If you’re looking to distribute your film without going broke, you’re not alone. A little while ago back I was hired by a producer to help sell a movie at the American Film Market. During the market, we were able to schedule over 20 meetings. The reason we had so much interest from distributors is because our film DID NOT actually need a distributor. This is because (in addition to having a good film) we had a plan for marketing and selling our movie, ourselves.
Taking time to do our homework and create our own marketing and distribution plan eliminated all desperation and provided us with leverage in negotiation. Because we didn’t actually need a distributor, we were able to go into each meeting with and work towards a balanced win-win.
How To Distribute Your Film Without Going Broke
Regardless of the route you choose to distribute your film, the first step of the process is to take time and answer the following questions:
1. Who is Your Target Audience?
2. How Large is Your Target Audience?
3. How Will You Reach Your Target Audience?
4. What is Your Marketing Strategy?
5. How Many VOD Sales to Break Even?
While this may seem like an overly simple task, taking time to answer these questions is worth it. My clients and I developed a plan for how we were going to market and self-distribute. By having a plan, we were able to minimize the risk for a prospective distributor and emphasize the potential upside.
In response to our plan, prospective distributors correctly perceived our movie as less risky than most. As a result, we received close to a half-dozen solid offers for the film. Some included a substantial minimum guarantee and advertising spend. (We eventually made a deal with Lakeshore.)
The truth is, my articles would be a lot more popular if all I wrote about was cameras and gear. That stuff is sexy. Learning how to distribute your film is not. But here’s the thing. The reason you can’t close your prospective investor or land a dream distribution deal is because your movie project is too RISKY. You think you’re ready for the pitch, but you’re not.
In fact, you shouldn’t be talking to anybody about your movie project until you have a clear marketing, sales and distribution strategy. This may seem extreme, but knowing how you’re going to distribute your film is essential. And I’m not saying you need to become a world class social media marketer.
You need to know a little about a lot. You need know who to hire and why. And you need to start planning this TODAY. Once you start doing this stuff, you’ll probably never consider a crappy distribution deal again. And while you’re here, go ahead and download my film distribution checklist.