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Million Dollar Question About Storytelling

Will The Audience Give A Damn

What is the million dollar question? Whether the audiences will like my story or not? That is the question that most filmmakers and storytellers don’t even know that this is the very first question that they should be asking themselves.

The first thing most of them ask is what camera they’ll be using or how grand the production design is going to be or what kind of lights and equipment they’ll be using.

These are generally the most common questions that filmmakers out there ask themselves when on the contrary the very first question they should ask is if someone out there will give a damn about their story or not?

Now comes another million dollar question, how to know or how to predict if the audiences will give a damn about your story or not? And the million dollar answer is something unfortunately very complicated. It’s simple, yet not so simple.

Storytelling in Raging Bulls

The simple answer to this question is take a look at your story then go on the internet, search for similar stories and see if those kind of stories were successful with the audiences or not. If they clicked with the audience then you have a better chance of making your own story click, but if those stories didn’t connect with most people then you’re better off leaving your own story and moving on to work on another one. I know it’s hard leaving a project that you’re passionate about but that’s the reality of it.

Now comes my favorite answer, the answer that is not so simple. I spent years and years of my life making shortfilms in the hopes of gathering an audience and enticing them to watch my next film. Was I successful? Hell no, not even by a long shot.

So where did I go wrong, it clearly doesn’t make any sense that I spent a huge chunk of my life and was unable to gather an audience and make a successful career out of storytelling. Well actually it makes perfect sense.

Because I failed to address four major key points before writing and producing my stories.

Storytelling in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

1) I failed to address that the audience which I was targeting belonged to the internet. I kept on making short films that were much closer to feature films in their narrative style. Since I was tremendously inspired to become a feature film director I was always subconsciously telling stories with the perspective of a theatrical release whereas my films were not getting released in cinemas, they were getting released on the internet and the internet audience is just miles and miles apart from a cinema audience which brings me to my second point.

2) My stories were just too long. Some of the movies I directed were 10 minutes long, some were 15 and in some cases, my movies were up to 20 minutes long. Nobody on the internet is going to stick around that long to watch your film until and unless point number 3.

3) You have to build an audience before releasing your short film on which you must have spent countless days of your life. Just like how marketing executives for feature films market their films in order to build an audience interest in the story. In today’s day and age, we independent filmmakers have to market our film through social media channels in order to build the same audience interest in our stories. There’s an amazing channel on YouTube that probably most people already know about. It’s called film riot hosted by Ryan Connolly. One of his shortfilms that he made was around 30 mins long and when he released it online, it got over 550,000 views. Now how the hell did Ryan manage to do that? He was able to do that because he built a freaking audience before releasing his film, which brings me to my next and final point.

4) How to build an audience? Now I’m somebody who is currently trying to build an audience myself so clearly I cannot give you any guidelines on it whatsoever. But there’s an amazing channel called Video Creators hosted by the amazing Tim Schmoyer who will absolutely walk you through the journey of going from 0 audience members to a big bold figure. Here’s a link to Film Riot by Ryan and here’s a link to Video Creators by Tim.

Storytelling in the Matrix

Now I hope that you’ll be able to look at storytelling from a new perspective after our little talk and approach your stories much more intelligently. On a closing note, I’m going to repeat myself from my previous blogs. I’m a storyteller and a filmmaker who is trying to connect with filmmakers and storytellers worldwide, so if you’re reading this blog and if you’re a director, if you’re a producer, if you have a team, if you have the resources or you can put together the resources and if you’re genuinely interested in making short films and then moving on to doing much bigger things together, then I’m genuinely interested in providing a story and a screenplay for you to work with. Simply get in touch with me through the comments section below and I would love to have you subscribe to my channel where I release vlogs about storytelling every Tuesday.

So, in the hopes of connecting with storytellers and filmmaker worldwide, this is Mr. Zeecon, in the making of a great story.

Your Thoughts

I would love to hear it from you guys in the comments about what you think about this million dollar question and do the new independent film directors know how to address this question?