Starting a movie company was a wish that I had since 2007 when I began freelancing in movies. Back then, I coveted the role of the producers and other people who were in the middle of the decision making on set, as I worked as a production assistant or worse, an intern. Later, I teamed up with my business partner and husband Ryan Pickett, with a decision to create a movie company. We had a vision of making a movie that was on the forefront of technological innovations, which was why we shot our first movie on the Red One 4K. Our plan was to use the footage from our first movie to legitimize our company, giving us a reel, a professional website, and credibility.
Creating A Movie Company
When starting a business, it’s important to have your skills made clear to others before you try to charge money for services. Ryan and I started out with a goal to make the best short movie we could. We wanted to make a movie unlike anything that anyone else was doing. Ryan rented the Red One 4K camera to help show his expertise and to make his cinematic vision clear on screen. Proudly, I saw our hard work materialize into an award winning project.
Short movie Look (2009), the first movie our company produced, won six awards and earned numerous positive reviews from movie critics and bloggers. Strategically, I took the success of our movie and turned it into publicity for our company. Linking every press release to our website for Ryan Pickett Productions , I built a decent page rank on Google for the company. Having educational websites and government websites link back to our company greatly helped the page rank. Creating publicity required me to make strong connections in the media, which I enjoyed doing.
Even though our company earned great publicity, I learned that all the publicity in the world wouldn’t equal an income. Making financial gains was a separate goal that had nothing to do with becoming well known in the field of movie making. After placing the movie on a distributor’s website, Ryan earned his first royalty check, but we needed a more steady income or a larger income to rationalize all of the effort we were putting into the business. As I examined our business model, I considered how we could best monetize our skills. Creating a professional online image was the first step, and later would come the marketing of our skills.
While analyzing our company’s website, I determined that we could benefit from better web design. In today’s digitally-minded world, a company’s website gives the first impression to an endless amount of people. I noticed that the main demographic of visitors to the website included people all over the world who 1.) Searched YouTube for the terms “Red One 4K Short Film” or “Red One 4K” and 2.) Clicked from the YouTube video for Look (2009) to our website. Since the demographic consisted of people interested in a very visually appealing camera, I wanted to have the website appeal to our demographic with appealing visuals. When creating a business, getting to know your demographic is critical.
Starting out, I agreed to do some work that helped build the company’s portfolio. In doing publicity for two movies this past year, our company built more credits on its IMDB profile. More importantly, the work our company was doing helped us build connections with filmmakers all over the country as we worked with movie makers in Los Vegas and Los Angeles without leaving our home in Nashville. Building a portfolio of work is a key thing for every new company to do. Gaining connections and experience was a beneficial experience for our company. What I learned from the experience of starting a movie company was to always consider how choices and risks might pay off, while also examining how having a solid business mindset of how to make financial gains would affect the future of our company.