Developing ideas and seeing them hit the marketplace is a RUSH 🙂 I’ve been fortunate to be involved in helping several people develop and launch their products, and the best part of the whole experience is their reaction after each step of the process is complete. To see the RUSH on their face is priceless.
In 2007 I partnered with someone and created and produced the motivational/inspirational movie ‘Pass It On’ – with the world premier in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here’s the story behind the story from concept to completion. This whole process was new for us, so you can imagine our expression of RUSH when it all came together… With an opportunity we never saw coming but jumped on immediately!
At the bottom of this post is a link to Youtube where you can watch to entire movie for free! 🙂 🙂
A Movie On NO budget…
Several years ago, there was, and still is actually, a lot of buzz about the Universal Law of Attraction (brought to us in large part by “The Secret” – although the concepts and foundations the law of attraction pre-date The Secret by ages), and how with the correct application of this Law you could manifest anything you want into your life. I think we can all wrap our wits around this concept, but we can’t lose sight of the action steps required to get the things we want out of life.
At that time, my movie-production partner and I were sitting in his car discussing this Law of Attraction. Relying on the law of attraction is a nice subject for conversation, but we mused, does anything ever really happen by just thinking about it? Eventually, we came up with the idea to make a movie that outlined the action steps necessary to live a life of abundance in four areas that are important to people: Wealth, Inspiration, Success, and Happiness.
These are the four basic areas of life in which we all want abundance. With all of our personal and business successes on our side, we decided to venture out to make a movie and Pass It On was born. Except that, we weren’t really in the movie-making business. Great, we thought, now what?
Understanding it’s all about who you know, especially in Hollywood, although we weren’t exactly making a Hollywood movie, we brainstormed and made a list of the people we knew and where and how they might fit in with our project. My partner knew several motivational speakers, and we both knew an author or two. I pulled in a nationally-syndicated radio personality, and I negotiated an agreement from a friend, whose father owned a movie and TV studio, to use their facilities at a reduced cost. We started the entire project without a budget, and we were right on budget.
As we viewed it, if we would have put together a budget, who was going to invest in a couple of guys with no movie-making experience? And who would invest in making a movie that quite possibly would only communicate to a niche market? So instead of spending time and money looking for money, we went into immediate and massive action to create the movie and contact people to be in the movie, (the talent).
You Have An Obligation!
Now, we were suddenly in the movie-making business and we never looked back. We developed Pass It On, a motivational movie, in which leaders in their respective industries, tell us how they do what they do to live a life of abundance. Everyone, who contributed to the project, was compensated, but not financially. The people, who were onscreen and talking about success principles, were given 100 free DVDs to sell at a profit and the availability of 1000 more, at our cost of goods, to sell at a profit. The DVDs went out at an initial retail price of $29.97. All of the onscreen personalities had databases that they could market the DVDs to and each could sell many more than their allotment. A great profit margin if they sold their share of DVDs. And of course, they will have appeared in a movie!
It was a lot to ask of these people, who are normally so busy, and with their travel schedules they were hard to nail down. But we knew with the success of the Universal Law of Attraction and all the buzz surrounding it, they would at least entertain our request to co-star in a motivational movie, and this would open the door for the argument that would convince them to be in the film: “To Pass On the success principles that had gotten them where they were in their lives.”
And as it turned out, when they asked why they should contribute to the project by being in the movie, I told them that although they were very successful in their own right and possibly at their peak earning potential, they had an absolute obligation and responsibility to package up their knowledge and deliver it to the masses, and to deliver it in a manner that was different than their usual seminar rooms and email blasts to their databases.
Once our talent, the people who were to be in the movie, agreed to perform and participate, I called on a DVD distribution company I had met through my friend Greg, creator of the fitness video series Buns of Steel, and set up a meeting. Producing a movie may seem simple enough, but what we were now wondering was how in the world would we distribute such a thing on a mass distribution scale? We were bootstrapping the movie production, and we were not in the business of DVD distribution. And this would be a direct to DVD production, with a world premier in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Soon, I told my partner that I needed a copy of every book that each of our stars had ever written, and in the event they hadn’t written a book, I needed the CDs or DVDs of their respective lectures, programs, or courses. At this stage I had nothing else to work from except their agreement to be in the film. There was no trailer yet, not even a website put together.
