In the art world, I understand business is a bad word. I don’t believe this is without cause. There is more to life than making money. If I wanted to make money, I would have become a dentist. But since I believe there is more to life than money, I’m in the arts.
At the same time I don’t have a problem with what is normally termed “business skills”; they are nothing more than a way of breaking down and organizing a problem to get something done. In that case that is what art is all about. Even a basic understanding of business can be very helpful.
The four P’s of business are:
Place (AKA distribution)
To put that in terms we use in film, the product is the movie (such as Spiderman 2) The price is the $10 ticket. The place is Cinemark theaters. The promotion is the trailer and a multimillion dollar cross platform advertising budget. The biggest mistake people make in any business is not giving any thought to distribution and promotion. When you start a project, film or otherwise, you should always have in mind how this film is going to be distributed and how it is going to be marketed. We are going to be able to market this film because we have Kristen Bell and that guy from The Office in it. (Coincidentally, name-brand Hollywood actors are less expensive than you think.)
These four P’s can be applied to viral YouTube videos. The product is a one minute video of a chicken dancing to Pharell’s “Happy.” The price is watching five seconds of an advertisement, the distribution is YouTube. The promotion is an email campaign to people who blog about dancing and urban chicken farming.
Whenever you start a new project think through the four P’s. What is my product? What is the price? What is the place? How am I going to promote it? Is this film going to be shown on HBO, CBS, YouTube, Art House theaters, Cinemark etc. ?
In future emails I’m going to write about accounting and other aspects of business that are valuable no matter what you are doing in the arts.
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