A lot of filmmakers wait too long before distributing their films. The real secret is being able to weigh all deals, but also get your movie to market fast. And I’m speaking from experience. I’m pretty sure we lost over to $20,000 (probably more) by not taking action and distributing our first feature when we should have.
Opportunity cost simply means that if you choose one direction, it’s impossible to take the other direction at the same time. Or in the case of film distribution – If you spend all year doing NOTHING with your movie, then you’ve lost potential opportunity to market directly to your audience.
After working with well-over 100 filmmakers on their film distribution strategies, I am now of the opinion that rather than waiting all year for a dream distribution deal (that probably will not materialize) it may be much better to get your movie to market fast.
To understand my reasoning, consider that two things are going to happen:
1. You’re going to wait at least seven months before you get your movie to market.
2. In those seven months, people will forget about your movie.
Speaking from experience, when news of our first feature went viral, thousands of raving fans flooded our website. At the time we were Ill-equipped to handle the influx. We had no lead capture system in place and our social media strategy was non-existent.
Because we were so focused on landing a dream distribution deal, we had no idea we were missing opportunity.
Get Your Movie To Market Fast
Like many filmmakers, we were stuck in the old distribution paradigm.
We thought we had to wait for permission to sell our movie. We thought self-distribution was too challenging. And in all this debate, we wasted valuable time and lost hundreds of sales.
We learned some tough lessons in the process. And thankfully, times have changed.
Video on demand has created a gazillion ways to sell your movie. And as an entrepreneurial filmmaker, you know the importance of sourcing your own audience. You also know that social media engagement is essential. And if you have done a good job, thousands of people are eagerly awaiting the release of your movie.
Encoding And Delivery Burns Valuable Time
For all the technological advancements, modern film distribution is strangely still inefficient.
For example, in order to get your movie onto iTunes, you will need to go through an iTunes approved aggregator. At this point, you have two options. You can either work with an aggregtor directly. Or you will need to work with a sales agent, distributor or a distribution service who has a relationship with the iTunes approved aggregator.
The aggregator will then compile and deliver your movie source file and assets (artwork, closed captions, metadata, et al) to an iTunes approved encoding house. Once there, your movie will then undergo a process whereby each frame of your movie is carefully scrutinized to make sure it passes quality control.
If there are technical hiccups, the encoding team will evaluate and determine the likelihood of a repair in-house.
If the encoders determine your movie can be repaired in-house, they will place your movie in a queue. A technician will then work to repair the source file. And assuming the repair is successful, your movie will once again reenter the encoding process.
If all goes well, your movie will be audited for an eventual delivery to iTunes. And once your movie gets to iTunes, Apple will conduct their own quality control and review. This can take an additional three to six weeks depending on their capacity.
How To Get Your Movie To Market Fast
The truth is, nobody cares about your movie more than you. Even your most enthusiastic fans are dealing with a gazillion other life distractions. And the longer you wait to get your movie seen and selling, the more you run the risk of losing touch with your audience.
Of course, only you can determine if now is the time to get your movie to market. And this will come after debating with the other producers, taking endless meetings with the acquisitions folks who keep telling you that they have the best solution. So the real question is, how will you get your movie to market fast?