6 Tips for Producing a Successful Brand-Funded Film

Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv

On the heels of producing three successful films under the UM Studios banner and having just launched Mediabrands Content Studio and indie development and production entity TRAVERSE32, Mediabrands Global Chief Content Officer Brendan Gaul sat down with BrandStorytelling.tv Co-Founder and Director Rick Parkhill to discuss the steps he takes to successfully shepherd a brand-funded film from development to distribution.

The following are six key takeaways from Gaul and Parkhill’s conversation that demystify the machinations of the brand-funded filmmaking process and, when adhered to, can drastically increase the odds of a brand-funded film’s overall success:

Your film is not an advertisement that entertains, its entertainment that (ultimately) advertises.

Brands looking to make a film must start with the reality that the filmmaking model does not naturally fit within the quarterly business cycles by which brands operate. From the jump, it takes a different mindset, patience, and an understanding of long-term value and payoff to get into the brand-funded film game. This means keeping an eye on the entire process and shooting for film-industry quality at each level, from concept to production to distribution. When all is said and done, your film should be a new product that, when it goes market, halos and drives to your core product, all while entertaining rather than interrupting the life of your new consumer.

Lean into your strengths, seek support for your weaknesses.

Although brands are typically well equipped and adept at handling content development and packaging, production, and post-production, ultimately it is in the areas of early film workshopping, financing, and the sale of the film where brands’ efforts can fall flat. This is due in large part to the fact that those steps, critical as they may be to the filmmaking process, are not a part of the traditional ad-making process. It is imperative to seek out and work with individuals or teams whose expertise lies in those weaker areas for the film to come together at the ideation, production, and distribution levels of the process.

Your film’s premise is your north star.

There are an untold number of decisions that need to be made when it comes to making a film. As a brand, it is massively helpful at the earliest stages of the filmmaking process