Start with nothing and make a feature film in 12 months

By Bradley Stevens | Film Producing

Aug 20

If I told you that you could start with absolutely nothing and make a feature film in the next 12 months, would you do it? 

What if I told you that you don't even need a single dollar to start? 

Look at today's date. Add a year. 

Write it down. 

At this time your film will be available for purchase to your friends, family... and to people you haven't met and won't ever meet. 

Today I'm going to show you a detailed month-by-month plan to take you from no money and no idea to completing a feature film in a year. 

More...

For many people, this great opportunity actually fills them with dread:

"What if it's not good, and I just waste my time?"

I'm reminded of this perfect piece of encouragement:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Earl Nightingale

That date I told you to write down (but I know you probably didn't) - that date is going to come in 12 months, whether you like it or not. 

That time will pass... whether you make a film or not.

So you can arrive at that date and think: "Wow! I'm proud of myself! In the last 12 months I actually made a feature film!" 

Or would you rather turn another year older and still be left longing for the opportunity that may never come?

Opportunities aren't found; they are made.

May I encourage you to make it happen for yourself. Filmmaking is a gradual process. You can conquer each problem as it comes. Give yourself the opportunity, and you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with, and the quality you are capable of producing.

The Ultimate 12-Month Feature Film Plan

​This 12 Month Plan is here to help you make the opportunity for yourself, and get you past the hurdles. The plan is broken down into monthly goals. You're going to need to plot each month's goals into a calendar or diary.

I've made it easier for you with a printable checklist that takes the goals for each month and places them on a time-line of 52 weeks. Simply check off each week's task as you do it.

You can download the 52-week checklist below.

Only focus on one week or one month at a time.

Why? Because the outcomes of each month will indicate higher or lower priorities for the following month. Your schedule will need to adapt.

Creighton Adams said:​

"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

So to kick off, you can get a hold of the 52 'bitesized' goals, the checklist right here:

Get the free 12-Month Feature Film Checklist!

52 weekly tasks to reach your goal!

This printable PDF checklist will keep you on track with:

  • 52 week-by-week tasks that you can tick off
  • Monthly overviews as suggested on this page
  • All 3 eBooks of recommended-reading included

Alright! Now let's get into it...

MONTH 1: 
Rally The Troops

$0 in the bank.

You can't go this alone. Filmmaking is a naturally collaborative effort. So your first goal will be to find the key team of people who would also like to look back in a year and say "We made a film!"

1.1 - Find Your Filmmakers

You need 3 core people- and one of these will be you (we'll assume you're the producer):

  1. Producer
  2. Writer
  3. Director

How do you find these people? Ask around. The most important quality you are looking for is commitment.

An extremely talented Director who isn't interested in making a film in 12 months is not what you want. What would be better is a less experienced director with ambition who is willing to join you on this journey.

This is a moment of loyalty. Your team of 3 need to commit. Just decide that it's going to happen, and agree that you have nothing to lose.

Then high-five each other.

Because in a year's time, you will have produced a film. Your Director will have directed a feature, and your screenwriter will have published a screenplay.

That's a serious achievement.

1.2 - Put your money where your mouth is.

Now, you need to start saving $100 a week. Each. Pick up an extra shift at the coffee shop, or spend a little less on... whatever you buy lots of.

Doing this will mean the core trio are putting aside $300 per week for the project. You're not spending any of it yet, not for a while, so even if this whole idea falls apart and your film never gets made-- at least you've got the savings for a new bicycle... or something...

Saving $100 each per week is going to give you $15,000 for the whole year. If you can't save that much, multiply whatever you can save per week by 150. Provided your core team saves the same amount each, that'll be the minimum budget for your entire film.​

By the end of month 1, you'll have $1200 between you. Strong start!

1.3 - Learn 'Resource-Filmmaking'

Considering you aren't exactly starting this project with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to burn, you're going to need to work cheap and effectively.

