Post-Production : Skipping the middleman by Mark Nickells

Mark Nickells

Skipping the middleman

OK. , so we have our production 99% in the can, and your distributor says." Sorry, we just don't have the funds to put your "masterpiece" on screen! ARGG!! SO CLOSE! So, why not DIRECT market, and sell direct to DVD? or pay , per view streaming services? So now the question of the decade? Has anyone here from STAGE 32 had any experience in this arena? And, if so..... How was it done? I think it's something we could all benefit from? The process to digitize your production , (for digital projectors,) is also a "SKIP" to go, as well. However, I have yet to tie down any person / or resource to answer this question... Any one here have the information? Thanks,

D Marcus

When you skip the distributor (middleman) then you become the distributor. You must contact each outlet and pitch your movie to them. It's a numbers game. You could hire an agent; also called a Sales (or Producers) rep. If you can find one who believes in your film as much as you do they will work on a percentage. If not, you can pay them to reach out to their contacts. They do the work so you don't have to. Then there's self-distribution. Using something like CreateSpace. Of course you then have to be the middleman - the advertising agency - to get the word out. Just because your movie is available doesn't mean people will find it. Think about how many movies made by people you don't know starring actors you have never heard of that you have paid to buy or watch. Then think back to how you found those movies. The cost of advertising is what distributors are talking about when they told you they don't have the money to put your movie on the screen. And it's not much less expensive to get a paying audience to a self-distributed movie.

Michele Hjorleifsson

Or you can distribute it through Amazon, iTunes etc and then just do promotion if you want a straight to buyer solution and skip the theaters

Ken Koh

You can do it all yourself, it's called 4 walling. Now it's easier than ever with programs like, it's sort of a kickstarted for getting your movie into theaters. A lot of filmmakers are doing self distribution including myself. Key is to have a methodically step by step approach to distribution and knowing your audience. Film festivals are a major part in your distribution strategy. Target film festivals that cater more specifically to your film's genre, attend as many as you can afford to build publicity and collect reviews. Start with the biggest Tier Festivals and work your way down to smaller ones. 4 weeks before attending any festival, write up a press release and email/mail to all the local press, radio, tv in the city you're attending. It's worth spending $500 for a professional publicist to do it for you simply because they have the relationship established with the media. The press release should include all information about the film, cast, crew, you, and request for radio, tv, print media interviews. Invest in printing 1000s of postcards, mini posters, business cards to distribute at the festivals, ideally you should have a team 2-3weeks before the festival 'working the city', going shop to shop distributing these postcards, posters, business cards and letting everyone know your film's playing. You should already have a slick website with everything on it including an awesome trailer. Of course social media is important, but I'm not going into that here. Yes all this is costly, therefore you do this for the biggest few festivals your attending. Narrow things down, start with 3 of the biggest festivals. If your want the biggest in the world, they are Cannes, Sundance and Toronto, with Tribeca a distance forth. You're going to be collecting all these print and video interviews that you do during the festival for your Film's Press Kit. There's too much to go into here, you'll need to research yourself. All the official film festivals selections you get into, and the reviews, your interviews will build up your film's press kit (very important). Here's a good example of a press kit: It may not be obvious, but one of the most important aspect for a successful sale is your film's artwork, the movie poster that you'll use on all the press kits, posters, post cards that you send out. You must already have an entertainment attorney to call in case a distributor approaches you at one of the festivals. Best for indie filmmakers is Guaranteed, a distributor will always try to screw you if they're interested in your film. Key to making money in self distribution is splitting up all the rights and territories. You may decide to sell theatrical rights to a distributor, and keep DVD, VOD, TV, and other ancillary windows for yourself. Here again you'll need an experienced entertainment attorney to negotiate all these contracts for you. Theatrical release first is important for your other sales, because then your film becomes a 'Movie'. Anyone can do this and profit, it's not rocket science but real pain, and super hard work. Distribution is as hard as production. Sorry gotta stop now will add more later, don't want to rant on. or maybe I'll do a step by step at some point.

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