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.
Digital video on demand distribution has forever changed the film acquisitions game. Suddenly access is no longer exclusive. And as a result, filmmakers can get their movies in popular marketplaces without a traditional distributor.
But just because you can access the marketplace doesn’t necessarily mean your movie will sell. But if you take time to plan out your marketing, sales and distribution strategy, you might just make a little money.
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.
Because inexpensive production technology affords aspiring filmmakers with the tools to create technically sound backyard indies, the marketplace is flooded with competing goods. And since video on demand marketplaces have no physical costs, traditional film acquisitions professionals (who once played it safe) now grab anything they can.
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 source an audience.
This means, if you are going to explore a traditional film acquisitions deal – your distributor better have a much better gameplan for reaching a desired target audience. Tweeting and sharing your movie with other filmmakers won’t cut it. Your distributor needs to have a segmented audience list.
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 promotion of your movie. At the very least, this includes building a strong social media footprint, 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. And if you have a movie you are looking to distribute, check out our sell your movie resource.