I don’t talk about this often, but one my greatest assets as a filmmaker is my commercial production company (Creative Rebellion), which was launched over a decade ago.
Through this company, I’ve been able to work with some amazing clients like Google and NBC/Universal, while over time generating millions of dollars in revenue and funding my passion projects.
Looking back, what I’m most proud of is not necessarily the clients I’ve worked with or the money I’ve made… It’s that I’ve been able to run this company with a minimal time commitment and extremely low overhead.
This has allowed me to reap the rewards of owning a production company, while having more time than ever to make movies.
For those looking to take a similar path, today I want to share some important lessons that I learned along the way:
All You Need Is One High Net Worth Client
Most filmmakers looking to build a production company assume they need 100 clients right away. But here’s the thing… Most clients aren’t going to be a good fit for you. 99% of them probably won’t.
It’s better to have one high net worth client who can cover your annual overhead with a single job than 100 clients who don’t pay on time.
Many make the mistake of chasing volume instead of chasing quality, which leads to over-work, lots of stress, and smaller payouts.
People do this assuming that the small projects lead to the bigger ones, but they don’t. You get known for what you do, and if you start off working on small projects, that’s often where you’ll stay.
That doesn’t mean you can’t take them on (I still do the occasional small gig), but you have to know that you’re doing it for a reason other than money.
Picking The Right Niche Is Everything
This is where so many production company owners go wrong. Rather than approaching their company as a business, they look at it as a hobby.
They think about the type of work they want to be doing, instead of the type of work that is most lucrative.
But isn’t the point of having your business to generate as much profit as possible? That’s what allows you to work on all your passion projects.
Finding profitability with your business often requires you to embrace project types/niches that are outside of your comfort zone. Just because you love directing short films and music videos, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to easily make a living by producing them (at least initially).
You’re far better off using your production company to explore more lucrative niches, and then using those profits to fund things like shorts or music videos. Then it’s a win-win.
Paid advertising is not necessary
There are many so-called “experts” online who try to convince filmmakers that they need to spend thousands of dollars in paid ads in order to land clients and make money. That’s just not true.
Personally speaking, I’ve never run a single paid ad for my production company and that hasn’t slowed me down one bit.
Instead, I’ve used strategic relationships, free online content, referral systems, and countless other means to generate interest in my work, and the rest has taken care of itself.
Best of all, no ad spend means higher profit margins and less volatile income.
Keep It Small
Perhaps the #1 reason I’ve found success with my company is that I’ve kept things VERY small. I’ve never worried about it looking like a business on paper.
I don’t want a full time staff or an office. Those things would eat into my profits, and more importantly into my personal time.
The last thing I want is to simply “own a job” and work 60 hours a week for my clients and staff, leaving no time to actually make films. That would defeat the purpose.
On average, I probably spend 5 – 10 hours/week working on my production company. Some weeks I don’t work on it at all…. Yet the little time I do spend generates enough income to give me autonomy over everything else I do.
This was all done by design. It wasn’t always easy, and there have been hiccups along the way, but looking back I’m very happy I’ve taken the path that I did.
6 FIGURE PRODUCTION COMPANY
With all this is in mind, I recently decided to create a brand new course for filmmakers called 6 Figure Production Company.
It offers a step by step blueprint for building a highly lucrative production business without the need for paid advertising or full time staff.
This video course breaks down the exact system that I used to launch and run my production company, land clients like Google, Warner Bros, NBC Universal, and generate 7 figures in revenue while working only part time.
In this course, you learn to:
- Find a production niche that is highly profitable
- Leverage strategic partnerships to build a winning portfolio
- Generate immediate demand from high net worth clients
- Secure great clients without paid advertising
- Land repeat business and generate sustainable income
- Up-sell and cross-sell your services to double your profit margins
- Scale up your income without scaling up your time
- Much more!