Many Filmmakers, like everyone else effected by COVID-19 are itching for some level of a return to normalcy. Unfortunately, like many others think that there may never be a full return to normal. It may well end up as a pre-COVID and a Post COVID period. Similar to how the world changed before and after the great depression, 9/11, The internet, or World War II. Societal traumas tend to leave lasting scars, and that tends to effect the market as a whole and certain industries in meaningful ways. So let’s look at what one executive producer thinks is likely to happen in the film industry as a result.
Every filmmaker wants to see their work on the big screen. However, given the state of the indie film theatrical market, very few filmmakers can pull it off outside of the festival circuit. Especially for their first films. It requires a lot of skill, and an idea that appeals to a wide audience, ideally an audience you already have an in with. So how do you scale your films to that point? Well, this blog can get you started.
To cap off my first ever distribution month, I thought I’d talk a little bit about where Independent Film Distribution is heading. Markets are going to be a big center of commerce for the film industry for a few years, but they’re going to continue to wane for the truly independent filmmakers, which means one of the biggest areas for entry for filmmakers is likely to go away. With the fall of Distribber, and how Amazon looks like it’s going to scale back its filmmaker direct distribution programs there’s only one real path left for filmmakers. That path is to build an audience that’s highly engaged with your content, and distribute not only your film to them, but other products related to your Intellectual property (IP.)
It’s no longer a controversial statement that streaming has changed the whole game for independent film distribution. It hasn’t been one for quite a while. However, it is becoming apparent that not only has streaming changed the game, it might as well have become the game, at least here in the US. That’s not really a good thing for indies. Here’s why.
If you’re going to read and understand your distribution agreement, then there’s some terminology you have to grasp first. So with that in mind, here’s a breakdown of some key terminology you ABSOLUTELY need to know if you’re going to get traditional distribution for your film.
At least until recently, a lot of filmmakers assumed that they could get on any platform they needed to be on just by calling up Distribber or another aggregator like Quiver. With the fallout of the fall of Distribber, many filmmakers are wondering what they can do for distribution. So, I thought I’d share some knowledge as to what platforms a filmmaker can still get on themselves using aggregators like Quiver, and what platforms you’ll need an accomplished sales distributor, or producer’s rep to get on.
2019 was a quite a year for most of us, and while we’re entering 2020 with more stable an economic footing than we’ve expected, there are definitely some notable industry trends heating up that I thought weigh in on a bit and let those of you who frequent my tiny corner of the internet know my thoughts on the matter.
AFM this year will be interesting. Here’s the current state form someone who’s been going for 10 years, and has been a Practicing Producer’s rep for 6 years. Two quick things before we get started. First, You should definitely go to AFM at least once. It’s eye opening, and if I hadn’t done it I probably wouldn’t have a career.
Second: These opinions are mine alone, and have not been approved, endorsed, or otherwise condoned by the International Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) owner of the American Film Market. (AFM is also a Registered Trademark of the IFTA.)
Much of my job as a producer’s rep is negotiating deals on the behalf of filmmakers. However, now that I’m doing more direct distribution, I’m realizing there are several things about this process that most filmmakers don’t understand. As I tend to write a blog whenever I run into a question enough that I feel my time is better spent writing my full answer instead of explaining it again, here’s a top level guide on the process of negotiating an independent film distribution deal.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, so you’d think it should follow that you shouldn’t judge a film by its title. You would think wrong. Title is a hugely important part of your film marketing, and it should be something you think about from the very beginning, not simply as an after thought. So here’s how to go about creating a title that will stick.
If you want to understand how best to market something, you need to first understand the steps that a customer would take in buying it. This isn’t just true for film, it’s true for everything any entrepreneur might want to sell. It’s called the purchase process or purchase cycle. Here’s what it looks like for film.
As with nearly anything in life, there are dos and don’ts when you;’re dealing with your independent film distributor.. Also as with most things in life, there is (at least) one thing you can do that will irreparably harm your relationship with that distributor, and might even result in legal action taken against you. What is it? Read on to find out.
The Distributor’s job is largely to make your film available for sale, and set it up in such a way that people are likely to buy it. Some will work to market your film, but most won’t. Even when they do market your film, you helping market your work will make the marketing your distributor does much more effective. However, there are some basic rules that you should follow to make sure everything goes as well.