This means your screenwriter must write a script you can afford, which means you absolutely need to learn resource-filmmaking. You simply cannot get through this year-long project without learning this screenwriting strategy.

I've written a guide on how resource filmmaking works. It's called the Micro Budget Screenwriting Method. Download it and read it this week. All 3 of you: director, producer and screenwriter. It's only 12 pages long, and you all need to be on the same page.

Yes, it's necessary. You'll understand why once you've read it. Download it here: 

Whatever you do: don't start writing your film yet. You simply can't afford to. You need to start with production design first, as the above guide says. A few changes to the approach you take and you can be 100% sure you'll afford to this film.

That's all you have to do for month 1! How easy is that?​

Month 1: Rally the Troops

  • Find your core team of 3: Producer, Writer, Director
  • Start saving $100 each per week
  • Download and read the Screenwriting Method eBook

MONTH 2: 
Pool Your Resources

$1200 in the bank.

2.1 - Collate Your Resources

​By now, you've read the resource filmmaking guide so you're clued in to how to make this film affordably. This month, focus your attention on steps 3 to 5 from the eBook.

Your core team of 3 need to be finding all available locations and production design elements. Everywhere you could possibly shoot, anywhere you can get easily. Your friend's houses, your uncle's pizza shop... list every possibility.

Do the same with Production Design elements: costumes, props. List it and photograph it.

2.2 - Choose your theme, genre & title

It's about now that you ought to think of what kind of film you'd like to make. What's it roughly going to be about? What concepts do you want to explore? What Genre?

This is a year long process, so make sure it's something you actually want to do. You also need to come up with a working title for your film.

I know, I know - you haven't even decided your plot. But once you've decided the type of film you want to make, and what concepts you'd like to explore, then I'm sure you can come up with a temporary title.

​2.3 - Find Your Actors

"Wait-- I haven't written the film yet! I can't cast the roles if I haven't written the film!"

Yes you can. In fact, you should be finding your actors first.

Put out casting calls, ask around, contact local actings schools and ask them to pass your casting call to recent graduates. Explain that your script isn't done yet and ask actors to prepare a monologue of their own choosing.

Run your auditions, and find the actors that seem talented and ambitious... but not too experienced.

Why? You have no money!

Either you'll be paying them a pittance, or not paying them at all. So there sure as hell better be something else they have to gain from it! You want actors that need the experience your film offers.

And for the love of god, do NOT tell them they are working for 'exposure'. That word is banned from your film set. Be upfront and honest about what you plan to do, and find actors who are willing to come along for the ride.

Month 2: Pool Your Resources

  • List all resources you have available
  • Choose core concept, genre & choose a working title.
  • Audition and Cast Key Actors

MONTH 3: 
Build Your Story

$3600 in the bank.

You are all still saving that $100 per week, right? Good.

3.1 - Declare Your Intentions.

This is the part that so many filmmakers get wrong. You need to begin some marketing efforts this month, before you've made your film.

It's a small time investment now, but it will pay it's dividends later. ​

​Create a Facebook Page, announce through your various forms of social media that you are doing this film. Yes, you can change it later. Right now, it's just about showing that you are serious.

Post some photos & short bios of yourself and the core team who are going to make this film, including the cast members you've recruited.

Share it around and try to get a small audience of people who 'like' the page and will read & share your updates. This is more important than it sounds.

3.2 - Develop Your Screenplay

Crazy isn't it? You're declaring you're going to make a film, you've started a social media page for it, and it's only now in month 3 that you actually start writing it.

If you've followed the resource filmmaking steps for month 1 and 2, you should now have:

  • Actors that want to be a part of the project
  • Locations that are available for you to use & work with
  • Production Design elements that you've got access to

Now you need to decide how those pieces of the puzzle go together.

Ask yourself:

"What's the best film I can make from just these resources?"

What's the most interesting or unique​ story that could take place with those actors, in those places with those props/ design elements?

It'll be a mega brainstorming session, and don't be afraid to get your actors to chip in with ideas or improvise potential scenes.

