Why I Hate The Words “Self Distribution” In A Video On Demand World

If you’ve been reading filmmaking stuff for any length of time, you know how much I avoid the words “self-distribution.”

The reason I dislike the term is because it makes filmmakers lazy.

It implies that somebody else is out there, ready and willing to distribute your movie.

While this was the case many years ago, video on demand has changed everything.

Here is a quick question for you: What do Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Stanley Kubrick have in common?

Through the course of their careers, all of them have built a platform. They have an audience.

Audiences know them and know their work. And the name recognition has created leverage in the marketplace. If you plan on getting your movies seen and selling, you need to start building a platform, so you can establish your brand and become a rockstar to your audience.

Filmmaking Podcasts

As a filmmaker, your time should be spent making movies or thinking about your next movie. And while this is ideal, it’s not practical. Outside of the creative process, each of us has obligations to family, our community and possibly a day job. If you do not watch it, these other obligations will consume your life and you will never make movies.

Day to day, I spend a lot of time in my car. I would venture to guess that you spend a lot of time in your car too. So I’m going to offer you a piece of advice that has worked well in helping me get closer to my filmmaking goals. Unlike a lot of filmmakers who listen to news and music, I spend my time listening to educational audiobooks and podcasts.

In my personal and very biased opinion, there are not a whole lot of good filmmaking podcasts available. So I decided to improve this and create a podcast so you can enjoy Filmmaking Stuff wherever you go. While I’m not sure how the Filmmaking Stuff Podcast will evolve, I will do my best to provide you with useful filmmaking tips and strategies.

Please feel free to subscribe to the official Filmmaking Stuff Podcast by clicking here.

Top 10 Most Influential Filmmaking Sites 2012

Making a movie is one of the greatest accomplishments in the world. As a filmmaker, taking your movie idea from script to screen is beyond challenging. In an effort to realize your cinematic vision, you may spend months and years and pushing past obstacles to make it happen. And during the process you will learn more about yourself, your craft and the business than you ever imagined.

To assist you in getting closer to your filmmaking goals, we have compiled the official list of the top filmmaking sites for 2012. The list is limited to TEN filmmaking websites. These sites were selected by their usefulness to the independent moviemaking community.

Over the years I have gotten to know many of these filmmakers personally and I believe the information these sites provide will help you realize your filmmaking success.

Filmmaking Stuff’s Top 10 Most Influential Filmmaking Sites 2012

No Film School – I have to hand it to Koo and the folks at No Film School. I have been following this site myself for a number of years and I find the no-fluff information on cameras, production equipment and filmmaking news to be timely and useful. With a team of writers and guest writers, NFS generates content daily.

Screenwriting Success – Some years ago I met veteran screenwriter Jurgen Wolff at a weekend event. In addition to writing over 100 episodes for television and several movies, Jurgen has stayed on top of industry trends and incorporates screenwriting tips geared towards indie productions. Make sure you sign up for his screenwriting newsletter.

Desktop Documentaries – Faith Fuller has been in the filmmaking, video production, news and communications industry for over twenty years and has participated in over one-thousand productions including news stories, documentaries, PSA’s and educational videos. She shares her experience for filmmakers looking for guidance, perspective and insight on documentary filmmaking.

ReelGrok – Norman C. Berns is a producer, director, teacher and film facilitator, the go-to guy when films need the wherewithal and knowhow to get going, to get better or to get back on track. Norman’s site, ReelGrok is where you find the filmmaking tools, the reels and the crews for every production job.

Film Finance Law – Gordon Firemark practices entertainment law in Los Angeles where he helps entertainment industry professionals avoid legal pitfalls. Gordon’s website features some thought providing articles on how filmmakers should protect themselves legally as well as a PodCast worth adding to your Mp3 player.

Film Directing Tips – Peter D. Marshall is a filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada. He has worked (and survived) in the Film and Television Industry for over 35 years – as a film director, television producer, and a first assistant director and TV Series creative consultant. Peter’s filmmaking site provides an abundance of resources for aspiring indie film professionals.

Sheri Candler Marketing – Through her blog, Sheri Candler provides independent filmmakers with strategies on how to build identities for themselves and their films through the use of online tools such as social networking, podcasts, blogs, organizational outreach, online media publications and online radio.

TOTBO –  Jon Reiss has produced and directed three feature films. Based on his experience with hybrid distribution strategies, he is well known for his book Think Outside the Box Office. Check out his site for information related to modern Film Distribution and marketing.

Hope For Film – Producer Ted Hope has created one of the most robust forums for sharing up to date filmmaking information. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of anything filmmaking related, such as new technology or a case study on film releasing, then Ted’s blog should be added to your favorites.

The Filmmakers Alliance – Founded by Jacques Thelemaque and Diane Gaidry, the Filmmaker’s Alliance consists of hundreds of members eager to collaborate and assist each other on film projects from script to screen. The site also features an online community where filmmakers can network and share ideas.

Three Steps For Netflix Distribution

UPDATE: You may want to read this article about Netflix Distribution

Many indie filmmakers are interested in finding out how to distribute their titles on Netflix. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to provide some details and save you headaches.

Step 1 – Verify The Netflix Database
Netflix has a proprietary, systematic approach for scouting and selecting titles for their database. And unless your title is selected for the Netflix database, Netflix will not make an offer for it. This is a circular requirement. If your title is not listed, there is not a whole lot you can do to change this.

Step 2 – Increase Queue Demand
If your title is listed in the database, the next step is increasing the “queue demand” so that the Netflix algorithm can determine the value of your title. To increase Queue Demand, you will need to organize a mini campaign that involves getting friends and your social network followers to add the film to their Netflix queue.

Step 3 – Get An Offer
Assuming your title is included in the database and you are able to increase “queue demand” then a 3rd party or aggregator (like Distribber) would approach Netflix for an offer. At this point you will either get an offer that makes sense for your movie or they will pass on your title.

Keep in mind that these offers can sometimes be much lower than anticipated – so it is important to manage your expectations.

While I think Netflix is a popular platform, some filmmakers will not want to go through the process. If this describes you, it might behoove you to check out Hulu, iTunes and Amazon as great alternatives. My guide to VOD distribution might help.

Filmmaking Podcast: Make Your Movie

The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

Logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to make your movie, you might find this valuable. I just recorded a filmmaking podcast where I share 3 tips that are NOW essential for all successful independent filmmakers.

Listen (and download)


At the end of the recording, I talk about our new new Filmmaking Book, which is NOW available through Amazon as well as your Amazon Kindle.

You NOW have two options to choose from:

[box style=”cart”]Order the Filmmaking Stuff Physical Book CLICK HERE[/box]


[box style=”cart”]Download Filmmaking Stuff Kindle Book CLICK HERE[/box]

Happy Filmmaking!

Comments are always welcome and make me feel less lonely as a filmmaker.