This Is The New Business Model For All Creators - Houston Howard

This Is The New Business Model For All Creators - Houston Howard

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Houston Howard, Transmedia Author/Speaker:  So I think the new business model for   creators is a business model to attack the  market with IP attack the market with IP. Film Courage: What is the business  model for filmmakers today? Houston: The business model for filmmakers  today is it's a complicated question   because the question could be what should be  the the business model for filmmakers today   but but what is the the the model for  filmmakers today I think still sits   wholly in that traditional model of I  got to go to the studio and I got to   you know option my option my script and go through  the development process and and go through that   whole thing there's the whole traditional side  of the business that's still moving along but now   on the outside of the studio system then you're  you're looking at a different business model   that is is more IP [intellectual property] focused  and I think if you if you really study the market   and understand the way the market works it's about  how do you launch and grow IP and and and this is   this is not a new concept because we've known  for decades that everything that we see on tv   is always based on a book and even the the stuff  that we know is the most original we think is   the most original stuff we've ever we've ever uh  considered and we we love the originality of this   limited series or this interesting film 98 of the  time you trace it back and it's based on a book   and the reason it's based on a book isn't because  hollywood's in love with books it's because they   love the pre-awareness that the books bring they  love the community that's already built for the   book and it skews the risk analysis into the favor  of the filmmaker when they say hey let's let's   take this book and let's make it a movie it's just  a lower risk investment and so so so IP creation   and establishing IP in the market is has has  always been a thing and but now in the with the   proliferation of other platforms and the the the  democratization of other platforms where normal   people can have access to these other platforms  such as podcast and Webtoon and what short stories   on Wattpad comic books things like that now the  business model for creators is how to take their   IP and attack the market in whatever platform they  can so that they could establish a market presence   grow the community of that around that IP actually  get fans and then once they have fans then maybe   down the road they go and shop this thing for  for film and television because when you do that   you can actually have a conversation because you  you have something established in the market and   you have fans and you've established pre-awareness  and I think pre-awareness is is is vital in in   today's market because of the high risk economics  of of filmmaking because the p a budgets because   the budge the the production budgets are are just  increasing so much I mean you look at you look at   the lord of the rings series on amazon they spent  250 million dollars just for the rights and then   they spent 450 million dollars in production  for one season of tv and so you're spending   three quarters of a billion dollars on a season  of television and so they're not going to do that   with something that hasn't been established in  the market the only reason they're comfortable   with with spending three quarters of a  billion dollars is because lord of the rings   is an established IP in the market and that and  there's a legion of tolkien fans and and they've   tested the the previous the hobbit movies and  lord of the rings movies and and it's been around   for a zillion years and all of a sudden it skews  the risk analysis into the favor of the studio   they said I think we can do it I mean you look  at the foundation series that's coming out on on   apple that apple's releasing and that that that  was a series of books that's been around forever   and and a lot of people maybe won't know that and  think oh this is just original filmmaking no it's   established i.p in the market but but used to you  could the only way you could do that is through a   book but now like I said you can you can do that  in a variety of different ways and so one of the   most option things in Hollywood right now are  podcasts podcasts are wildly popular as far as   being optioned and you look at what amazon did  with homecoming not Beyonce homecoming but the   other homecoming with Julia Roberts the the the  drama series and that was a podcast you look at   something like night fail there was a podcast  you look at what HBO max they they greenlit the   Calm app tv show I don't know if anybody you're  familiar with the com app the comm app's been a   top 10 app in the app store for the last 10 years  the meditation app it's just a meditation app for   that promotes the proposed mental health and keeps  makes you calm and helps you meditate and HBO max   just green lit a tv show based on the app which  makes no sense other than there's a brand there   and there's a community there and there's  pre-awareness in the market they'll hire a writer   and they'll hire producers and they'll hire talent  that'll make it work but what they were looking   for is is there the pre-awareness in the market  and you see something with angry birds angry   birds launched into the market not as the animated  films launched in the market as a mobile game and   so I think that is the new business model for  creators is how do I how do I not wait for Netflix   or amazon or universal pictures or Disney to to  give me permission to make my dreams come true   I don't I don't want to wait for Netflix to  give me permission to tell the story that's   in my heart it it it you'll be waiting forever  right and and and you'll be