Getting your actors to play a part in developing the screenplay has great value, not only in broadening your creative perspective, but also in keeping the actors invested.

The more an actor gets to 'have a say', the more they'll feel that they're a key member of the creative team rather that just a living prop.

3.3 - Define Your Major Plot Points

​It's perfectly ok if you haven't completed the screenplay at the end of Month 3, but you should have a good idea of the 5-key plot points that will drive your story.

They are:

  1. Inciting Incident
  2. First act turning point
  3. Midpoint (Ordeal)
  4. Second act turning Point
  5. Climax

And if you don't believe in the 5 plot point/ 3 act structure, then that's fine: just make sure you define the big shifts in your story's direction.

What's important is that by the end of this month, you roughly know what your film story is going to be, from start to finish-- and it absolutely must be designed to suit your resources.

Month 3: Build Your Story

  • Start a facebook page/ social media marketing
  • Develop your Screenplay Idea
  • Define the 5 key plot-points that make up your film

MONTH 4: 
Prove Your Concept

$4800 in the bank

This month, whilst still working on the screenplay, you need to get all the correct material to prove your concept. This means you need to show that this isn't just a whimsical idea, it's something that absolutely is happening.

You need to show the potential. I know it's a crazy concept, when you haven't even finished the screenplay. But here's the elements you need for your project:

4.1 - Make a Poster

You've already got your cast. You've got your locations. You've got a rough outline of your characters and the story.

Now your film needs a poster.

Yes. You need a poster before you've made your film.

Don't stress. It won't necessarily be the poster you keep forever, but you need some kind of stunning image to grab people's attention and communicate the core elements of your film.

Think of it like a brand. Coca cola is just a sweet black soda. It's the imagery associated with it that makes us perceive it differently.

Your film is going to be 90 minutes of people acting. It's the imagery & branding that make your film a valued experience people want to support and watch.

4.2 - Find your Heads Of Departments

This month, you need to find 3 more major crew members. These people are creatives, but will serve your vision. You're going to need a:

  • Cinematographer
  • Production Designer
  • Sound Designer.

Go searching, knocking, asking. Same as with your actors, you're seeking people who have some training but have little experience and would appreciate the opportunity to practice their craft.

It'll also be a whole lot easier to get these people interested if you've got a functioning social media page that shows what you're up to.

Immediately after you've got these crew members, you're going to...

​4.3 - Shoot a Short 'Test' Scene

​Is there a scene from the working screenplay that feels right? A moment that comes alive on the page?

No doubt you've got at least one or two key moments defined. You're going to shoot one of them, with your Heads of Departments. You don't need a huge crew yet, you are only shooting one scene.

No, you don't need to spend money on this, you don't need great cameras, and equipment-- just whatever you've got access to.

What's the point of this? Firstly, it's to practice with whatever crew you can get a hold of and see how they work together.

If your untrained brother is offering to hold a reflector on set, it's a wise idea that you figure out how bad he is at doing it before you shoot the whole film.

You've got 3 goals:

  1. See what your actors are like in front of your camera, and how their energy works (it's great to do this before the script is finished, so you can rewrite to suit the discoveries)
  2. See how quickly you can shoot a scene. This is going to help you set a pace for the real shoot.
  3. Use this scene as a 'proof of concept' example scene for financing in the next month.​

Oh and one more thing... shoot behind the scenes footage! The strange thing about marketing a film before you've made it is: you need to make it look like it's already happening when it hasn't yet.

4.4 - Finish a First Draft of your Script

Self explanatory. This month, aim to turn the 5 plot points from last month into a 90 page screenplay that is at least readable. Rough is fine. It will not be even remotely close to perfect.

The sooner you get you accept that your first draft will suck, the sooner you get it done so you've got something to improve upon.

