Is the craft of a movie its most important quality?
After a decade of chasing this thought down to its bitter end,
I confidently can say without a doubt:
It kind of is, but it kind of isn’t.
Of course, quality is key.
Quality, quality, quality.
But it’s not the only component in the overall creation of a good movie, and surprisingly it’s not the element that's responsible for the success of most movies.
What makes a movie successful
is networking and distribution.
I know, right?
You could create a mediocre film and still be incredibly successful.
As a matter of fact, that’s generally the case.
But you will not be a success (at least not in your lifetime) by focusing all of your energies on creating one masterpiece but ignoring the networking and distribution side of things.
An artist usually avoids networking altogether because they “hate people.”
This same artist may also avoid distributing their film because they believe people won’t “get it,” their audience will exist in the future, or deep down inside they’re just insecure.
I know this from experience. And observation.
These ideas will not serve you in the long run.
Let's change them.
The most important quality to a movie is its virality.
Consider that audiences only buy movies from brands they know, like, and trust.
This includes the distributors too.
A distributor isn’t going to buy your masterpiece if it’s not going to make any money for them.
And they’re definitely not going to distribute your movie if you’re a reclusive weirdo or jerk.
Distribution deals are struck through people that know, like, and trust each other.
So your personality is actually tied to your movie's virality.
Even if you get a representative to strike these deals (which you should), your networking sophistication is the key to everything working out in your favor.
Artistic quality is an abstract idea, divorced from the real world.
Ultimately, movies are for, and about, people.
If you’ve had any doubt in your mind as to why certain movies get made or promoted, and your brilliant film hasn’t – now you know.
It’s because someone knew, liked, and trusted another person to make a marketable movie.
Make that person you.
The quality of the film?
Not as important.
In my opinion, here’s the hierarchy:
#3) Artistic Quality
Focus on building your network of friends and associates.
Focus on distributing your work.
Refine your personality in ways that will attract others.
Work tirelessly to gather people together: whether it's with a monthly film event you run, or a weekly film gathering, with unique access to the underground art world, a YouTube series, an entertaining social media feed, or your ability to make people feel amazing in your presence.
Generously give yourself in service to others,
and you will receive it back 10x.
Go to as many film events as you can - or start one.
Introduce yourself to everybody.
Make lots of friends.
Hang out (or move into) an art district.
Seek out partnerships with local, up-and-coming journalists, artists, entrepreneurs.
Practice your public speaking.
Build a film collective.
Host parties for like-minded people.
Go to film festivals. Go to the after parties.
Build a vivid and positive social media presence.
Reconnect with old friends, even if they're not in the film business.
But do not neglect the artistic quality of your movie: just because it’s not the most important element to your success, doesn't mean it’s not important!
Quality is key.
But it’s not number one.
So keep watching movies, reading about movies, and making movies… every single day.