Because distribution was once discriminatory, many first time independent feature filmmakers had to hold their breath in hopes their movies would get into a film festival, buil buzz, and (hopefully) garner a great distribution deal, complete with a cash advance. But that is an outdated model.
Without a defined market or an established sales channel, it is difficult to justify financing, which makes it very difficult to pay cast and crew – which, by the way, makes it difficult to produce a movie. And assuming you can answer these questions, the problem is still economy of scale. If you can’t reach the masses (or reach enough people willing to pay for what you’re selling), how will you ever recoup your initial movie investment?
As a result of lower priced production equipment, coupled with non-discriminatory distribution, YOU can make, market and sell your movie this year and you don’t need to ask permission.
As a filmmaker, getting movies made, seen and sold sometimes seems impossible. And if you haven’t yet made your first feature, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in all the reason’s why it can’t be done.
YOU are now responsible for marketing, promotion and distribution of your movie. And inline with this strategy, you must view regional and second tier festivals as an opportunity to build your audience list. But instead of handing out postcards to other filmmakers, your marketing strategy will be smarter.
A lot of filmmakers (who do not have website traffic) are being fed the idea that “content enablers” will magically source an audience. When I wrote the post about website streaming, I did so more in response to the never-ending slew of emails I get from various PR firms trying to push the next streaming gizmo for indie filmmakers – none of which solves the blatant problem of actually getting enough people to watch the movie…
While it’s safe to provide projections – any investor with any business experience will understand that each project carries it’s own risk to reward ratio. Your goal as a filmmaker is to help mitigate these risks as best you can.
We’ve all heard many horror stories from filmmakers who were thrilled to find a distributor for their film only to find the film was mishandled, shelved or the company went under with no recourse for the filmmaker to claim their rights back. There are also distributors so coveted for their professionalism and skill at finding the right audiences for their titles that everyone wants to work with them.
I believe video on demand distribution represents freedom for filmmakers. While there are many great sales agents and distributors, I am totally bothered by the sales agents and middle-men who have taken a bottom-feeding approach to VOD. These jerks make a living trying to sucker unsuspecting filmmakers into long term video on demand deals that suck. I put together the following video to express my disgust and also provide a new hope. As a modern moviemaker, there has never been a better time to make, market and sell your movies without the middle-man.