Antoine Allen, Filmmaker: I got a sponsor to cover the whole AMC theater. So I made all profit and I sold so much merch and that night alone. I did like $9,000.
Film Courage: When should new filmmakers expect to make money from their movies?
Antoine: It’s up to them. When I first got in the game I started out the door. I said if I want to make this film, I’m going to rent out venues. I’m going to sell because I already had that mindset from the music business. Now some filmmakers don’t have the experience. If you’re new and you don’t know, for now just make some films until you are comfortable and then learn the business (take baby steps). If you do a short film that’s 10 minutes, there’s tons of areas you could rent out, you even do a parking lot now, do a drive-thru. That’s not that much money. So you just want to create. You want to start a pattern of not putting out a free product because then no one will pay for it.
Film Courage: You think that by putting a price tag on it, it creates value?
Antoine: Yes, because sometimes we have friends and family… Oh, I want to get a free ticket. I want to get free, free, free and then after a while you are in the free zone. It’s okay the first time, second time but you have to say to your friends and family No, listen, This is my passion. Respect my job. There’s no difference. I have a store, if you go to any of the stores, you’re going to pay for a shirt like everybody else. Pay for my product. Don’t do it because you are my friends and family. It’s $20.00. You spend all that in…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Award-winning filmmaker Antoine Allen had dreams like any other kid growing up, and it was those same dreams that allowed him to break through every obstacle in his path. Despite growing up poor in Jamaica, Queens, Allen was already rich with potential. Refusing to let this define his future, he moved forward with a passion, drive, and tireless dedication that has now become synonymous with the Antoine Allen brand.
Allen began his career in the music industry, successfully managing hip-hop artists for many years. During that time, he had several experiences that opened his eyes to the fact that he had more to offer. It was at this time that the phrase “dream big or don’t dream at all” really hit hard.
Forgoing the traditional film school route, he began educating himself on all creative, technical, and business aspects of the process and never looked back. Allen transformed himself into a successful writer, director, filmmaker and producer. He sold his first screenplay,
No Where Land an animated feature film in 2008. As an award-winning director, Allen has gone on to be involved in a variety of film and music video projects.
In the summer of 2010, Allen made his directorial debut with Split Decision a narrative short film exploring love, rejection and motivation, which he also wrote and produced. He took promotions into his own hands, launching a highly successful social media campaign. The trailer alone received over twenty-one thousand views on YouTube and countless ‘Likes’ on Facebook, all culminating in the Split Decision world premiere. The opening screening in New York City sold out. This should have come as no surprise since Allen sold out a premiere to a 3-minute music video that he had previously directed. On a personal level, the film allowed him to draw from his own experiences of beating the odds when life got tough, and was an experience that brought Allen full circle.
His most recent project, a full-length feature film Life Is Too Short (2015) premiered to another crop of sold out audiences and has been honored with multiple awards and film festivals selections.
Aside from pursuing his creative projects, Allen has devoted a great deal of his time inspiring, mentoring and giving back to his community by helping young entrepreneurs and artists achieve the bigger dreams that they have for themselves. This is a reflection of the extent and impact that one person can have within their surroundings.
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