You’re not a sellout for listening to fan feedback

Aug 21, 2022

Traditionally, filmmakers are strongly discouraged from getting early feedback to understand the needs of their potential audience. Let alone thinking about marketing strategies to sell the film.

Prevailing warnings can sound like: 

“You’ll be sacrificing your artistic integrity.”

“Audiences don’t know what they want.”

“Don’t water down your vision to appeal to the masses.”

“You’ll be selling out”.

Lean Filmmaking is different. We strongly encourage filmmakers to discover their audience (we call them fans) before the film is even finished!

We seek out fan feedback at every stage of the filmmaking process, from early ideas through to the final product.

We do this to give filmmakers a higher chance of creating a successful film by clearly defining a group of people who want to see it (and buy it).

Is your heart beating a little faster at the thought of asking for feedback?

Don’t worry, that’s pretty normal. 

After talking to thousands of filmmakers about the benefits of validating ideas with fans, we’re never surprised by the intense reaction.

It’s understandable. It’s tough to go against the conventional wisdom of the film industry and be vulnerable enough to show people your raw idea before it’s fully formed.

But here’s the cold hard truth…

Audiences have an opinion about your film, regardless of whether you talk to them or not.

If you only let people see the finished product, you’ve missed the opportunity to learn from them and improve the film.

Don’t spend too long perfecting an idea; instead, quickly test it with a few fans to see if it sparks any interest even in its roughest form.

Even with a very lo-fi draft version of a film, you’ll get a ton of useful feedback.

Marketing strategies can also be explored from the start of the project so it's not a rude shock when it comes time to sell the film.

Lean Filmmaking uses the structure of Make-Show-Adjust Cycles to solicit and interpret feedback, ensuring the information collected is timely, relevant and actionable.

The squad listens to fans at the appropriate times, then they apply their skills, creativity and talent to improve the film.

This allows the squad to learn by doing, rather than tweaking, polishing and obsessing without any input from the intended viewers.

Get feedback from fans so you know what's important to them (and what they couldn't care less about) to make the best possible version of your film.


The Art of Lean Filmmaking, book and course available now. Start making an indie feature sooner than you ever thought possible.


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