If you think your work is over when you finish making your film, and someone will just give you a few hundred grand more than it cost to make it so you can make your next one then you’re in for a real wake-up call. Sadly, there’s no money in making films, only in selling them, and the work of selling them is no longer solely on your distributor. Or, at least you shouldn’t count on it being that way. Here’s why.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing about and how we used to market movies, vs what works in marketing them now. So to expand on that, here are the most important things in marketing your movie in todays day and age.
Its no secret that may think film distribution is broken. While there are many reasons for it, part of it is due to the rapid change in the amount of money flowing to distributors, and what constituted effective marketing. What works for marketing films now isn't what worked in the past, and the systems distributors built themselves around have fallen apart. Here's an elaboration.
A lot of filmmakers I’ve worked with don’t know enough about distribution to really make a career making creative content. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as it’s a something film schools tend not to teach. That being said, there’a a part of the equation most people just don’t talk about, and WHY it takes so long for filmmakers to get paid. This blog addresses that.
I try to stay active in at least a few facebook and LinkedIn groups, and one question that comes up more often than I thought it would was why distributors need to know your social media numbers. The argument that generally follows is something like “just because people follow us doesn’t mean they’re going to buy our movie.” For the most part, we get that you probably have a lot of filmmaker friends, and your filmmaker friends are often surprisingly difficult to get to buy your movie. That’s not the only, (or even the primary) reason why we need to know about your social media. Here are 6 reasons why
Last week I examined the rise and fall of physical media for the film industry. As promised, this week I’ll outline WHY that matters, and the practical aspects of the current independent film industry. Well, the answer to that (and so many things in both this industry and in life) is that it’s all in how you do it. What follows is an examination, looking to lend guidance to that question. Here are the ways you can still make money with independent film.
We’ve all heard about how Physical media is dead. However, for a long time there was still a significant amount of money in DVD and physical media. In fact, DVD impulse buys are and large rental orders are a lot of what allowed the independent film industry to exist at all. TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand) has not risen to replace the revenues lost from Physical Media, so it only makes sense to try to get revenue for your film from as many sources as possible to try and cobble together an ROI from all the different pieces.
If you thought that I missed a few genres in my blog last week, it might be that they’re more classically sub-genres. The biggest difference between a genre and a sub-genre is that a genre is generally a tone or a feel of a film (and sometimes some elements related to those tones) and a sub genre is more related to Themes, Settings, Style or niche audiences that targeted largely by those themes settings, or style. Some sub-genres pair better with certain genres than others, and it’s common to have more than one in a film. More as we go through them.
So most filmmakers are at least passingly aware of the importance of genre in independent film distribution. (If you’re not, read this.) But even while most filmmakers have a cursory understanding of what defines a genre, the lines are often less bendable than many filmmakers think they are. So with that in mind, here’s what distributors mean when they say a certain genre.
Part of what I do through the consulting arm of Guerrilla Rep Media is review peoples Decks and business plans. One thing that I keeps coming up in these documents is that entirely too many filmmakers list their distribution strategy as sole their festival run. There’s a lot of issues with this line of thinking, so as I do with any question that keeps coming up I thought I would write a blog about it. So without further adieu, here’s why you probably won’t get distribution from your festival run.
Many filmmaker and even more film consumers just want to know when work will be on Netflix. In recent years, this has become more difficult than it was previously. IT used to be that it was a relatively easy sale to get on Netflix, although the money wasn’t very good. More recently, the bar has been raised substantially, and the money you get for it hasn’t increased as much as we may have liked it to. What follows is an outline of how to get your film on Netflix, both as an original and as an acquisition.
Traditional marketing wisdom states that you should offer something of value to your potential customer prior to trying to sell to them. However, this value proposition is different when you’re talking about making a film versus selling a software application. It has to be something of value to your customers, and since most of your customers are not going to be other filmmakers you’re going to need to think outside the box and offer something that people who only consume content are going to be interested in. Here’s a list of some ideas to get you started.
My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
I'm happy to offer a FREE Resource Package to anyone who joins my mailing list. You'll also recieve monthly digests of my articles and other valuable resources.
Copyright © 2019 Guerrilla Rep Media. All rights reserved