Do you really need a distribution company to sell your film? That’s the big question these days. And if you’re one of the many filmmakers with a feature film, hoping for a dreamy distribution deal, then it’s likely you’re operating on an outdated distribution paradigm.
While it’s important to keep your fingers crossed for a great distribution deal, success starts with you. This is because digital distribution has changed the landscape. And the filmmakers who can plan and execute their own release strategy often (ironically) get the best distribution offers.
Do You Really Need A Distribution Company?
The good news is, you now have the most amazing opportunity in motion picture history to make a film, forgo traditional distribution and monetize your own audience. The not so good news is, you need to work for it.
In order to benefit as a modern filmmaker, you will (obviously) have to make an awesome film. And once you have a finished product, you’ll need to have a plan for creating buzz. And not just buzz for the sake of buzz. But you’ll want to leverage buzz to drive targeted Internet traffic to your movie website. Then you’ll need to convert your visitors into subscribers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you need to build your own audience. If you do your homework, you’ll find your audience already exists. But in addition to your own efforts, you will want to reach out to the top fifty blogs, publications and influencers who are already serving your audience. This will help you build beneficial relationships and scale your business.
Sustainable Indie Filmmaking
The Indie filmmaking business is challenging. Inexpensive production technology combined with digital distribution has enabled anyone with a camera to produce and bring their stories to market. And even though much of this product is underdeveloped (and challenging to sit through) it still gets self-released. And this only serves to further saturate the marketplace.
The good news is, competition is NOT new. It’s been part of business since the beginning. And like any business, those with a superior promotion and product rise above the noise. With this in mind, you need to continually find ways to make your product unique and compelling. This means you’ll want to focus on story, cast and production value.
Having a marketable product will go a long way towards helping you rise able the noise. And ironically, your efforts will also gain the attention of traditional distributors. But unlike most filmmakers, because you have planned your own promotion and release strategy, you’ll have inherent leverage when it comes time to negotiate with distribution company.