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Month 4: Prove Your Concept

  • Make a poster
  • Find a Cinematographer, Production Designer and Sound Designer.
  • Shoot a 1-Day Test Scene, and edit it together.
  • Finish First Draft of Screenplay

money tree

MONTH 5: 
Money Matters

$6000 in the bank

This month, we start to talk about money. Since you're using Resource-Filmmaking Methods, you've already got a film that you can afford. Mostly

If you've still been putting aside $100 per week then you'll have over $8.5k when the shoot rolls around. Keep it up for the whole year and you'll have nearly $15k for the entire project.

Yes, feature films can made for this much. It's not easy, but it's also not impossible.

What if you want more money to make the film? Or what if you weren't able to save $100 per week consistently? If either of these are the case, then now is the time you need to get more money:

5.1 - Schedule & Budget

By the end of this month, you should have decided what your budget is. Are you happy to roll cameras with only $8.5k? Or do you need more? That decision needs to be made this month.

In order to do that, you'll need to roughly schedule​ your film

Take your time to find the fastest and most practical way to shoot your film. Don't shoot it chronologically. Group your scenes together in this order:

  1. Group by Location
  2. By External/ Internal
  3. Day/ Night
  4. Required​ Cast

You'll be giving yourself 3 weeks to shoot - less if money is tight, more if it isn't.

If you can afford to pay your cast and crew enough for them to take time away from other jobs, shoot whole weeks at a time. If you can't, then ask for their availability outside their regular jobs, and schedule half days where you can. That'll bring your costs down a bit, without preventing your crew from affording their bills.

Your shoot might be spread out and take longer overall, but at least everyone isn't severely out of pocket.

Your cinematographer will help you figure out how many days (or half days) it'll take.

Calculate the cost of everything for that duration of time: wages (if you're paying them), the cost of any equipment hire, and food. No pizza.

5.2 - If you want to Crowdfund, do it now.

Crowdfunding is a whole month-long process. It takes everyone's involvement: the core crew and the cast...​

Good thing you've already picked your cast and crew, isn't it?

It relies on social media marketing...

Good thing you've built a facebook page, isn't it?

It's far more successful if you have a strong proof of concept... 

Good thing you made a poster & shot a sample scene!

In a crowdfunding campaign, you absolutely need to make a video, about 2 minutes long, pitching the idea behind the film. And it will really help to use some footage of the team working together... hence your Behind The Scenes footage.

Crowdfunding is exhausting. Good luck with it.

But keep in mind it is not the only way to get money! Here is another way...

5.3 - Consider Film Sponsorship

I bet you are thinking "No way - Sponsorship would never happen!". Not with that attitude it won't!

The idea of small businesses contributing to your film is a very real possibility if you're smart about it. I mean really smart about it.

Think about it: large sums of money happily donated by complete strangers. What's the catch?​ Well... You have to entice them.

To help you wrap your head around how to design a film that sponsors will want to support, I've written another guide called 'How to get money to make your film: the overlooked method'. You can download it below:

I urge you: before you dismiss the idea of sponsorship, read the ebook above (it's free). If it's not for you, then that's fine... but you might find it'll change your thinking.

Too many filmmakers think that Crowdfunding is their only option, and that Sponsorship is only for 'big films'. The bottom line is this:

Yes, your film can attract sponsorship... if you design it to!

If you're going to pursue sponsorship- it's a really smart idea to have the facebook page full of images, behind the scenes videos, posters, cast photos, etc., all for social proof. Anything that makes your film look it's happening... whether sponsors support it or not!

5.4 - Finish your Second Draft...

You haven't given up on your script, have you? This entire month you should still be tweaking and refining your script. Fill those plot holes, give your character's some life, and milk the drama in your story. 

Month 5: Money Matters

  • Decide your Schedule & Budget
  • If you choose to crowdfund, do it this month
  • Read the Guide to Seeking out Sponsors and make them an offer they can't refuse.
  • Finish Second Draft

money tree

MONTH 6: 
Planning & Pre-Production

$7200 + crowdfunding + sponsors

Next month you are going to shoot. So that makes this month the ultimate time of preparation...

