Let's talk about risk
I loved Train Spotting, Amelie, Juno, Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and so many other incredible independent films. But, would I have invested in them? Sadly, no. Not unless I could afford to lose the money. While it is easy to see, with hindsight, how fabulous these films were, it is impossible to know ahead of time how an audience will respond to unusual films like that. They are inherently risky and you have to take your hat off to the courage of those who make them, because sadly, most of them fail.
The major Hollywood studios, on the other hand, Warner, Disney, Fox, Paramount et al, are still with us after all of these years, and still making enormous profits. They play safe and use an impressive array of 'predictive analytics' to asses risk, but it's hardly rocket science. There are genres the movie going public love, in big enough numbers, to mitigate the risks.
I love art house independent films. They are almost always the most interesting, deep, thought provoking and often entertaining films of any given year. But, I have no shame in wanting to tell stories that reach a broad audience and I don't think it is too difficult to mitigate risk by using tried and tested genres while still breathing new life into them.
At the heart of Pooch is a story I truly want to tell, just little life lessons I wished I had known when I was a kid. But, once that was on the page I started thinking 'strategically' about the project as a whole. So, everything after the basic story, has been specifically designed into the project to mitigate risk and, hopefully, reach as broad an audience as possible:
Pooch is a 'kid with a dog, hero's journey,' both tried and tested genres. I'm not breaking any molds here, but the character of Pooch, as a mentally deranged AI dog with more than a few crossed wires, hopefully, makes him feel new and interesting.
Pooch is an animation, a really popular format that reaches a massive audience. Also, with today's technology, it can be really low cost to make, while looking stunning and giving a really exciting ride. If you keep an indi filmmaker mindset the film can get back in the black really quickly.
Also, a low 'production' budget means more attention can be paid to promotion.
Further, and most importantly, if the characters are attractive and fun you can tell more stories with them. So, 3 or 4 feature animated films and then a possible live action version, then a possible TV series are all part of the design. The franchise potential of these characters mitigates the initial risk and is certainly part of the plan.