The old model of film acquisitions meant that you would give up your film to a distributor for years at a time, in exchange for a cash advance and a back-end percentage.
You would then move on to your next project, and the distributor would do “all that business stuff” and send you a quarterly statement. This film acquisitions model worked for generations. Back then, the value of a Film Acquisitions deal revolved around access.
Distributors could get your movie into theaters, video stores and big box retailers like Wal-Mart. And because placement in these marketplaces required significant upfront investment, only a select few movies garnered a distribution deal.
Confessions of A Film Acquisitions Executive
Digital video on demand distribution has forever changed the film acquisitions game. Access to the marketplace is no longer exclusive. And as a result, filmmakers can get their films in popular marketplaces without a traditional distributor.
It is at this point when filmmakers ask me: “How much money can I make in digital?” While I understand why someone would want to know how much can be made in digital, this is a very misguided question.
Inexpensive production technology has allowed filmmakers to flood the market with backyard indies. And because video on demand marketplaces have no physical costs (you don’t need to produce and ship DVDs), traditional film acquisitions professionals (who once played it safe) now grab everything.
So let me be clear…
Film distribution is NOT your problem. In fact, film distribution is a commodity. Virtual shelf space is infinite. And as a result, your movie revenues will be determined by YOUR ability to reach a rabid audience interested in your type of film.
If you decide to explore a traditional film acquisitions deal – Your distributor better have a much better game-plan for reaching a desired target audience than you. Otherwise, why bother? The truth is, Tweeting and sharing your film with other filmmakers won’t cut it.
Hubris will not sell your movie.
To become a successful filmmaker, stop incorporating the prospect of film acquisitions into your business plan. Instead, think of yourself as an entrepreneurial filmmaker.
This means you must become fully invested in the creation AND promotion of your film. At the very least, this includes building a strong social media footprint, a robust mailing list and a social media following.
Take time to think about your film as your small business, complete with a marketing strategy. You must think of yourself as an entrepreneurial filmmaker. And if you have a film you are looking to distribute, check out our sell your movie resource.