Download This Sell Your Movie Checklist

Film distribution is changing fast. What worked in the old days, doesn’t work anymore. And if you’re looking for information on how to sell your movie, you’ve come to the right place!

Since you’re reading this article, I’m guessing you are one of two types of filmmakers. Either you made a movie or you are working towards your next movie. In both instances, learning about film distribution – specifically coming up with a strategy to get your movie seen and selling is essential.

I don’t need to tell you that making a feature film is a feat that many find impossible.

In order to make a feature film, you have to put together a cast and crew, refine your script, find some funding and in the process, you have to figure out how to ignore all “advice” that your friends and family share with you… About how it can’t be done.

But behind all the excitement, you and I both know there is one nagging question on your mind. And it is the same question asked by every independent feature filmmaker.

Sell Your Movie

Photo © Nebojsa Bobic / Dollar Photo Club

You’re wondering: “How am I going to sell my movie!”

That is a good question. And if you’re crossing your fingers to hopefully sell your movie for a huge paycheck and a three-picture Hollywood deal, what I’m about to share with you may be a bit different than what you’re hoping for. Ready?

While there are a lot of distributors out there who would like to tell you otherwise, most films DO NOT make money in a traditional distribution deal! (I’m serious here.)

Getting your movie seen and selling is really up to YOU!

Whenever I say something like this in my talks, invariably someone shouts across the room:

“Making a movie is hard enough. How do you expect me to become my own distributor?”

This is a fair question. And after making a movie, then doing the festivals and not receiving a deal, you can get pretty tired. I totally understand that. This is why a lot of filmmakers give up on their movies or take a crappy deal. But I want to help you avoid this.

>>Give me the “Sell Your Movie” checklist!<<

How To Sell Your Movie

Here’s the thing. There are a lot of crappy movies getting made each year. Thanks to technology, any person with a thousand dollars can grab an HD camera and create a backyard indie. And while this does not guarantee quality, it does create a market flooded with cheaply produced movies.

Add the fact that DVD is almost dead, and your odds of finding a traditional distribution deal (that actually pays you good money) are dramatically decreased. For most filmmakers, this revelation comes as a shock.

Where is my million dollar check?

Look. I can’t promise your movie will make money. Some movies make a lot of money. Some movies make about zero dollars. But I can tell you advances in VOD distribution and internet marketing offers hope. . .

There is hope if YOU are willing to DO the work.

Most filmmakers are NOT willing to do the work. In fact, most filmmakers would rather give up on their movie. . . Hopefully we’re not talking about you. You owe it to yourself and your investors to explore all options and come up with a solid marketing and distribution plan.

If you want to sell your movie, you need to create a distribution strategy that YOU control. This is a new way to think. In the old days, the mere mention of self-distribution was a crazy notion.

DIY? Isn’t Do It Yourself for losers?

That is how I used to view the world. If it wasn’t for the internet, I would probably have a whole different perspective on how to sell your movie. I’d probably tell you to take ANY distribution deal. But times have changed. Like you, our first feature was met with empty distribution promises and crappy deals.

So by necessity, we started to sell our title on Amazon 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 of 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. We had no formal, traditional distribution deal. (We had offers, but nothing that actually paid money.)

Adding to this, most people on earth had never heard of our movie (including you.) But then we made another sale. . . And then a third. . . And then a dozen. . .

That was back in 2006. Since that time, our first feature has sold in ways we never imagined. And while the money we made on the movie wasn’t enough to pay for early retirement, I can’t complain.

The truth is, we were onto something before most other filmmakers. And this experience forever changed the way I view movie distribution. Prior to making my first feature, my “sell your movie” strategy always revolved around one BIG payday.

But I am now of the opinion that making money as an indie filmmaker is more about making a bunch of small movies and getting each one to pay you a little each month. These days filmmakers need to create good work, find their target audience and focus on sell movies consistently over time.

For many filmmakers, this sort of sell your movie talk might seem crazy. Think about it. In years past, filmmakers only self distributed their movies when they had to. It wasn’t a choice! But these days, taking time to learn how to sell your movie makes sense. And that’s why I put together this checklist.

These days you can choose to sell your movie, because nine times out of ten, making your title available on Amazon and iTunes and other popular VOD marketplaces can potentially pay more than a traditional deal.

Remember, a deal that pays zero is not a deal.

(Of course I’m expressing my opinion.)

The sell your movie checklist should be considered a good start.

Can I ask you a favor?

If you like this checklist, can you kindly tell your filmmaking friends to check it out? Moving forward, let’s set some expectations. The purpose of this guide is for you to grab at least one useful film distribution or movie marketing tip. If you do this, then we can both be happy.