6.1 - Crew Up

Who is going to help out on your shoot? If you've been smart about getting the word out and you've made your contact details readily available, hopefully some people are coming forward with an interest in helping.

If you've been successful with crowdfunding & sponsorship, perhaps you can afford talented crew. That'd be nice! 

Otherwise, get your best mates, your brother, even strap a boom mic to your sister's chihuahua if you need. Just find a way to get it done.

6.2 - Gear Up

Don't stress too much on cameras. ​Films made in this price bracket need to have heart. Here's the funny thing: 'heart' is cheaper than 'good camera equipment'. 

I understand the attraction to shooting with the latest and greatest technology. But if waiting to afford that technology is going to hold you back, then just do it with what you can.

Plus I'll let you in on a secret:

Lighting is more important for picture: You can get good shots from bad cameras... if you light the scene well!

Click to Tweet

And ask around. It's surprising how many people buy amazing cameras and go months at a time barely using them. Passion is attractive, and they might be willing to brush off the dust and let you use it if you sound like you really believe in your project.

6.3 - Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Next month is shoot month. You haven't got much money, so you need to work fast. To prepare for that: Rehearse with your actors. Lots. You won't have time for 10 takes on set, so makes sure your actors have made all their character discoveries before the camera rolls.

6.4 - Finish your Final Draft

This is also the time to polish your screenplay into the Shooting Script. Whilst you rehearse it, look for plot holes, clunky dialogue, etc. Iron out the wrinkles before the next month.

...and don't give up on funding!

Sponsorship can take a bit of time. Reconsider Finding sponsors - it's absolutely worth thinking about it right up to the shoot.

In fact, telling potential Sponsors "We are shooting next month, so it's now or never"​ might give them the final push to commit some money to your project.

Month 6: Planning & Pre-Prod.

  • Crew Up
  • Gear Up
  • Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
  • Finish your Final Draft

Movie Camera

MONTH 7: 
Shoot!

$0. You're spending all of it this month...

It's here.

The shoot.

The one month where you'll burn through money faster than any other.

Shoot for 3 weeks, if you can shoot consecutively. You get 3 takes for each new set up. No more. You haven't got the time or money to drag your feet. Be ruthlessly economic. Aren't you glad you rehearsed lots last month?

Depending on how the financing part of your preparation went, you may be able to afford to pay everyone comfortably. But I'm going to assume that you can't.

In which case: work around everyone's schedules. Don't be that jerk that expects everyone to take time off from their paying jobs to work unpaid on your film.

Simply ask your cast and crew when they can be available, without preventing them from working their regular jobs.

Good luck with the shoot, by the way!

Movie Camera

MONTH 8: 
Wrap & Editing

8.1 - Throw a Wrap Party

This is important! Show your appreciation! Even if people have to buy their own beers at the pub because you're totally out of cash, just make a time when you all can have some fun together and forget about your stresses.

Be proud! You made it through the first major hurdle. Celebrate. Everyone needs their denouement.

​8.2 - Reevaluate your Money Situation

You also just dropped a fair whack of cash on the shoot. Now is the time to reevaluate. What've you got left? What will you need?

Go back to your regular job, get back into saving your $100 each per week. Have some time to recover.

But also figure out who is going to edit your film. Is it you? A friend? Will you need to pay someone? How much will that cost?

If you need to run another Crowd Funding campaign or collect more Sponsorship to see your film through Post Production, then start thinking about it now.

​8.3 - Edit the film to Rough Cut

You've got two months to cut your film. Your goal at the end of this first month is to have an 'assembly' of the scenes, or a rough cut if you have the time: something that approximates your runtime of 90 mins.

Another great way to save money is to edit the first rough cut/ assembly yourself before handing it to an experienced editor to fine tune.​ It'll save them time, which saves you money.

It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be a film. It'll be crude, raw, and probably very depressing. Don't panic: Reviewing your first cut always is depressing.

