Get Your Movie To Market Fast

I’m pretty sure we lost over to $20,000 (probably more) by not taking action and getting our movie to market. Seriously, there is this concept in business called opportunity cost.

It simply means that if you choose one direction, it’s impossible to take the other direction at the same time. Or in the case of film distribution – If you spend all year doing NOTHING with your movie, then you’ve lost potential opportunity to market directly to your audience.

After working with well-over 100 filmmakers on their film distribution strategies, I am now of the opinion that rather than waiting all year for a dream distribution deal (that probably will not materialize) it may be much better to get your movie to market fast.

To understand my reasoning, consider that two things are going to happen:

1. You’re going to wait at least seven months before you get your movie to market.

2. In those seven months, people will forget about your movie.

Speaking from experience, when news of our first feature went viral, thousands of raving fans flooded our website. At the time we were Ill-equipped to handle the influx. We had no lead capture system in place and our social media strategy was non-existent.

Because we were so focused on landing a dream distribution deal, we had no idea we were missing opportunity.


Get Your Movie To Market Fast

Like many filmmakers, we were stuck in the old distribution paradigm.

We thought we had to wait for permission to sell our movie. We thought self-distribution was too challenging. And in all this debate, we wasted valuable time and lost hundreds of sales.

We learned some tough lessons in the process. And thankfully, times have changed.

Video on demand has created a gazillion ways to sell your movie. And as an entrepreneurial filmmaker, you know the importance of sourcing your own audience. You also know that social media engagement is essential. And if you have done a good job, thousands of people are eagerly awaiting the release of your movie.

Encoding And Delivery Burns Valuable Time

For all the technological advancements, modern film distribution is strangely still inefficient.

For example, in order to get your movie onto iTunes, you will need to go through an iTunes approved aggregator. At this point, you have two options. You can either work with an aggregtor directly. Or you will need to work with a sales agent, distributor or a distribution service who has a relationship with the iTunes approved aggregator.

The aggregator will then compile and deliver your movie source file and assets (artwork, closed captions, metadata, et al) to an iTunes approved encoding house. Once there, your movie will then undergo a process whereby each frame of your movie is carefully scrutinized to make sure it passes quality control.

If there are technical hiccups, the encoding team will evaluate and determine the likelihood of a repair in-house.

If the encoders determine your movie can be repaired in-house, they will place your movie in a queue. A technician will then work to repair the source file. And assuming the repair is successful, your movie will once again reenter the encoding process.

If all goes well, your movie will be audited for an eventual delivery to iTunes. And once your movie gets to iTunes, Apple will conduct their own quality control and review. This can take an additional three to six weeks depending on their capacity.

How To Get Your Movie To Market Fast

The truth is, nobody cares about your movie more than you. Even your most enthusiastic fans are dealing with a gazillion other life distractions. And the longer you wait to get your movie seen and selling, the more you run the risk of  losing touch with your audience. So the real question is, how will you get your movie to market fast?

One easy solution is to put your movie into one of the many players available, set a price and then drive targeted traffic to your Buy Now button.

Of course, only you can determine if now is the time to get your movie to market. And this will come after debating with the other producers, taking endless meetings with the acquisitions folks who keep telling you that they have the best solution. But in the end, no matter what, the one thing that matters most is YOUR audience. Because without an audience, you really have no business!


  1. Jeff H says

    Just wondering. Is there a way to skip the aggregators and go strait to the encoding house? Or is this strait to iTunes and we cannot do that? WHy it cost so much? All they do is watch the movie and make sure it fits the specs right?

  2. Hanna says

    Thank you for this article, it’s very interesting! I wonder about the risk of selling the film early through on demand. Won’t the film be downloaded and put for free on the internet by somebody? I saw a documentary that had a wide spread in small cinemas in different countries and the filmmakers earned a really good amount of money, but as soon as they released the film on dvd (people were asking for the dvd for years but the filmmakers wanted to wait) someone put it on youtube within a day. Won’t the same happen if the film is released on on demand? Have a great day!

  3. says

    An iTunes approved aggregator (or sub-aggregator or distributor) will work with an iTunes approved encoding house. The encoding house will perform an internal QC on your title. If anything does not pass – you will be notified and issued with a QC report. Many encoding houses will attempt to fix your issue in-house… But if they are unable to do so, you will have to go back to your source, fix it there and resubmit.

    You cannot submit directly to iTunes. You will have to go through an approved encoding and QC process.

  4. Milos K says

    I like this article. I just wonder how in reality how much work the aggregator performs. For me personally, as a future filmmaker – I’d like to know what steps do they go through and what technology they use during the course of testing of the copy for Itunes distribution.

    I’d like to do the post and mix mostly by myself, especially cutting budgets on mastering house services. I’m sure that I won’t be sure what went wrong if the film didn’t pass the QC process and I wouldn’t even get appropriate feedback from engineers, neither any recommendations or tips for future.

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