Today’s discussions began with the question of why is it important to identify your audience before you finish your film. I believe there are a number of reasons, but the main ones are:
1. Takes a long time to develop your audience.
2. You can engage your audience to participate in the film process itself.
3. The audience engagement/marketing becomes a more integral part of the film.
It can even take you a while to figure out who your core and niche audiences are.
A number of comments brought up the essential issue of art vs. commerce – if you start marketing to your audience so early in the process, then you have the risk of solely catering to your audience which is contradictory to the creation of art.
I can hear Ted Hope protesting now! Ted especially has vocal in denouncing the old art v commerce divide.
Some of the best art is created without a mind to the marketplace. I get that. Chasing the market often leads to creating banal work. But that thinking is too simplistic now for the supple nature of the market in which many tastes and interests can be served.
Filmmakers have to get beyond that old art v. commerce divide and understand this:
Marketing is what helps you find the audience that already exists for your creation. You don’t need to limit your creativity in order to create a marketing strategy. You need to consider who is interested in your specific creativity. This is your niche (or niches). Your core are the most ardent followers within these niches.
So when asked does the writer, director or producer need to consider the marketplace, I would say most definately the director and producer and in many circumstances – it isn’t terrible for writer’s to think about it as well.
Not to think of how you can write the next “Transformers”, but to think creatively about writing material that mind create new opportunities and new models for discovery in today’s fractured marketplace.
This blog is the first in a series that expand on discussion threads on twitter @Jon_Reiss