I went to the meeting with the distributor, driving three hours north to San Luis Obispo, California. There, I met my future distribution partners and proceeded to explain the movie project in more detail. As I pitched the movie, I told them that each of the many stars, who had agreed to co-star in Pass It On would be promoting the movie. As I mentioned the name of each of our co-stars I tossed their books, CDs, and DVDs onto the conference room table. They asked how I persuaded Brian Tracy, Les Brown, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines, Howard Putnam, and the others to agree to participate in the movie, but I just smiled. By the end of our meeting, they had agreed to distribute it to the mass market. That’s when it hit me that we were Really in the movie making business. All this agreement and we didn’t even have a movie made and ready to distribute yet.
My partner and I had decided to not use any of our personal money from the outset. I had requested, as one of our guiding principles, that we make the movie utilizing all of the concepts taught throughout the movie. We did, however, secure several hotel rooms in Pasadena, California, with a credit card to house the talent, as they flew in from all over the country, and in two cases, flew in from around the world, to be filmed. They were to submit their travel expenses for reimbursement. As a point of interest, only three of the seventy people we filmed submitted requests for reimbursement. Our motives with the movie was not to make money, but to put out a product that would help people. Then, perhaps, the money would come. Sort of like the Zig Ziglar quote, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
We knew that if we helped enough people, we’d benefit financially. So the idea of making money was not the first thing on our mind. As time went on, a friend of mine asked if she could help. I told her the only thing missing was money, and she asked how much. I said $50,000 and she wrote a check the next day. With the $50,000, we were able to pay the hotel bill, reimburse the three travel invoices, edit a trailer from the footage we had filmed, and enter into a pre-sale phase by showing the trailer on our newly developed website, to raise more money. From there, we went on to Las Vegas, Nevada, to hold one of the largest and most attended movie premiers the city had ever seen. Over eleven-hundred people showed up, and we filled three-and-a-half theaters, and everyone had a great time. The entire process, from concept to final DVD and the premier, only took ten months. After the premier, we had a bit of graphic, soundtrack, and editing work to do, but we set and met a stiff deadline.
Toward the end of that ten-month period, a publishing company came to us and asked if they could partner with us to produce a magazine with our content and contacts. As the discussion went on, they revealed that they wanted to call the magazine Dream Makers. That name didn’t strike a chord with my partner or me because it didn’t really mean anything to us. I decided to chime in with the following suggestion, “Why don’t we call it what it is?” We knew we were working in the personal development arena, and I said, “If we call it Personal Development Magazine, we have a deal.”
With the magazine conversation finished and the deal made, and the subsequent agreements finished and signed, I realized my thought processes about the personal development category had gone like this. I knew many people build businesses, work and deliver content within the business category commonly referred to as “personal development.” But no one really owns this business category, not even Tony Robbins, who is one of the renowned figures in the field. It is not an owned business space. A friend had, at one point, suggested calling the magazine Personal Growth Magazine, but that just didn’t gel with us. Even though we were a relatively small fish in the personal development pond, I figured we had an opportunity to make a splash, and we made a splash with the movie and its adjunct magazine.
We went on to call the magazine Personal Development Magazine, and now the magazine has won two international awards, one for best new start-up in the magazine industry, and our designer won the international award for best magazine designer. As well, I accepted the 2009 Maggie Award for best online version of a print magazine. I’m particularly proud to have built the website that made the online version of the magazine accessible. The first issue hit the stands, a very short, six months after our first meeting. Fancy that. Now I’m in the magazine business. And our exit strategy for the magazine was an acquisition. We would build and then sell the magazine. This follows my philosophy of knowing that as long as I add value to another’s life on an ongoing basis, I’ll be compensated financially.
I don’t tell people what to do. I can’t expect anyone to do what I tell them to do and I realized this while filming Pass It On. I asked Marshall Thurber to look into the camera and tell people to do such and such. He told me he never tells anyone what to do, but he can say what he’s done and people can try those activities and see what kind of success they have.
In that light, I can’t tell you what to do, only tell you what I’ve done and hope you have the same or better successes than I’ve had.
Full Length Version if ‘Pass It On!’ ENJOY 🙂 🙂
Featured Image courtesy of worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net