In the old days, self distribution got a bad wrap. Before DVD and the wonders of the digital age, if people wanted to self distribute, they had to haul heavy film prints from city to city all over the country. These pioneers would negotiate profit share deals withtheater owners, rent out theaters, promote their movie all over town and sell tickets to anyone willing to fill the seats.
If the movie created a buzz, the film made money. But often, many of these movies died in quiet obscurity. Because the process was a huge risk, with a high failure rate, the whole practice of theatrical self distribution was regarded as a desperation play.
The Future Of Self Distribution
These days, movie distribution is changing. In a few years, you’ll sit down at your television and everything will be video on demand. As a filmmaker, can you imagine shooting a movie in High Definition, editing it on your computer, and once finished, uploading your content to an online based hosting site linked to people’s televisions all over the world? People in Japan, interested in your genre could push a button, pay a small fee and enjoy your work in the privacy of their living room. In return, you get a paycheck.
This, my filmmaking friends is the future. The opportunities available to independent filmmakers will soon become abundant in ways Hollywood has never experienced. The traditional Motion Picture Studio model that involves physical Film Prints and DVD sales through retail outlets and video rental stores is eroding. Just like the economical demise of record shops, children in our lifetime will never know what it’s like to peruse the isles of a video rental store.
In months to come, I hope to share the some of the wonderful opportunities available to new feature filmmakers. But for now, know this: you now control your own distribution!