That’s it. Easy, right? As always, if you have questions about anything in this guide, please feel free to contact me. I love it when I find out how these tips have helped you get closer to your filmmaking goals! Like I said, if you take time to study this guide, you might get a tactic to help you sell your movie.

>>Give me the “Sell Your Movie” checklist!<<

I hope you enjoy this brief guide to getting your movie seen and selling. And if you really like this information on how to sell your movie, please share it with every filmmaker you know. They will thank you for it!

How To Sharpen Your Movie Hook (So You Get Noticed)

Have you ever wondered why finding movie investors is challenging? Have you ever wondered why landing an awesome distribution deal is reserved for a just few movies per year?

And have you ever wondered why some crowdfunding campaigns are a tremendous success while other campaigns die in quiet obscurity?

The reason is simple. . .

And I’m going to blunt.

These movie projects fail because nobody cares about them.

Find_Your_Movie_Hook

The reason nobody cares is because the filmmaker never took time to plan out a marketing, sales and distribution strategy that actually makes people want to see the movie.

Your movie marketing and distribution strategy begins with sharpening your movie hook.

What Is Your Movie 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 love and loss. . .

STOP!

A long description is confusing.

A confused mind doesn’t buy (or invest) in your movie.

To sell your title, your movie must be distinct and memorable.

In business they have this thing called USP. A USP is your “unique selling proposition.” It is the one distinction that makes people buy one product over the next. In Hollywood we call this your movie hook.

And without a strong movie hook, most filmmakers find themselves lost in a sea of other filmmakers clamoring to rise above the noise of mediocre movie making.

You need to make your movie REMARKABLE.

What do I mean by remarkable?

Here’s a brief story to explain how your movie hook influences word of mouth.

Picture this:

Let’s say you’re at a party. You chat with someone and they ask you about your movie.

Your Response: It’s about this guy who falls in love with a woman. Then they have issues. They break up. Then they get back together. It’s really a romantic comedy marketed to every man, woman and child in the world.

Do you see the flaw here? There is no real movie hook.

Do you understand how there is absolutely nothing in this description that makes me want to share your movie idea with other people?

And let’s use another example. Let’s say we start talking and you find out I love martial arts and that I’m really into Bruce Lee. In response, you tell me about the original Ip Man movie. (Ip Man was Bruce Lee’s mentor.)

Then you pull out your phone and share the following fight scene with me:

You can bet I’m going to remark about this. (I might even figure out a way to add it to a Filmmaking Stuff article about finding a movie hook so thousands of people can see my remarks.)

The point here is this. You can have the best movie in the world, but nobody will care about your movie until they care about your movie.

And you have to make them care.

The only way to make people care is to show them something remarkable. And the only way to do that is to make sure there is market for your movie and that you have a sharp movie hook.

In the Ip Man example above, the market is: Martial Arts Movie Enthusiasts.

The movie hook is: The story of Bruce Lee’s Mentor

How To Find Your Movie Hook

Finding your movie hook revolves around taking your broad movie concept and distilling it down to the bare, yet memorable essentials.

For example, let’s say your movie hook is described as “A boxer fights for the title.”

Obviously this is a succinct log-line, but it lacks memorable detail.

So your next job is to incorporate some flavorful elements into your movie hook.

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.”

Can you guess what movie I’m describing?

With this movie hook example, you can see how the extra detail adds sizzle to the description.

Taking time to sharpen your movie hook 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 keywords will help you jump-start your internet search engine optimization campaign.

Finding your movie hook is the start of your movie marketing. Once you have a movie hook, you can then answer the next, very important marketing questions. Take a moment to answer:

  1. Who Is Your Target Audience?
  2. How Large Is Your Target Audience?
  3. How Will You Reach Your Audience?
  4. What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
  5. How Many VOD Sales To Break Even?

For many filmmakers, the benefit of creating a movie hook, as well as marketing, sales and distribution plan saves TONS of headaches when you actually take your movie to market. And putting together a distribution plan is a lot easier than you think. For more information on how to market and sell your movie, check out my newly updated distribution system at www.HowToSellYourMovie.com

Crowdfunding and Independent Movie Distribution

A few weeks back I gave a talk and was surprised that many filmmakers in attendance had never heard of crowdfunding.

If you are one of those filmmakers, crowdfunding provides you with the ability to reach out to your social networks and solicit your contacts for financial sponsorship.

