Are you making a film that fills a market demand or hoping the market demands the film you’re making?
Do less, better. An overcomplicated indie that’s trying to do too much will inherently have more issues than a well-executed one of a lesser scope.
Make it as TV-friendly as possible. Do you need all of those f-bombs? Can that character get shot off-screen? A PG-13 film is always going to find a broader audience than an R-rated one.
Take the international markets into consideration at every turn. From mega-budget tent-poles to micro-budget indies, the foreign market potential is 3-4 times that of North America.
Action, female-driven thrillers, sci-fi/alien/creature, faith-based, and family content (set at Christmas and/or with a dog or horse) are consistently in demand.
Almost always, the success of a film is based on the marketability of its cast. Scrap the Technocrane, and get a more famous actor.
Forget the phrase “just get it in the can.” Each stage of the process needs to consider all subsequent stages. Don’t make a mistake on step 2 that you don’t realize until step 9.
Shoot your movie in 1.78:1 (16x9). Chances are your distributor is going to make you deliver a 16x9 version anyway, so you may as well frame for it instead of cropping every shot in post.
Screening at film festivals is not a distribution strategy and is often better suited later on to promote the commercial release.
Usually, by the time a distribution deal goes bad, it’s too late to start over with a new company, so it’s important to get into the right deal with the right partners from the onset.
If you get to make a second film, your first one was a success, no matter how well it did critically or commercially.