deceived by the fact   that there are some people that Netflix does come  and make their dreams come true and they give them   the big giant check but but for every one person  that's waiting for that that it actually works for   there's there's a hundred thousand people hundred  thousand filmmakers that that never get that break   and it's not because they're less talented  it's just because it's a it's a hard   industry and it's competitive and there's  a lot of super talented people out there   and it's tough to be able and and the line around  Netflix is 10 blocks long figuratively speaking   with people that want to get in Netflix right so  so it's it people are waiting for these studios   to give them permission to to follow  their heart and tell their story   when I say that's that's cool but don't wait or  at least while you're waiting attack the market   while you're waiting launch your IP in the 10  or 15 or 20 ways that we have at your fingertips   at all time that you can do for very little or  zero money like a podcast you can you can take   you can take your iPhone and you can download  anchor an anchor is is a free app on the app store   that will allow you to hold up the phone to your  ear and it records your podcast in just into the   phone and then it distr and you put bumper music  and you can edit it and then it distributes it   into the the apple podcast store and it puts  it on Spotify all completely for free and then   you can use the the distribution platforms and  social media and things like that to to get it   in front of people start building your audience  and you can actually tell the story that you intel   while you're waiting on Netflix but the trick is  then if you actually grow the community of people   that that love your podcast love your story and  and are engaging with your brand you've increased   your chances from hearing from Netflix because  you've actually created pre-awareness the market   right and you you accelerate I mean I there  was there was a there was an IP that I had   uh we we we sold we sold to fox it languished in  development when the turnaround we got it back   and we had played that game for seven years  trying to shop it finally got it shopped   wanted to turn around got it back seven years  and I thought what would have happened if I   would we would have been running a podcast the  entire time what would have been what would have   happened if I would we would have had comic books  in the market and release self-published novels   into the market we wouldn't when it goes in the  turnaround we wouldn't be at zero again we would   have had fans and we would have had a brand and  we would have had IP the film and television   wouldn't have worked the way we wanted it to work  and then we'd have to kind of reorganize that   but at least we would have done some  other things and attack the market   in a way and and not just wait for a giant studio  to give me a giant Ed McMahon check and say I give   you permission to tell the story that you've  always wanted to tell and it's so so I'm very   very bullish on encouraging  filmmakers don't wait launch   launch launch use all the stuff that we have all  the tools in the toolbox to launch the IP if if   people that can produce music work with them to  maybe tell a story through a song and launch that   if how to write a short story launch launch that  if how to do a podcast do it that way do a web   tune do do do something and one it it helps you  not be frustrated as you wait to hear back from   an agent and send it out query letters  and the whole game that we all know   which is I'm not saying that's bad I'm saying okay  let's do that but while we do that let's do some   other things so you're not just sitting around  waiting to hear back from people you're actually   doing something right which keeps you it just  keeps you happy as a storyteller to be able   to tell your stories I mean I personally I found  myself years ago as a writer the thing the things   that I wrote most were pitch decks I found  myself writing more pitch decks than I were   that I did scripts and that was disconcerting to  me right because that's sort of what you kind of   fall into in Hollywood is this crazy game of just  trying to like hustle something and and and you're   doing a lot less creating and just a lot more  pitching right and so so there's there's a I   think there's an artistic and a soulful benefit  to launching IP in the market just satisfies   you as you wait for the the big guys to come and  make your dreams come true but then there's also   a legal benefit to it and so I consider myself a  recovering lawyer I started my career as a lawyer   and almost completely recovered as a lawyer but  from a legal perspective if if you can establish   an IP in the market there's a lot greater chance  of you getting a better deal on the back end if   and when the studio comes and wants to participate  in into a feature film if you just write a spec   script and you go and like like like filmmakers  do and like writers do and you go sell that spec   script and it's not based on any pre-existing IP  it's it's just an original idea and you sell you   settle inspect say you get on the black list and  and they snatch it off the black list and they   they they give you a deal that's awesome it's it's  it's by and large a wholesale acquisition it's   we're taking the whole bucket of rights and we'll  give you a check that's a high five handoff that   you you go off and we'll take this and we'll  go and make this movie but they have all the   rights to every platform ever created and here  forever two will be created until the end of time   there's all those big lawyerly clauses in there  they own everything right they take the whole deal   theoretically they give you a check to make you  feel better about that right which sometimes that   makes you feel better other times it doesn't but  if you say publish a book self-publish