How We Select Feature Films To Produce

Sep 02, 2022

Read time: 3 mins | YT Video

In today's issue, I'm going to show you how we select projects - so that you can do the same.

When you're starting out it's easy to jump at any project that comes your way. Sometimes, it even works out. But there is only so much the gut can take. Better decisions lead to better outcomes. That's what this issue is all about. Now, let's dive in.

Start small

The only way to succeed as a filmmaker is to be making films. Sounds obvious. But it's very easy to fall into the trap of developing too many projects that never go ahead. The best way around this is to apply three simple criteria to a project:

  1. Story: Are you passionate about telling the story? Asked another way: do YOU believe this film must exist?

  2. Producing partner: Are you working with someone you trust and respect? If you can't imagine working with someone for a decade, don't work with them for a day.

  3. Ease of finance: is there a clear and obvious way to finance the film?

If the answer to all these questions is YES, you should immediately focus on this project. Drop everything else and move this film into production...like now. This decision making process lead to me producing 8 films and helping another 12 raise finance in 7 years.  A film on the screen is better than a script in your top drawer.

Expand your criteria

After you make 1, 2 or even 3 films, it's likely time to create a more robust selection criteria.

This will help maximise the creative and commercial potential of the film. And the best way to create a framework is using a Project Assessment Tool. If you've never heard of this, don't worry, I produced 8 films before I did.

To create this tool, first do a brain dump of all the different selection criteria that might be relevant. Then refine those down into the 10-12 most important. From there, weight each of those criteria out of 10. (for a more detailed explanation, see my Youtube video).

Here are the 11 selection criteria we have adopted and their weight:

1. Positive Impact - 8
2. Characters - 6
3. Ease of Financing - 10
4. Financial Return - 10
5. Investor Friendly/Recoupment - 7
6. Ownership of IP - 7
7. International Buy-in - 8
8. Story - 10
9. Collaborations - 6
10. Development Timeframe - 7
11. Authenticity - 9
When we assess a project, we are looking for those that score highest before we hit go.

Refine your criteria

Your career today looks very different to your career in 10, or even 5 years.

So the criteria you choose should reflect your current objectives, not future hopes.

Moving quality films (story) into production (ease of financing) and generating sustainable income (financial return) is our current objective.

As we grow these might, and likely will, change. As will the weight assigned to each criteria. But for now, the aim is to stay in the game and keep making films. Well, that’s it for today.

I hope you enjoyed it.

See you again next week.

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. Develop your filmmaking skills [FREE] here (770+ subscribers).

2. Join our Producing Accelerator program to produce your debut film (2 spots left this month).

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