Film and Entrepreneurship
In addition to my English Major, I am also minoring in film, so when the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) rolls into town again, I find myself thinking quite deeply about film. During my recent trip to Los Angeles I was able to speak with several individuals working in the film industry, and I realized how similar film and entrepreneurship really are.
Their similarities are particularly evident during events like SLIFF, which helps independent and local films gain exposure and media attention they may not have otherwise had access to. The fight for prizes at these festivals is a battle for endorsement. Like a venture, a film is a financial risk with a singular vision; a product you hope will be profitable and even culturally important. In this sense, the film festival scene is not so far away from a conference or networking event in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and are awarded money based how plausible and innovative their idea is.
Not only does film marketing resemble entrepreneurship; so too does film production. The money does not appear out of nowhere and in the case of independent and foreign films, most of the capital comes from private investors. To get these investors, much as it is with entrepreneurs, a filmmaker needs to impress with the pitch of their picture. Only with a well-outlined plan or innovative concept with they get backers.
In LA, I met so many people involved in the film industry prepped and ready to pitch their film, hand you their business card. It was an environment not unlike the networking gathering, Venture Cafe, that I visited last week. In fact, I had a long conversation with my Uber driver about the business-oriented nature of Los Angeles and the people working there. I still have his business card on hand.
Entrepreneurship can be brought into many other mediums apart from business and I think film has perhaps one of the strongest bonds to entrepreneurial sensibilities. See this in action at theaters throughout St. Louis during the SLIFF, Nov. 3-13.