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How to divide your film project: the many benefits of a 50/50 split or even partnership

How to divide your film project: the many benefits of a 50/50 split or even partnership

I am frequently asked by filmmakers: How do I split my project between me and my director/producer, directors/producers, or others who are involved heavily in the project? My answer is usually: Split things 50/50, or 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, or 25% each. The reason for this is that if you split something by any other means, someone will be angry. Someone will do more work and someone will do less work, and things might not seem equitable, and thus will likely go downhill very quickly.

Additionally, people can be paid more or less in salaries later on once a full budget is clear. This “split” is only for the backend — which, in the film business you are unlikely to see much of anyway unless you have a rare runaway hit. For example, even if you and your producer split your project 50/50, but your producer doesn’t go with you when you have to live with a Native American tribe in Northern Alaska for 2 years, you can still pay yourself a salary for the 2 years of work you have put in on top of the 50/50 split. And your producer can pay him/herself a salary for raising the budget. Again, negotiate this upfront and identify who is responsible for business and creative decisions. Also negotiate how you will resolve any impasses that may occur.

Every negotiation is a conversation. And every negotiation requires trust. If all members of the team aren’t doing top quality work, you can bet your bottom dollar that the project is unlikely to happen. So you must trust that your teammates will do an excellent job by following through with their obligations, and sometimes picking up the slack for people who don’t.

However, it should be noted that if one or more people are either paying for the project themselves, or raising the financing for the project, they may demand more ownership over the project. Depending on how badly you want this project to happen, you will have to either accept or reject this offer, or negotiate something different. Sometimes, a bad deal, or a deal you don’t think is totally fair, is better than no deal at all if it means making your project hapen.

My modest proposal for BLIND SUBMISSIONS to documentary festivals, competitions, and more!

My modest proposal for BLIND SUBMISSIONS to documentary festivals, competitions, and more!

This is a big idea, that, if implemented, may change the future of documentary for the better.

Background: I've had documentaries accepted to film festivals and pitch fests; I've had them rejected from film festivals and pitch fests.

Yet for every competitive endeavor I’ve ever applied to, I am obliged to list my name, my team’s names, and who has supported the film financially. Yet, from my perspective, this doesn’t make sense.

Imagine a world where no names or other background information were attached to competitive submissions, where work could be judged based on its own merits, where outside factors (e.g. who you know or don’t know) played zero role in the selections of projects for film festivals. This is the world I want to live in, as this is a meritocracy.

Why doesn’t such a world exist? I don’t know, but here I am, inquiring. I’m sure there are good reasons for wanting to know who is on a team (e.g. to make sure that under-represented minorities are selected) but my theory is that MORE, not fewer, underrepresented minorities will be selected for documentary film festivals if names and background information aren’t attached to competitions. This should also help early career filmmakers (of all ages) with less experience too. Let work speak for itself. Let the people who create the BEST work rise to the top. Let the characters in stories be of interest to audiences, not who the filmmakers are themselves.

Sure, I know what you may say: sometimes you can see or hear a documentary maker in his/her film. This is true. And it can warrant a special category. Most people don't appear in their films and are unrecognizable by their voices if they are heard asking questions in the background of a documentary.

I’d love for people to adopt this idea, but if they don’t do it soon, I’m happy to start a film festival myself that is based on this concept! Who out there is with me? And who disagrees? I’d love to get a conversation started!




Review of Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc.

Review of Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc.

I’m probably five years too late to this party, but it isn’t often that I read a book that profoundly affects me for good or for bad. In this case, this book, Creativity Inc. affected me negatively, in part because I had some inside knowledge that the author doesn’t know that I have.

Background: Ed Catmull is one of the founders of Pixar. He comes from a computer science background and I have no doubt he is very smart. But, because of my insider knowledge I know he can’t be trusted. Why? Because when you look at the Oscar Nominations for 1995, you’ll see that four people were nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Their names: Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, Joss Whedon, and Andrew Stanton. Yet only one person, Stanton, who has had a long career at Pixar is named in the book. Even Whedon, a talented celebrity in his own right, is not mentioned a single time.

In Catmull’s either deliberately schlocky or straight up lazy retelling of the story, he made it seem that Toy Story was his brainchild and John Lasseter’s. Catmull has the balls to not mention 3/4 of the team that created this project that took Pixar from a failing film studio to the global behemoth it is today.

