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Do you want to build a snowman?

Do you want to build a snowman? The parents among you will either love hearing this question or it will trigger a psychotic rage. I’m still in the former camp, but can see how the antics of Anna and Elsa might elicit a violent response after the 327th viewing.

If you’re not quite up to speed with children’s movies, I’m talking about the Disney blockbuster Frozen; a movie inspired by The Snow Queen. As at the time of writing, Frozen has earned a worldwide total of $1,245,054,227 making it the fifth highest grossing film of all time and the highest ever earning animated movie. Personally, I think it’s rather good and included the main song, Let it Go, on the playlist which helped me through my recent 50 mile ultra marathon. “The snow glows white on the mountain tonight.” Epic.

Movies are big business. They are also subject to a change in the way we consume media. Until quite recently, you might have driven to your local Blockbuster (or Village Video, if you lived here in Cranleigh) to rent a VHS tape or DVD. And then along came Amazon which made buying DVDs a slightly easier proposition than renting them. This was superseded by Love Film which offered rentals by post. Now it is all about renting or buying movies through Internet enabled set-top devices, such as Apple TV.

One area of the movie business which has boomed in recent years has been documentaries. Documentary filmmaking has a long history, with early film pre-1900 dominated by the novelty of showing an event, such as a train entering a station. Those were heady times indeed. Modern documentaries really took off in the box office with hits such as Super Size Me, March of the Penguins and An Inconvenient Truth. The highest grossing documentary to date has been Fahrenheit 9/11, with lifetime gross earnings of $119,194,771. It’s not quite in Frozen territory, but with low production costs it is a very profitable.

Inspired by several excellent documentaries such as Blackfish, This is War, Forks over Knives, and Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, I set out to turn my latest idea for a book into a project for the big and little screen instead. With a keen interest in photography, my shopping list for movie making kit wasn’t as long as it might have been, and like with anything these days, all of the knowledge you need to film, edit and produce a documentary about be found online.

I believe Financial Planners should increasingly turn to video in an effort to connect with new and existing customers. The written word is great and I’m a big fan. Only video however lets people see the whites of your eyes, hear the confidence in your voice and truly engage with your knowledge. Pete Matthew is blazing a trail with video, having been doing this for more than four years now. More recently, he has switched predominately to audio content with podcasts, which are being downloaded around 250 times a day. Most importantly, Pete is generating new clients through his YouTube videos and iTunes podcasts. This stuff really works.

With barriers to entry falling like governments in the Middle East, there is no reason why IFAs cannot and should not be launching their own online television channels or directing feature-length documentaries.

I’ve got no reason to believe that my own foray into this space, a feature-length documentary called Boom!, will ever make it into the top 100 documentaries of all time, or even the top 10,000; but it is likely to earn me a couple of thousand viewers who will, hopefully, appreciate the important messages contained therein about the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement and what it means for all of us. Plus I’m currently crowdfunding the post-production of the project, using Kickstarter, which gives IFAs the opportunity to get into the movie business without lifting a finger. You can check this out at and any support is most welcome.

Movies about Financial Planning might never compete with Fahrenheit 9/11 or Frozen. We shouldn’t expect them to. They can and will reach a valuable audience and engage with them about the importance of Financial Planning. So, do you want to build a new movie genre?

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