The business of film
The business of film

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

The business of film

3.4 Who has the power?

There are lots of different players in the film industry, and you’ll learn about a lot of them during this course. So who’s in charge? Who has the ability to get things done?

Described image
Figure 8 The triangle of power

The triangle of power (Figure 8) suggests that there are three key ways for an individual or organisation to have the ‘power’ to get films made in the way they want to.

First, talent always has bargaining power. (‘Talent’ doesn’t mean people that are talented, it mean people who are recognised as talented, i.e. have some kind of star power.)

As in many industries, money talks. Independent films are produced on a project-by-project basis and so need money. Studios like to share the risk of their films by using outside investors. Money always brings power.

Lastly, having a distribution network or capability gives power because it grants the ability to get a film in front of audiences. Without distribution capability, no film will make any money.

Overlaying all this is the matter of reputation. This will be explored further throughout the course, but because film is a ‘deal’ business where people come together to make arrangements all across the value chain, the reputation of someone to actually do what they say they’ll do is crucial.

Do these factors seem different to those in other industries? You might want to think about this if you have experience of working in another sector. Film production is project-oriented, involving freelance workers on large complex processes and making use of lawyers to write contracts for the various agreements. There may be other industries that work in the same way and for which the power factors featured above might apply.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371