexy.

Then I'm in trouble. No more donations. Now the markets are crashing in larger and larger cycles of bust and boom.

Good nonprofits are no longer able to stay floating off of just donations, they have to find a new way to survive or else they will no longer be able to do their work. Enter in the businessmen.

Its honestly not a terrible idea, it isn't. Imagine you work for a company where the boss only ever tells you to sell more. It's not about customer satisfaction, its about money! It gets a little disheartening because you're making HIM a load of money and you take home a pittance.

Now imagine you're somewhere else. The boss says "I need you to get the best sales possible, we need these people to like us and come back. Your boss is paid well, but instead of aaaaaaaaaaalllllll that money going into his pocket and the investors who did nothing to earn it, those revenues are reinvested into your office to improve capacity and into your community to benefit the people around you who in turn are enriched in some manner that helps them be more successful in life which in turn comes back to mean more sales/donations to your organization.

If I ran a city symphony. I'm not just collecting donations and selling tickets. I'm partnering with schools to provide private music lessons to kids in music programs. I'm trying to get movie/film/TV companies to hire us to make sound tracks. I'm sending ensembles to hospitals to play for patients as part of music therapy (that's a real thing). I get long time patrons to donate us land so we can build a new facility and sell the old one to make money AND update the look of the organization. I am getting a trust fund going so that when donations dry up the trust can pick up the slack and we're not firing people. I'm partnering with local businesses and other nonprofits to collaborate on big events to get more people to notice us and donate/attend. I'm talking to the board about setting up a subsidiary for profit LLC that sells instruments and music (the profits of those sales don't go to share holders, they go to the organization to fund new projects.

There is one core, unbreakable difference between a non profit and a for profit.

  • A for profit company exists solely to make money (the means and methods are up to the owner)
  • a non profit exists solely to invest its profits into the community it is designed to serve.

thereallorddane6 karma

That is refreshingly honest.