Digital Self Distribution: How To Sell Your Movie Online

Smart movie distributors are eager to work with filmmakers who can demonstrate an ironclad digital self-distribution plan. In other words, film distributors seek projects that don’t need a distributor. Many distributors pay for this privilege.

Distributors have always worked to acquire projects that offered the lowest risk and the highest reward potential. In the past, a low-risk project had a name actor with a ton of international value. These days, because film distribution is increasingly online, a low-risk project is one with a famed YouTuber.

A distributor naturally assumes the YouTuber will promote the movie to their audience. And by having a famed YouTuber, a distributor does not have to pay marketing money to build word of mouth. Less money spent on marketing equals a lower risk for the distributor. And this means a lot more reward for you.

Digital Self Distribution

Digital Self Distribution: How To Sell Your Movie Online

But what if your movie doesn’t have a famed YouTuber or a movie star? After months and months of hustle, the reality of how you’ll garner ROI (return on investment) might be slightly different than the idealized imaginings of the three-picture studio deal you once had.

The reason for this is simple. Your project is too risky.

So, your first order of business is to lower the risk and increase the potential for reward. And that starts by creating your digital self-distribution plan. Here are five tips to help:

1. Find your USP: USP is short for Unique Selling Proposition in marketing. And if you can’t market your move based on celebrity, the next step is to leverage whatever makes your movie unique, exciting, and memorable. Do you have a cutting-edge horror movie? Ninja movie? Girl with a Horse movie? Or a food documentary on why you should quit meat for a plant-based diet? Great!

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2. Focus on Controversy: What aspect of your story provokes an emotional response? Think of how politicians market during a political campaign. Most folks either hate the message, or they love it. Does your movie make a polarizing statement? Is there anything about your film that makes some people dislike it while others LOVE it? Great. Use controversy to spark word of mouth.

3. Create a Marketing Plan: Creating a marketing plan is less complex than you think. Just answer these questions: Who is your target audience? How will you reach your target audience? Based on your budget, how many unit sales will it take you to break even? How will you make this happen without losing money?

4. Update Your Marketing: When I evaluate movies for distribution, the ones that grab my attention look professional. I instantly know what the movie is about and where it fits in the genre. Branding is the marketing equivalent of matching your belt with your shoes. Look at other films in a similar genre. Make sure you present your film like a “real” movie. Hire a graphic designer.

5. Digital Self-Distribution Platforms: Even if you are seeking a traditional deal, you should simultaneously plan your release strategy as if you do not have an agreement. This means getting to know some DIY platforms. You might do film festivals or use Tugg for your theatrical release. You might then consider some transactional video-on-demand platforms. If you don’t land a favorable distribution deal, you’ll still enter the market.

You can no longer make a movie on spec. Please cross your fingers, and I hope a deal finds you. You have to find your deal. But unlike years past, you are no longer limited. You can leverage technology to market your movie directly to a global audience. And that’s what digital self-distribution is all about.

Want to plan your distribution strategy? Check out my digital self-distribution system.

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ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

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