My inside knowledge comes from Alec, as I was lucky enough to have him, a talented and kind working writer, as my screenwriting teacher over a decade ago at the University of Pennsylvania. Alec taught our Advanced Screenwriting class many valuable tips about the practical ins and outs of the trade, from story to character arcs to act structure, and he did this with complete humility. And, among his other stories, he told us how he and Joel Cohen, his long-time writing partner, came up with the original characters and concept for Toy Story — the same characters that have grossed Pixar billions of dollars in the past two decades.

Here’s the nitty gritty of this book; there are precisely 4 pages worth reading, and these are the tips and tricks for managing creatives on the last 4 pages of the book. The rest is a myopic retelling of stories, in 2020 hindsight (a term that, ironically, Catmull claims he loathes), that details nothing more than Catmull’s version of events of how Pixar became great. But I suspect Pixar, like Apple, became great because of Steve Jobs’ sometimes questionable leadership decisions. Jobs knew when to gamble and how to fight. Pixar could’ve been closed or sold many times in the decade prior to Toy Story, but it wasn’t. This book, save for its last 4 pages, is nothing more than a history of Pixar from one person’s perspective. It doesn’t say a thing about how to be creative if you’re a normal reader — it says things about how to be creative when you are bankrolled with hundreds of millions of dollars. Thus, young and/or aspiring creatives won’t get a thing out of reading this book.

"How I accidentally changed the way movies get made..."

"How I accidentally changed the way movies get made..."

Do you know the story of The Hollywood Blacklist? No, I’m not talking about the one from the anti-Communist era, I’m talking about the list of Hollywood scripts that don’t get made but are some of the hottest on the market. Well, if you don’t know this story, learn from it, as it shows the power of thinking differently from everyone else in the crowd.

As TedX writes, “How does Hollywood choose what stories get told on-screen? Too often, it's groupthink informed by a narrow set of ideas about what sells at the box office. As a producer, Franklin Leonard saw too many great screenplays never get made because they didn't fit the mold. So he started the Black List, an anonymous email that shared his favorite screenplays and asked: Why aren't we making these movies? Learn the origin story of some of your favorite films with this fascinating insider view of the movie business.”



Praise for EUROTRUMP from Newsweek

Praise for EUROTRUMP from Newsweek

Great news: Newsweek gave EUROTRUMP a remarkable review! The film appears across the United States on Hulu on June 30th, 2018.

Here are some highlights from the piece: 

"The “EuroTrump” team gained unprecedented access to the otherwise seclusive politician, who, despite never shunning media attention and maintaining a busy social media presence, is rarely seen letting his guard down."

"The resulting 90-minute documentary, set to premier on streaming service Hulu later this month, is titled “EuroTrump.” The reference to Trump is somewhat ironic, Morse told Newsweek , as the two leaders have little more in common than their distinctive hairstyle and inward-looking perspective at the world. “Wilders is actually much smarter than Trump, when you compared the two of them,” Morse said. “Wilders is strategic, he thinks slowly, he knows what he's doing and he knows how to influence people,” he added.

If you'd like to write about the film, please get in touch and OBSERVATORY will send you an advance copy! 

NoFilmSchool Podcast: Featuring Stephen Robert Morse

NoFilmSchool Podcast: Featuring Stephen Robert Morse

I recently sat down with the wonderful Liz Nord of NoFilmSchool to discuss how to make films more efficient:

No Business School: How to Save Time and Money on Your Films

Yes, you can make great films without breaking the bank.

Stephen Robert Morse believes that the film industry is broken. Time and money are wasted at every step of the process, leaving filmmakers less with which to actually make our films. Fortunately, he also believes we can fix it. In fact, he believes this so strongly that, after producing the documentary Amanda Knox for Netflix, he went to Oxford Business School to learn how we can run our sets more like businesses and started the company Observatory to do just that.

"A lot of people think this industry is glamorous and that’s the biggest problem."

Terms like "lean principles" and "simultaneous processes" probably aren’t familiar to most filmmakers, but if you put some basic business sense into place, you can make your films a whole lot cheaper and more efficiently. And if it sounds cold and calculated, remember that ultimately, this is all in service of having your film reach the most people and have the greatest impact possible.

