I know what you’re saying. 1.5 million. That’s a lot of lettuce. When you hear how Christopher Rufo along with his partner Keith Ochwat accomplished this, it really makes a lot of sense. Their documentary, Age of Champions, had a simple concept. It focused on elderly olympians in their quest for gold and glory. As you can see from the trailer, as veteran documentary makers, the filmmakers also infused the documentary with just the right combination of inspiration and humor.
Christopher and Keith had previously had their work shown on channels like PBS and CNN, and even though their message went out on these national and international outlets, they were disappointed when they saw how few sales they were generating. They also tried to focus on sales to the elderly directly with little to no results. It wasn’t until they changed their strategy did they really started seeing a change. Instead of going directly to their audience, they instead focused upon institutions and publications that communicated directly to their niche audience. They not only focused on their documentary, but offered booklets and secondary materials that would add to the overall experience of their documentary and focus on things that the niche audience might find useful in addition to the film. The rest is history. Although they have also used more traditional VOD outlets, it was that initial thrust and the exclusivity of buying off their website that allowed them to not only control the price of their product, but to determine the best way to bundle it together and control the entire process from start to finish. They were also able to generate a giant email list and know exactly how many people were buying their product.
Here are a few segments from the Filmmaker.mba program.