a book and   and and that book sells and you're able to then  get that to be turned into a movie the deal that   is then done is a different deal it's then you  have what's called a split rights deal where they   come and license the right to adapt the book into  a movie right so they take the film and television   rights right but it's a license deal for the film  and television rights and you maintain your other   IP rights video game comic books merchant things  like other things that you want to create right   and which is much better in success of the movie  right or the tv show or whatever they do then all   these other rights become more valuable and  you've retained them simply because you were   able to establish the IP in the market and you  didn't you didn't go to the studios first right so   so even if you don't want to talk about  the the sort of the creative benefits of   attacking the market and being aggressive with  the IP and not waiting right and being passive   as as your fake lawyer as for that that I would  give you this this legal advice never just sell   a spectrum to a studio it's crazy just publish it  self-publish it as a book first now ten years ago   before you could really self-publish or there  wasn't really podcast and there weren't really   these other things then what are you supposed  to do the only thing you could do is is just   sell it directly to a studio because not not a  lot of other other options right now there are   so many options it's it makes it just doesn't make  a lot of sense to be able to go to them first you   just you're just you're misappropriated and losing  sight of the broader opportunity of your IP so so   I think the new business model for creators is a  business model to attack the market with IP attack   the market with IP and when you when you generate  the pre-awareness of the community it's going to   create residual benefits that is that are not only  going to make you more attractive to the studios   but it's actually going to help you retain more  and control more of the IP moving forward and from   what I understand about this new Netflix series  made yeah with Margaret Qualley it it started   as an article [on Vox] a woman [Stephanie Land]  who was in a homeless shelter with her child she   was cleaning houses and she kind of wrote this  thing about hey what people don't know about   what I know about you from cleaning your house  and that took off and then she did this book   yeah and then and now and now we have this this  show coming up sure I'm looking forward to seeing   it and again that was someone that was always  wanted to be a writer had a lot of tragic things   happen and decided to hunker down and sort of make  the best of it and look at now it's sure that's a   rags to riches story right there and if she would  have just written that as a spec script and then   just started shopping that around I think we we  would well we wouldn't be having this conversation   today because because it would have gotten it  would be languishing in the crazy game that is   the spec world of Hollywood right she she was able  to take this and then launch it in a different way   let's write the article let's let's do it let's  launch it in a different form let's then publish   the book let's let's do it as a blog let's  do something else right and and then we we   grow awareness we grow the pre-awareness we we've  we've actually established the IP in the market   and then guess what especially when it becomes  popular then then then the studios want to get   involved and that deal and I'm not privy  to the the specifics of the deal but but   I would guarantee that that deal that was  made for that particular that particular IP   is a better deal than she would have got if she  would have written the spec script and tried to   sell that spectre at first I don't think she  would have sold the spec grip to begin with   but in the event that she would have it would  have been a worse deal than what she got now   simply because she was able to establish it  in the market right but see see this is the   interesting thing it's a paradigm shift  with with filmmakers typically filmmakers   and and and screenwriters and listen I include  myself in this umbrella so it we we we want to   focus on filmmaking and screenwriting and and and  we feel like if I just write my five pages a day   everything's gonna work and I don't wanna learn  how to do a podcast like that's not me I don't   wanna learn how to make a website I don't  wanna I don't wanna uh write short stories   I'm a screenwriter right and and I  wish I wish that person would have been   born in 1978 and then was able to be able  to operate in late 80s 90s Hollywood because   because it was just as a different market  and you could kind of specialize like that   but but but it's just it's a different market  and and there's this this there's this hesitancy   for lack of a better word if if I say that  euphemistically there's this hesitancy to   broaden your scope of creative to be able  to launch an IP in the market you feel like   you're you're doing something that's less than  screenwriting you're lowering yourself to do a   short story you're lowering yourself to do a  podcast there's this this this this artistic   judgment and you feel like you you and maybe you  just judge yourself of like man that this means   that I'm if I was good enough i'd be able to sell  this thing right and and you judge yourself for   it and and you shouldn't judge yourself for that  you it's it's there's too much stuff out there   and it's way too competitive and I think if if if  creators and filmmakers and screenwriters if they   have the mind of a of an entrepreneur who's who's  launching a consumer brand you're gonna you're   gonna you're gonna approach this whole thing  differently because you talk to any entrepreneur   that that says I'm gonna start a pizza shop right  and