How to Start an Independent Movie Studio

The large studios like Dreamworks, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures and others dominate the movie making business, but there are lots of smaller studios that make some great films. Launching a new studio is not easy because it requires lots of capital, lots of talented people and some great screenplays.

Unless you come from a family of filmmakers, go to film school and learn everything you can. Learn how all the different disciplines work. Filmmaking is an art and a craft, but it is also a business so a business school education or entertainment law will also be very valuable. B school will teach you how to develop and run a business. Entertainment law will teach you how to make deals, negotiate and work in the legal areas of filmmaking.

Get a job as an intern in script development. You’ll learn how scripts are evaluated and developed and finally become film deals. Work as a Production Assistant (PA) perhaps through the Directors Guild. PAs work on film sets and while the work is not glamorous, it provides invaluable experience about how the production side of the business works.

Attend film festivals and develop a sensibility about the film marketplace. Become a producer and produce an independent film. Work on other peoples’ films. Build credits for your resume. While you freelance, meet everyone you can in the business. Contacts are an important part of this business. Build a Rolodex of everyone you trust.

Write a business plan for your Movie Studio. Ask high executives in the business to tell you what’s wrong with it. Rework it accordingly. When you have a smart business plan, look for investors. While cash is king, do not rule out trades that could be helpful. Seek scripts to develop and hire skilled people. When you have the right script, hire freelancers and produce your studio’s first film.

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