Crowdfunding and Independent Movie Distribution

In this “many to one” funding model, in exchange for donations, you provide various incentives. $5 dollars might get your sponsor a DVD. $500 dollars might get your sponsor an all expenses paid trip to the premier.

The other reason why I like crowdfunding is, it allows you to test a concept and source an audience from day one. In this regard, if your movie has a really sharp hook, you have the possibility of building buzz before you make your movie.

I have provided the following resources to help speed up your crowdfunding research:

Popular Crowdfunding Sites

www.indiegogo.com – Indie GoGo allows filmmakers to raise money and take whatever they get. Indie GoGo also owns a movie distribution arm called distribber.

www.kickstarter.com – This an all or nothing deal. Filmmakers either hit their goal, or they get nothing.

Distribution Tools

Assuming you are successful in your funding campaign, you will want to start thinking about your distribution strategy. To help with this, check out the following, popular distribution solutions:

www.distribber.com (my affiliate) – Owned by Indie GoGo, with a one-time upfront fee, this company allows filmmakers to access popular VOD marketplaces, in a non-exclusive deal.

Also, read this article from the Wall Street Journal – The SEC is considering lifting regulations on private offerings. In the very near future, filmmakers may be able to sell shares of ownership through crowdfunding. It’s still a long way away, but worth thinking about.

Hope these filmmaking resources help. While you’re here, sign up for my newsletter >>

 

Make Your Movie Now

Dominant learning style of target audience

Dominant learning style of target audience - Image via Wikipedia

As a filmmaker, I think the idea of producing your own work is good. I don’t really believe in asking anyone for permission to make my movies – including traditional industry executives or other producers.

I see this in Hollywood all the time. People have an idea for a movie, but instead of trying to create their own movie business, they spend days, weeks, months, and (sometimes) entire lifetimes hoping to find someone else to do the heavy lifting.

While this may seem like an easy route, it can be a very difficult path. Why? Because you are relying on other people to do the producing for you. And in my opinion that takes way too long!

Imagine you are someone who desires to open your own business. Would you do it yourself? Or would you rely on someone else to do it for you?

Example: “Hey. I got this great idea for a hardware store. If I tell you my idea and show you my business plan, will you open my hardware store for me?”

Do you understand what I mean? Trying to create a business like this would be crazy talk.

Of course if you want to open YOUR own business, YOU would open it.

So if you happen to be one of those filmmakers with tons of ideas, but no feature credits, I highly suggest you focus less on finding someone to do the heavy lifting and instead, focus on testing the market to gain a realistic approach to your projects.

To get started, ask these questions:

  1. What is my Hook?
  2. Who is my intended target audience?
  3. What is my budget?
  4. Are there enough people within my target audience to justify the budget?
  5. How do I intend to reach my target audience?
  6. How much will my sales and marketing cost?
  7. From this, what is my projected return on investment?

If you’re new to the modern moviemaking model, then you will either agree with me or you won’t. In the event you like what you’re reading, then you can become part of the modern moviemaking revolution by grabbing a copy of the official Filmmaking Stuff newsletter. To grab it, go here >>

7 Step Filmmaking Formula For Selling Your Movie Online

As a feature filmmaker, one of the biggest problems YOU have is finding a traditional distribution deal (that actually makes sense) for your movie. With each passing day, we get closer and closer to a world where DVD sales channels are being replaced by video on demand. And while we are not there yet, after spending the greater part of last weekend watching streaming content on NetFlix and Hulu, I am now of the opinion that the days of DVD distribution are numbered.

TakeActionDistributionLargeThumb-150x150As a result of this evolution, filmmakers need to quit relying on outside 3rd parties to source an audience and distribute independent movies. From now on, you need to start thinking about your movie business like any other small business. YOU will create a product, YOU will distribute your product, YOU will market your product and YOU will sell your product.

While this seems easy for some modern moviemakers, what I am suggesting represents a total paradigm shift for others. Not everyone reading this will agree with me. That is OK. But for those of you eager to embrace this brave new world of independent moviemaking, I have provided the same seven steps I use to promote my own movie business.

When applied, it is my hope that these steps serve as a nice foundation for your own VOD marketing strategy. To find out more, just click:

Step 1 – Sharpen Your Hook

Step 2 – Target Your Target Audience

Step 3 – Get Into The VOD

Step 4 – Create Your Movie Sales Funnel

Step 5 – Refine Your Trailer (And Promote It)

Step 6 – Increase Targeted Web Traffic.

Step 7 – Leverage Your Following.

If you would like more detail on any of these steps, I have created a product that includes both an action guide and Mp3 Audio. You can learn more about it by going here: www.HowToSellYourMovie.com