I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna open the pizza   shop and and it's gonna be great because I have  this family recipe of pizza i've been working on   like they are forced to learn a hundred new  skills in order to launch that pizza shop   right you never hear somebody say I want to launch  my pizza shop with my family recipe of pizza and   I'm only going to focus on making the pizza  I'm not going to learn how to do payroll I'm   not going to learn how to hire front of house  back house I'm not going to learn how to order   I'm not going to learn about management I'm  not going to learn how to do the register   I'm not going to learn about anything else  other than pizza and that's it I'm just going   to focus on my pizza and as long as I make  good pizza everything will fall into place   odds are that pizza shop will never open right  because of course entrepreneurs know I want to   do a pizza shop I know how to make a good pizza  okay I still have to learn how to run the register   and I still have to learn how to market the  right way and I still have to learn how to   how how to manage my staff and I still  have to learn how to order all the food   from the wholesalers and things like that you it  you're forced into figuring out five or six new   things that you've never figured out before and  that's just part of being an entrepreneur and   every entrepreneur will tell you that like you  have to you're forced to learn 100 new things   what are those 10 new things that we need to learn  as screenwriters and filmmakers what are the 20   new things that that that we can learn as creators  that can help us launch the IP and and here's the   good part here's the here's the punch line that  I think is the greatest punch line of all time   it's all there on the internet for free  youtube is the greatest educational platform   in the history of mankind if I want to figure  out how to change a 1987 Volvo station wagons   carburetor there's probably a Youtube video  that's going to walk me through it we can   go to go to Youtube go to Google and say how do I  how do I create a podcast and there's 17 articles   instantly or 17 videos that pop up you can go  to Linkedin learning and and or or you can go to   whatever like resource that you want to use  and you can take the 7 to 10 to 27 hours   to figure it out and not that you can connect with  people that know how to do it I had a buddy who   he won the Nicholl Fellowship as a screenwriter  right which is a big deal Nicholl Fellowship is   a very competitive screenwriting competition he  won the Nicholl Fellowship he he pitched a movie   to Paramount Pictures as a result of winning  the Nicholl Fellowship he pitched the script   to Paramount. Paramount said it was too risky  because it wasn't established in the marketplace   and they said we want you to go and create a comic  book and launch it as a comic book and if you sell   10 000 copies of that comic book come  back to us and we'll make your movie   so he walked out of that meeting super bummed  not just because they didn't make the movie but   they said make a comic book and guess what he was  a screenwriter he didn't know how to make a comic   book right which if this was 1992 that would have  been a big bummer but because it was 2017 he was   able to go home open up the laptop google how do  I make a comic book and you started reading and   he started finding out where the artist hung out  online and the artist communities and Art Station   and Deviantart and things like that he he learned  the production workflow the cost of making a comic   book how they were distributed he just started  researching and he connected with an artist   in a like Estonia or some Eastern European country  that that that he they decided to collaborate on   something they they scraped and put one issue of  a comic book together took them months they put   an issue of one issue of a comic together and  they they distributed it digitally on amazon   and made enough money from it to make an issue too  and then they made enough money on it to make an   issue three and then they made enough money on it  to make it issue four and then after issue four   guess what happened they got picked up by a small  independent publisher that said we'll pay for the   publishing of it right so they did issue five  and then after issue five they're putting it   all together as a trade paperback all five issues  together and now four years later he's right on   the verge of his 10 000 unit cell right and he  says Houston guess what I'm gonna do I'm gonna   go back to paramount pictures and tell them to  make my movie because I have to hit the ten 10 000   or the 10 000 sale mark right but guess what  I'm not going to stop selling my comic book   why because it's an extra source of revenue for  me and I have a community of fans that love this   stuff right so why would I stop and so now he  self-identifies as not just a screenwriter but   he's a screenwriter slash comic book creator  right he's there's there's this there's this   this term called polymath right people that are  good at multiple things and we typically lawed   people in entertainment that can do more right  Beyonce can sing and she can dance and J Lo can   act and sing and dance and and we always say all  these people are amazing they're entrepreneurs   and actors and singers and creators and and we  love that about people we need to start looking   at ourselves as that because we have the ability  to do that and because all the tools are in front   of us so I think that's the model that we have to  hit is is being willing to have that mindset shift   of I need to learn some more I need to broaden  my own skill set right and but when I do it's   going to open up a no new world for me because  I'm able to establish my IP in the market.

Do you agree with Houston? What  are you doing to attack the market?

2021-10-27 09:25

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