Tag: Film Distribution
The Seattle Office of Film + Music has a monthly speaking series. In September 2013 they asked me to talk about some of the new developments in film financing and distribution. At the time, I had been giving a lot of thought to why I had not made a new feature film in some time and whether the conditions that had made financial success in independent feature films nearly impossible for the past few years were possibly changing, and if so, what new tools and strategies might help create success today. When I mentioned this to then Director of the OF+M James Keblas and Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard who had asked me to speak, they were very interested in the idea.
The film industry loves hyphenates: Writer-director; Actor-producer; Actress-model-whatever. (Television just runs words together turning producer-editor into “preditor.”) It’s time for a new hyphenate to take the stage: the producer-distributor.
Of course studios have distributed the films they produce forever. They split things up these functions into separate entities to help the creative accountants hide where the money goes, but essentially one company does both functions. However, for a long time when independent producers have done the same thing—distributing the films they make themselves—they’ve been labeled with the rather pejorative: “self-distributed film” stamp.
Self-distributed films tended to be seen as films that failed to find a “real” distributor. (This may have been an invention of the distributors themselves.) And perhaps there was some truth to this in the heyday of independent films. For the past several years, however, I’ve seen self-distributed films as more progressive and often more successful than those who partner with traditional distributors. (continue reading…)
Hi Doug. Your site is kick-ass. When I grow up I’m going to have one just like it. My question for your wise counsel: my independent film, which was mostly shunned by festival programmers for being “too light,” and then was handled briefly by a sales rep who went belly up in the latest financial meltdown, has attracted the interest of an online distributor that is one of the top two most reputable such organizations. They are asking for a six month exclusive window, are promising a nice launch with splash promos, and tie-ins with a major market, where they are a presence. Please give me your thoughts about what you would look for in any deal of this kind, I know you’ve been through this circus ride a couple of times.
Yeah, I know that circus ride well. My feature Entry Level was considered “too light” by some festival programmers. Often, I think that’s indie film code for, “a film that audiences will actually enjoy.”
Before I mention what I’d look for in an online release deal, I want to mention that there are probably three routes open to a filmmaker at your stage of the game. Depending on your film, these are the options you could consider:
If you’re burdened with a lot of extra money, you could remedy the situation pretty easily by hiring a publicist and/or film rep to try to give your film a higher profile. I’ve seen a number of indie films that garnered the acceptance and publicity they needed largely because someone had the funds to buy some attention early on in the game. (continue reading…)