Sell your movie on iTunes, Amazon and Netflix
Like many first time filmmakers, our first feature was met with empty distribution promises and crappy deals. So by necessity, we started selling our title on the internet as both a physical DVD and a video on demand download. At first, none of the producers liked that idea.
I mean, even if a traditional deal sucks, at least there is still validation in seeing your title on the shelves at the local video store. But then we made our first sale. We thought it was an anomaly. How could we possibly make money with our movie? We had no movie stars, our production value left a lot to be desired and most people on earth had never heard of our title (including you.) But then we made another sale… And the a third. And then a dozen…
That was 2006 and since that time, my enthusiasm for video on demand distribution has only increased. These days filmmakers have a gazillion options for reaching their audience, creating community and building buzz. As your own VOD distributor you can finally get your title seen and selling without waiting for some middle-man to give you permission. And assuming you have all the necessary legal documents, releases and (possibly) E&O insurance for your movie, the following seven secret steps will help you get started today!
Sharpen Your Hook
One of the first questions people ask is, what is your movie about? While this seems like a pretty easy question, if you find yourself rambling on about a complicated, character driven story, full of people reflecting on life’s moments of love and loss, STOP! A long description is confusing. And a confused mind doesn’t buy your movie. So in order to sell your title, you must communicate your movie in a distinct and memorable way.
To do this, ask some trusted friends to watch your movie and describe it to you in one concise log-line. For example, let’s say your movie is described as “A boxer fights for the title.” Obviously this is succinct, but lacking detail. So your next job is to incorporate some flavorful elements into your log-line. Here is the same example with added detail: “An impoverished boxer is given a once in a lifetime chance to fight for the world heavyweight title.” (Sound familiar?)
With this example you can see how the extra detail adds sizzle to the description. This will help you in two arenas. Firstly, with this description, your prospective audience will immediately understand how your movie differs from all the other boxer movies. And from a marketing perspective, the words “boxer,” “fights,” and “heavyweight title” will help you to target your core audience and later, these targeted keywords will help you jump-start your internet search engine optimization campaign.
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In my next film distribution article, I will show you how to target your target audience.