From development to distribution, your film lives and dies by its first five minutes. If you can’t hook a script reader, a distributor and your audience, your film will flounder. The first five minutes of your film is a promise to the your audience. It builds trust you can tell story. It’s your chance to show us why we should listen. Why we should give our time? Why should we care?

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So, you’ve got your heart set on making a comedy. Here’s what you need to know to make it commercial. Know your audience. Think about cast, story and visual humour.

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Take a look at the cinema screens this summer and going to head to head with the superhero movies, you’ll find a bunch of R-rated comedies. Jump 22 Street, Sex Tape and Tammy are all gearing up for release. The studios are embracing the genre. Why? Because comedies have the capacity to punch above their weight and make bank at the box office.

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My advice for indie filmmakers and producers wanting to build a career. Make a family film. Not what you were expecting, right? Let’s go into the why.

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What kind of films should you make? There’s no magic formula, but you can stack the distribution odds in your favour by making films with pre-awareness by basing your film on a book or story in the public domain. They give you a fantastic marketing hook and allows you to tap into an audience of established fans. These are stories that have stood the test of time across all genres. They give you a hell of a screenwriting credit from some of the best writers in history. They’ve done the hard work for you. Forget the corsets and crinoline, modernise them and put your own spin on them.

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