In this practical conversation, Stephen Morse breaks down some business school lessons that we can apply to make our films in the most efficient ways possible.

Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.

Berlinale 2018: Why the Blockchain Could Fundamentally Change How Business is Done in the Film Industry

Berlinale 2018: Why the Blockchain Could Fundamentally Change How Business is Done in the Film Industry

I recently wrote this piece for the film community at NoFilmSchool.com.

A new company is using the blockchain to help eliminate waste (and shady people) in the film industry.

[Author’s note: Prior to reading this article, it is advisable for readers to peruse the Wikipedia “Blockchain” entry or the briefer definition of Blockchain in Investopedia.]

Technology and the film industry have had a historically rocky relationship. 20 years ago, Blockbuster ruled the at-home video market and famously (or infamously) rejected the opportunity to purchase Netflix for a mere $50 million. Today, Netflix has a $120 billion market cap and is poised to dominate the film industry for years to come.

Yes, market leaders like Netflix and Amazon are surely experimenting with algorithmic programming and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in attempts to take humans out of the screenwriting equation to give viewers what the companies think they want. But there are other forms of technology that can help improve the independent film business and even have the possibility to revolutionize how films are made—and more importantly, how production staff from actors to directors to below the line crew are paid. 

Enter FilmChain, a project started by BigCouch co-founders Irina Albita and Maria Tanjala. The goal of FilmChain is to increase accountability and transparency in the murky independent film financing world by using blockchain, the underlying technology behind Bitcoin. However, during their presentation at the Berlinale’s European Film Market startup pitch event, the pair were quick to debunk the myth that blockchain and Bitcoin are one and the same. Let it be known, they aren’t! As an oversimplified way to distinguish them, Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency, and the blockchain was developed as a decentralized way to record and account for Bitcoin transactions which has now expanded to use for a variety of commercial applications.

FilmChain is a revenue collection and allocation platform operating on blockchain technology that aims to service film and digital content creators by collecting revenues and automatically distributing them to stakeholders. If successful, FilmChain will mean that one can say goodbye to loads of middlemen who take a piece of the pie during the filmmaking process. 

The benefits of the blockchain to help film distribution processes are many: global transactions are typically costly, frequently people don’t get paid for the work they do, and the accounting books on numerous independent productions either is non-existent or riddled with errors.

Manuel Badel of Badel Media in Canada discussed other strong points of how blockchain technology can improve the film business:

  • IP protection - proof of ownership
  • Digital rights management - registration, tracking, royalties
  • Contracting - automation and smart contracts between stakeholders
  • Collaboration - scriptwriting and product design
  • Micropayments - tokens, crypto, crowdfunding, royalties, recoupment
  • Content distribution - decentralization, trust, and disrupted distribution. 

Who will gain?

Who stands to benefit from this FilmChain technology? Anyone who works on a production!

What makes “smart contracts” revolutionary is that they are triggered automatically. For example, say you are a screenwriter based in America and your contract says you will get paid $10,000 on the first day of production of a film produced and set in China. Once that first day of production happens, your $10,000 will automatically be triggered and you will get paid. Contracts could be set up such that, for instance, three individuals confirming that production started on a specific day would be all that is necessary to send an instant payment halfway around the world. 

Who will lose?

And who stands to lose from blockchain technology being implemented in the film business? Shady film financiers who don’t make good on the payouts they owe, therefore stealing money from others who rightfully deserve it.

Of course, shady film financiers may never voluntarily utilize a system such as this one, but if FilmChain (or similar platforms) become the norm, then staff members on productions that do use this technology would stand to benefit. Film financiers would benefit too as the myriad bank transfers and other international payments they send would become much less expensive as the systems become automatic and tech-enabled.

FilmChain won’t be implemented overnight. But it and similar projects surely present a hopeful future. Anyone who has ever been screwed over by a shady financier or producer, or even has just waited far too long to get paid for freelance work, stands to gain if blockchain technology is implemented into the film business. 

 

 

9 questions to ask yourself to see if you should kill a film project (and how to kill them effectively)

9 questions to ask yourself to see if you should kill a film project (and how to kill them effectively)

At times it is necessary to "kill your projects" or "murder your darlings" or "trim the fat from your development slate." All three of these things mean the same thing: you've wasted time, money, and energy creating a project, and now isn't the time for it to come to fruition. I've seen too many friends get obsessed with projects that are doomed for failure. So listen to this advice!

