Deano’s answer to: “What is harder to produce: a film or a startup? Why?”

The answers thus far highlight a glaring issue for me: it's an apples and oranges comparison.

A startup and a product/app/service are two different things, in the same way that a production company and a movie are two different things.

In that context, I would suggest that the majority of small/nascent production companies ARE STARTUPS, with a lot of the same constraints on cashflow/competition for talent/being crushed by missing time to market/etc.

If you are a production company with a terrible bomb movie, and you don't die, you most certainly "iterate" on your processes and/or pivot on your next film to eliminate previous problems and enhance any USP you may have.

Taken at the product side of things, I'm a little more in agreement with the idea that "based on the scale required, getting a tech/web startup app/service from zero to break even is much less daunting a prospect.

Then again, the chances are that a movie that got to "real" breakeven by the time it hits, say, DVD release, is bound to do MUCH better over the course of its salable lifetime than the average startup's breakeven site/product/service. So, "easier" to produce may not translate into easier to monetize, for example.

Overall, I'd say the main stumbling block for most entrants in either arena is "what happens when you fail", and as others have mentioned or implied:

  • if you fail in Hollywood there's probably someone younger/hungrier/more in vogue to jump in and take your place doing more or less the same job, producing films that are viewed as unique.
  • In Silicon Valley, it's a bit different – the people are treated more as unique entities, and it is the companies/products that are lumped together as winners/losers in various categories.

All of the above assumes more of a "traditional Hollywood" scenario – but as the recent Netflix deal indicates (not to mention a bevy of fairly successful youtube-originated shows), it's becoming easier to produce good quality entertainment at lower price points (though, admittedly, in non-traditional formats). So, I'd say based what we're seeing over time, and projecting into the future, the parallels between movie production and startup launch are going to outweigh the differences more and more five to ten years from now.

What is harder to produce: a film or a startup? Why?

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