Month 8: Wrap & Editing

  • Throw a Wrap Party
  • Reevaluate your Financial Position
  • Edit to a basic assembly or rough cut of the film

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MONTH 9: 
Fine Cut & Audio Handover

At the end of last month, you had a Rough Cut. You need to export that and give it to whoever is dealing with sound.

9.1 - Start on Sound

The cut isn't finished, so they can't synchronize everything, but to hit your goals, the Sound Designer needs to start now. Someone needs to go through all the recordings, and also run a 'spotting' session, to figure out what additional sound effects are required.

Your Spotting session is an opportunity to sit down with the Sound Designer, watch the rough cut of the film, and discuss what can be done aurally.

You need to create a list of 'hard sounds' and 'soft sounds': Hard sounds are those that correlate to action on screen (door slamming, etc) and Soft sounds are those that happen off screen (car driving in the distance, school siren ringing, etc).

Your Sound designer should start looking to fill the Hard sounds first, since they are far more important to a viewers experience. If you have to cut corners later on, you cannot cut Hard sounds... but you might be able to cut Soft sounds.

9.2 - Start on Music

About this time you'll need to start on Music too, if you're getting a composer. If you're not getting a composer and plan to use Royalty Free music, then you ought to start playing around with Temporary music.

You can't afford to buy the rights to expensive, well known music. Use a Royalty-free library, something like neosounds.com

9.3 - Finish the Fine Cut + reach Picture Lock

Keep editing ferociously this month. You need to reach picture lock by the end of this month- where every frame is exactly how you want it. From here on, you can't move anything any more.

It is almost too easy to continually play with your edit, and make minor adjustments. By all means: get creative. But also get it done. There's still more work to do, so don't drag your feet.

Month 9: Fine Cut & Audio Handover

  • Start on Sound
  • Start on Music
  • Reach Picture Lock with your Edit

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MONTH 10: 
Sound & Music

At the end of last month, you reached picture lock. No more playing with the edit. Export a high quality copy of the film and then hand it over for the following stages to be completed:

10.1 - Finalise Sound

Time to finish the sound. Now that you've got the Picture Locked edit, your sound designer can start synching sound to picture. You've got 3 streams of audio to complete:

  1. Dialogue Track
  2. Sound Effects Track
  3. Atmos/ Ambience track

You've got a month to work putting this all together. Pray to the gods that you don't need ADR...

10.2 - Finalise Music

You also have to give picture lock to your composer, so they can finish composing. If you're using Royalty Free music instead, this is the month you need to buy the songs you want to use for your film.

No famous artists. No signed bands. You're going to go to an online sound library that sells rights to pre-made music.​

Failing that: make it yourself using Apple Loops in Garage Band. Conveniently, you'll own the rights to that music if you do. It's almost too easy... but won't necessarily sound 'good'. Use your sound judgement.

10.3 - Color Grade

If you're getting your film colour graded, this is the month you do it.

Now, the reality is that Colour Grading can be expensive. You don't need to do it for your film, at least not when you're working in this price bracket.

But perhaps you know your way around Davinci Resolve, or you know someone who does. Great! This is the month that they are going to finalise all of this.​

Colour Grading or not, you need to export the high quality finished version of your film​ with all the audio synched. Do that at the end of this month.

Month 10: Sound & Music

  • Finalise Sound
  • Finalise Music
  • Colour Grade + Export Finished Film.

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MONTH 11: 
Marketing Materials

If you're considering entering festivals, then absolutely do not do it yet. Festival directors will do a bit of research into your film, if they're considering accepting it, so it's important to get your marketing materials together.

Month 11 is where you focus on polishing everything before your film goes out to the world.

11.1 - Cut Your Trailer

Back to the edit suite!

You know what your film is now, since you've ​finished it. So now you need to deduce: "What's the central marketing message?". In other words, what's the most important information about your film that you need to communicate?

Now you have to cut a trailer that honours that.