9 questions to ask yourself to see if you should kill a film project:

1. Is the team you're working with less motivated about the project as they were on day one? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

2. Is your project moving along much more slowly than you had planned? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

3. Are you now realizing you will face several costly legal challenges to get your project off the ground? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

4. Did a key subject drop out of the project? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

5. Has the conflict eroded from your project? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

6. Is another team, perhaps with better access, further along on a similar or related project? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

7. Have you lost interest in your project? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

8. Has the market for your project gotten significantly smaller? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project.

9. Are you working on better/faster/stronger projects? If the answer is yes, consider killing the project

And of course, if more than one of the above questions is yes, REALLY consider killing the project.

Finally, here is a practical guide of how to kill a film project:

1. Ethically, it is proper to tell your participants you are killing the project. This may free them to work with other filmmakers. You should also let them out of any exclusivity agreements you have.

2. Pay anyone who has done work for you who you owe money to. (Write this off later.)

3. You needn't write a public obituary for your project, as you may want to revive it later on. So move on, don't kvetch about it, and know that deep down you saved yourself a heckuva lot of time, money, and energy to pursue other projects.

 

 

5 types of people to avoid when making your independent film!

5 types of people to avoid when making your independent film!

Film is a business unlike many others: You can write a book on your own, you can make art on your own, and you can compose music on your own, but film will always be a team effort. Yes, you likely need a visionary person to kickstart the film. This is typically the director, producer, or writer, but you will also need help from hundreds of other people along the way, whether they're your subjects, actors, financiers, assistants, musicians, interns, and dozens upon dozens more.

Working on a film is like being in the army: you'll likely become super close with many of your colleagues, pulling late nights, early mornings, and spending hours in the freezing cold or blistering sun. And you'll love these people. 

However, film also draws its fair share of horrible, really bad, disgusting, worst-of-the-worst people. These people take on different forms: 

1. Narcissists are the worst. If you've ever met one, and I'm sure you have, you know. It is unfortunate when narcissists make films, but quite frequently, they do. (I won't name names, but in this industry, it is generally known...)  Many narcissists are drawn to film for the fame and/or fortune but don't want to do any of the hard work to get there.

2. Hustlers are another breed with little/no talent who somehow never make projects but are always raising big money for something. They're annoying because they take money away from people who really do need it and will do good with it. And they also give a bad reputation to filmmakers when they raise money and make flops. Understandably, it is hard to differentiate between a hustler and a legitimate producer, as when anyone starts off they could fall into any category. It is necessary to hustle in your early years. But as people age, you start to see who's peddling nonsense and who's legit. But after many years, if someone gets nothing concrete done, you can assume they're a hustler not a filmmaker. 

3. Film likely also draws a disproportionate amount of "rich kids" into its mix, because, by the time you're 25, 30, or older, if you aren't independently wealthy, film isn't going to be a profession that you're going to be able to afford to partake in, because it requires a ton of time, much of it unpaid, before payouts come at the end of some very long and challenging roads. A lot of rich kids float around, call themselves filmmakers, do a ton of cocaine, and hang out with B, C , or D list celebrities but have 0 talent or ability to execute. (It is necessary to write that there are some rich kids out there who do make amazing films and are generous with both their time and money. I know a handful of them who are genuinely talented, hardworking, and good people and they are very important people in my life!)

4. Then there are the struggling filmmakers, who are really just lazy folks who never wanted to get a job and like to sleep late, not work much, and be generally lazy SOBs. There are a lot of folks like this running around East London (where I now reside) and Brooklyn (where I formerly resided). You'll likely see them sipping coffees or asking you for meetings and then show up at said meetings without ideas that are thought through. 

5. Interns who think they are god. This is another sad, sad breed of young humans. I've encountered plenty of amazing interns in my day (who have been lifesavers) but just as many cocky, arrogant, bad people who will likely wind up in category 3 or 4 above. In many ways, my biggest lesson is not to hire interns from good schools. I went to the University of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania, and have hired gems from both places, but I've also had my fair share of arrogant/lazy folks from each institution. 

