How the Movie Industry is Different from Other Industries

The movie business isn't like other businesses.

And yet there's no other business like it (so the song goes).

If you're in the game solely to make money, even if you're the most profitable factory in town, news flash: you're not going to make a ton of money.

This has to do with the very nature of the movie business itself.

There's two specific qualities that distinguish the movie business from some of the more highly-lucrative enterprises out there, for example real estate or finance:

  1. Each movie, while mass produced, is a unique product.
  2. The movie-making process defies order and demands constant risk-taking.

There you have it.

Other industries operate under a certain degree of certainty.

Yes, stocks fluctuate wildly and real estate valuation is constantly changing.

But overall these industries have a degree of faith and security (two operative words in the economic industries, by the way) that keep people playing for the high-stakes.

Not so with the movie industry.

Every movie, every day, is different.

A movie's foundation is human psychology and taste.

And if that's not variable enough, every product must be different.

With rapid technology advances also shifting popular taste, certainty of success drops further.

So the basic attribute of the movie business is its extreme riskiness.

There's no guarantee, at all, your movie is going to be a hit.

The major movie studios have trade secrets and internal regimentation to mitigate, as much as possible, their chances for risk.

And yet huge movies bomb all the time.

There's no guarantee with movies.

So why get into the movie business?

One should enter only if they LOVE movies; and if they LOVE entertaining people.

You should enter the movie business if you want to live an adventurous life that could afford you the ability to live (and retire) comfortably.

That's really the only reason to enter the movie business.

If you're looking to swoop in, make a ton of money, then swoop out. Don't. Because it's not going to happen. There's simply too much risk involved, too many variables.

Buy a house instead, hold it for ten years, then sell... or something.

Think of the movie business like a roulette table where 99 out of 100 people "lose." But every time you play, win or lose, you magically make the world a better place.

Then, if you keep playing long enough, you win - and sometimes, win big... enough for you to play all over again.

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