In the old days, the model of film acquisitions meant that you would give up your film to a distributor for years at a time, in exchange a cash advance and a back-end percentage. You would then move on to your next project and the distributor would send you a quarterly statement.
This film acquisitions model worked for generations. The value of the 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.
Digital video on demand distribution changed the film acquisitions game. Suddenly access was no longer exclusive. And as a result, filmmakers can access 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 the intent, this is a very misguided question. Inexpensive production technology now affords aspiring filmmakers with the tools to create a technically sound backyard indie. And while you may consider these movies to be “amateur” and insignificant when compared to your million dollar union shoot, virtual shelf space is infinite. Your movie revenues will be determined by your ability to source an audience.
Hubris will not help you.
Distributors are now looking for entrepreneurial filmmaker. These are filmmakers fully invested in the promotion of their movie. At the very least, this includes strong social media, consisting of a robust mailing list, Facebook and Twitter following. You must take time to think about movie as your business, complete with a marketing strategy. You must think of yourself as an entrepreneurial filmmaker.
If you have a movie you are looking to distribute, check out Chill.