The real message here is you must work with passionate people who work hard. Unfortunately, the world is saturated with people, perhaps over 80% of them in film, who really are useless and suck. You must fire these people quickly and only keep the talented people who have good work ethics and strong morals around. Otherwise, your life will become hell, and you won't be making movies, you'll just be miserable. I didn't let this happen to me, but if I didn't fire fast, it easily could have happened. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make the kinds of documentaries that will be sold to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vice, Apple, or HBO

How to make the kinds of documentaries that will be sold to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vice, Apple, or HBO

This week, Variety reported that Netflix said it will raise $1.6 billion in debt to fund additional content in 2018. This means that Netflix is now projected to spend $7 to $8 billion on content next year. And with a half dozen other major competitors out there, this should be music to the ears of content creators. However, when we are looking at documentary financing, things aren't all roses for non-fiction filmmakers, especially novice ones.

First, of the $8 billion Netflix will spend on content, one can assume that no more than 3%, or $24 million, of this budget will be spent on documentaries. Yes, other non-fiction content might be highly paid, like Chris Rock's $40m comedy specials, but documentary doesn't work like this. Additionally, other than The 13th, created by an outstanding director with a strong track record, Netflix isn't funding documentary projects from start to finish. It is, inherently more risk appetite than Netflix (or other large companies, other than HBO) are willing to take on. 

Thus far, Netflix has paid $5 million for one documentary, Icarus. And they have paid around $2 million for several more. But again, these are all outliers, films that are in the top 0.1% for sales of documentary films made. You can look at the themes of these films to understand what Netflix wants: Crime (Amanda Knox, Making a Murderer), Sports (Icarus), Justice (Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower).

And Netflix isn't alone: Amazon paid north of $2 million for City of Ghosts (about the relevant issue of the Syrian war) at Sundance last January. Ostensibly they will have paid this much for a few more films during this year, too. 

These stats beg the question, what kinds of films are you making that have the potential to be purchased for big bucks? 

Making films that can be purchased by big companies is the major goal of OBSERVATORY. That isn't to say we don't appreciate artsy films, but they have to be commercial for us to be interested. Amanda Knox, EuroTrump, and Freedom For The Wolf are all shot beautifully. But they also are stories that resonate with millions of people on a commercial level. 

Thus, if you want to make films that are bought by large companies, you need something special: access to a person who has never given access to anyone else, knowledge of a place that nobody else has, an incredible story that only you know about that should be on the front pages. You also need to be relevant. If your story was important when you started your project, but it doesn't really matter today, you're crap out of luck.

The films that are purchased by large companies do have many similarities: they feature bold and interesting characters, are shot well, and highlight some level of controversy. You learn this in screenwriting 101: controversy sells, so don't think you can make a film without this that anyone will be interested in. What you will also realize is every team that has sold a project to a major company has someone on it who knows how to sell. 

More on this in future Observations.

 

Skillsets: Filmmakers are the ultimate entrepreneurs because every film is a startup

Skillsets: Filmmakers are the ultimate entrepreneurs because every film is a startup

As I've said before and as I'll say again, I have a great respect for filmmakers, because they are so passionate about what they do. If you aren't passionate about making amazing films, you shouldn't be in this business because there are so many other people out there who are so passionate about what they do. 

Filmmakers create startups all the time: every new film you create is a startup. Each time you start the filmmaking process you have a different business proposition (whether that's a scripted horror film or an unscripted political documentary), a different crew of people to work with (based on where your film will be shot and edited, among other things), and a different set of challenges to deal with (access, locations, cast, crew, and plenty more). Yes some of these things are scalable (e.g. finding good people and keeping them around for the next project) but there are also many times when you'll have to start from scratch again and again. 

One thing that is relatively similar time and time again is the sales process. But even that is changing as Neflix, Amazon, Apple, Youtube Red, Hulu and HBO continue to evolve. This begs the question: are filmmakers properly equipped for fundraising for and selling films? Is it necessary for filmmakers to be salespeople, or should they just leave that to other professionals? These are questions that I've grappled with for some time now and have thought through in great depth.  And thus here are my conclusions based on different stages of film production:

1. If you have connections at any studio or new media outlet to fund your film, of course use these connections. But in general, especially for up and coming filmmakers, this will be incredibly rare. I'm talking like a 1 in 1,000 chance of getting funding for your project from a studio. (Nobody has ever funded a project of mine!) And that 1 in 1,000 might not even be the most talented filmmaker. It will likely be someone who has a connection in the film business. Like other businesses, nepotism runs rampant in film. 