Make it enticing. Short. Keep the audience wanting to know more. And make it very clear what's unique about this film, and who it's for.

11.2 - New Poster + Website

This is also the month where you​ make a website. Sound scary? It's not. There are so many affordable services now that make building a website very cheap and easy.

Website building platforms like Weebly.com or Wix.com will serve this purpose just fine.​

And the kind of website you need is extremely simple.​ It'll basically contain your EPK in website form. What's an EPK, you say? Well....

11.3 - EPK: Electronic Press Kit

An Electronic Press kit is everything a journalist could ever want to know about your film. It should contain:

  • Film's Trailer
  • Poster
  • Photos from behind-the-scenes
  • Biographies for cast and crew
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Director's Statement
  • Technical information: Film format/ specs sheet/ run-time
  • Press clippings
  • And most importantly: your contact details.

Whack this all up on your website, for easy access. This website link will be shared with journalists, promoters, blogs, social media and to Film Festivals.

Month 11: Marketing Materials

  • Cut your Trailer
  • Make a fresh poster + Website
  • Gather all EPK materials and add to website

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MONTH 12: 
Distribution

12.1 - Choose Your Distribution Plan

Now it's the fork in the road. Decision time.

Be honest with yourself. What kind of film do you have on your hands? Is there some kind of market for it? Have you built up an audience with an interest in your film?

Because now you need to make a decision: do you submit to festivals and wait some many more months, or do you start selling your film now?

Either way, you need a plan. And for that, I have yet another reading for you-- the 'sellers guide to distributing your film'​. This will outline your options, and how to best attract distributors or how to Self Distribute.

Click the link below to get it:

12.2 - Consider Film Festivals

If you have chosen the Film Festival route, then you've got some months ahead of you. I'm sorry to say that the journey isn't quite complete.

Upload your film to filmfreeway.com or withoutabox.com and​ start searching for different film festivals that your film might suit. Do research into each festival, see if they have previous taken films that are like yours, or of your calibre.

If you've been saving your $100 a week from the start, you'll have some money this month to dedicate to submitting to Film Festivals. It can be pricey, but it's a great way to get your film seen by audiences.​

12.3 - Consider Self Distribution

But if you picked the second option, to self distribute, then... start early in the 12th month!

Getting your film on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play does involve a little bit of waiting and may cost up to $1000. Most people say it take around a month from submission to going live on those platforms.

So, choose one of the Content Aggregator options listed in the Distribution Guide, and submit through them at the start of this month. That'll give your film time to get through QC (quality control).

Around the end of the month, you'll be notified that your film is being uploaded.

Month 12: Distribution

  • Read the Sellers Guide to Distributing Your Film and plan your approach
  • Consider Film Festivals + upload to a festival submitting site
  • Consider Self-Distribution and choose a Content Aggregator. Submit!

It's 12 months to the day...

Look at the date.

12 months has passed already? Gee that flew by!

Open iTunes. Search your film's name.

There it is! There's your poster! With one click, anyone can purchase the film and begin watching it, and where does the money go?

It goes to you!

So, what are you going to do now? Why, have a cast and crew screening of course! The wrap party was 4 months ago. Get everyone together, make some popcorn and watch the film!

Following that, your goal now is to get your business & marketing hat on and promote, promote, promote! People will not stumble across your film on iTunes-- you need to tell them about it. Social media is the key here.

... And pat yourself on the back.

Because 12 months ago, you hadn't made this feature film. And now you have.

And the crazy thing is... whether you made​ the film or not... this date will come and go, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. But you can do something about accepting this challenge to make a film you can be proud of in the next 12 months.

Remember: The time will pass anyway.

And don't forget to share this page below to get the 52-week checklist!​

Get the free 12-Month Feature Film Checklist!

52 weekly tasks to reach your goal!

This printable PDF checklist will keep you on track with:

  • 52 week-by-week tasks that you can tick off
  • Monthly overviews as suggested on this page
  • All 3 eBooks of recommended-reading included

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