I love Kevin Smith’s attitude towards modern movie distribution. If you’re like most independent filmmakers, what Kevin was able to accomplish from his days of Clerks has been amazing. Back then, he not only dreamed the Sundance Dream, but he realized the dream as well.
With an independent movie market saturated with competition, producing a movie and finding a traditional distribution deal is increasingly challenging. After failing to garner a traditional distribution deal for my first feature, like a lot of filmmakers, I had to establish my own marketing company. And through the process, I figured out how to market and sell my movie online.
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.
“If you want to make a living making movies, you need to realize that your library and the subsequent audience you source (over your career) are your major assets. And, as a result, your most important filmmaking focus (aside from doing good work) is to acquire and keep a customer,” he emphasizes.
One of the most important filmmaking strategies you must adopt in this era of modern moviemaking is a long term perspective. In years past, filmmakers focused on making one movie, selling it and then moving on to the next movie.
The traditional independent filmmaking business was defined by a filmmaker finding a script, locating investors, raising money, making the movie and then landing an awesome distribution deal – and living happily ever after. Over the last few years, the entire model of indie filmmaking has gone Topsy-Turvy…