2. Sales Agents and Distributors exist to bridge the gap between filmmakers and the monstrous corporations that will ultimately distribute your film. However, just because you sign with an agent or distributor doesn't mean that your work is done. It is still on you to promote and PR the crap out of your film. You must create demand for this product as you must for any other product. And getting sales agents/distributors on board is a challenge, but more on this later.

3. If you can't sell your film on your own, find someone who can. The worst tragedy of filmmaking is to think you have put your time, effort, money, and skills into creating a wonderful project that only a handful of people will view. This said, the director/producer team on such a film might not have the outside connections or sales skills to get your film watched by the right people or sold. If you think this is you, write me a note and I'll have a watch to see if I can help you!

More observations coming soon...

 

 

3 Ways You Can Increase The Value of Your Issue Documentary

3 Ways You Can Increase The Value of Your Issue Documentary

There are many documentary genres that are worth discussing: true crime, music, political, and family melodrama to name a few, but today I'd like to put the focus on the "issue documentary." 

If you haven't seen the Netflix Original "The 13th" yet, you must do so immediately, for two reasons: 1. It is a fantastic film. 2. It is what I will refer to as the quintessential "issue documentary" of the 2010s.  The issue in this film is the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution that freed the slaves but also created a plethora of systems from Jim Crow to lynchings to mass incarceration that have made life a living hell for millions of black Americans. The filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, takes a harsh stand against injustices by the American government, putting numerous policies under the microscope. For this, The 13th won the 2017 Emmy Award for Best Documentary. (I'm proud to have lost to this fine film!) 

Al Gore's 2006 "An Inconvenient Truth" and his 2017 follow-up "An Inconvenient Sequel" are two further examples of issue documentaries that have attracted large audiences and potentially earned profits for their producers: The first film was made for $1 million and earned $50 million at the box office. The second was also made for $1 million and earned $4.5 million at the box office. (The reason I say potentially earned profits for the producers is there's no way to determine the marketing budget for these films, as they may or may not come out of the listed production budgets.) 

Many documentary ideas I hear about are issue documentaries. But here's the big difference between Al Gore's issue documentaries and yours: You weren't Vice President of the United States and don't have millions of dollars from Participant Media's marketing department behind you. Furthermore, you aren't Ava DuVernay and don't have a Best Director Prize from Sundance, a Golden Globe nomination, or the power of Netflix's powerful marketing and public relations departments behind you. This is a harsh reality, but let it sink in for a second, because it is true.

No film is going to be an indie smashing success without millions of dollars of marketing behind it. Of course there are studio films that spend the GDP of small countries on marketing and still flop, but in the indie world, you'll likely only get a mega marketing budget if you're film is awesome.This said, there are many things you can do togreatly increase the value of your indie issue documentary

1. Get celebrities involved: Let's say you're making an issue documentary about colon cancer, and some new treatments for it. Well, simply Googling "colon cancer celebrity" reveals a dozen celebrities who have either had colon cancer themselves or are strong advocates for colon cancer research. Such people include Katie Couric (whose husband passed away from the disease) and former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (whose grandfather also passed away from the disease). Why not reach out to these people to see if they'd be interested in narrating your film or being interviewed for it? That would be one way to inherently boost the value of your production and would make it way easier for you to get distribution down the line. 

2. Target people who care: The goal of your issue documentary might not be for it to reach every eyeball on earth; the goal might be to reach specific eyeballs, namely those people who are deeply affected by the issue you have created your film about. So, using the example above, you could organize screenings in major cities and target colorectal cancer patients to tell them about amazing new treatments that they may be able to use. This would be measurable impact. 

3. Create an issue related blog to build a community, and brand yourself as an expert. Chances are, if you are making an issue documentary, it is because you or someone you know is adversely affected by the issue. Furthermore, from your filmmaking you likely know quite a bit about your subject. Thus, creating a resource where people can go to discover more relevant information about the issue at hand is a natural way for you to build a solid, caring audience for your film.