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Film Research and Development is one of the most critical phases of Filmmaking.

Film Research and Development is one of the most critical phases of Filmmaking.

Always Start with the Film Audience in Mind. 

If you have been in the filmmaking game for a while, you will understand this concept, if not, please let me elaborate. Often, when you go to a film festival you will hear directors, producers, and filmmakers answering the question "What will you do differently?" and their answers are most likely to be; investing more time in marketing and publicity.

The reason for this statement is that after the film is completed most of the filmmakers have a problem reaching their audience, ergo, their craft stays unnoticed. Think about it, most of us will not get a millionaire distribution deal, but, one of the reasons we become filmmakers is to tell a story.

"What's the point of filmmaking if no-one can find our stories". 

This Post will explain the reason why is important to do film research and development. Also, we will go over the basics of "How to Make an independent Development Package."

Let say, you have come with an excellent idea for a movie or a TV show and you are about to have a meeting with local business owners who want to invest in your production. What will you present him?

You used your passion for creating a small presentation with all the highlights of your production. However, you did not invest time researching the audience, the market, the film genre, and more importantly the needs of the local investors.

After completing your presentation, you are asked the following:

  • How your film will help my Business or Brand?
  • How many people will see your film?
  • How are you going to use my money?
  • How much will I make as an Investor?
  • How is going to be distributed?
  • How big is your audience?
  • How much will it cost to market the film and break even?

Remember, these are fair questions, and these are business people, they will always care about the numbers, even if they like the idea. Moreover, probably they are already aware that investing in filmmaking is considered one of the worst and riskier investments in this era.

Seven Reasons Why Film Development and Research is Important for Independent Filmmakers

1. You will understand what you're audience like.

Using common practices like analyzing comparables, websites, press releases, film reviews and viewing related films; you will have a better idea of what works and what does not work, before spending your production budget. 

2. Audience Size

How big is your market? As part of the development research, you will be able to understand how big is your audience and where is located. This information will help you with the tedious task of promoting the film by maximizing the effectiveness of the promotion budget and time. 

3. Genre and Seasonal Distribution

You must be thinking; it's all the same if the story is good. However, I have bad news for you, unless you understand the priority that distributors have to purchase media you will have a nice film that no-one is interested to see. Also, a season can tell you when to release, distribute or show in film festivals. 

4. Social Media

Social media research can help in many ways; from validating your idea, awareness about your production, crowdfunding procedures, distribution and film engagement. Personally, I use social media to create distribution channels and promotions. But, I also use social media when it comes to research. Reviewing, comparables sites is a perfect way to understand what works in the market without wasting money or time.  


Development will help you to determine different ways to distribute your film, not only that It will dictate how much money you will have to spend in promotions before breaking even or making a profit. 

6. Building a Team

One of the importance of a properly built development pkg. is the building of the production team. Having key personnel, who have accomplished key elements of production can be the difference between trust or a total dismiss of your Idea. In my case, I have networked and collaborated with Emmy nominated cinematographers, award-winning directors, published authors, and experienced musician. All the previous elements can help with my pitch due to the fact that it will create a proper element of trust between my production and investors. 

7. Justifying your Budget
When it comes to money, Investors need to know the following; How much will it take to complete a film and how long before seen some return on investment. Explaining how much of the budget will be used in marketing and promotions can and will influence the final decision of the investor. Moreover, going over how many sales and how you will reach the market will create an effect of trust between filmmakers and investor due to the fact that filmmakers have taken basic steps and considerations to understand the business portion of the production. 

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