Even though the delivery materials in the first 3 parts of this blog seemed pretty thorough, there are still more that may be required to fulfill an international sale. Generally, these deliverables are only required if requested at a later date, and sometimes they’re created by the sales agents as an additional recoupable expense to be paid before the filmmaker begins taking their cut.
As with the other three parts of this installment, this list is not meant to be exhaustive. Every deliverables contract is different, and although while this may be thorough, it may still miss an item or two. More likely though, there would be things on this list you’d never have to worry about.
1. HDcamSR Masters
And you thought we moved past the the need for tapes. Think again. Not every television broadcaster in less developed parts of the world has made the switch to HD. A lot of them still run on tape workflows, so you may be required to provide an HDCamSR Master. Often, this is something that the distributor will generate through their own sources, and add to your recoupable expenses.
Generally this deliverable is only required if the sales agent is going to be hosting market screenings. If there’s a theatrical run, more may be required. Generally, the first one is pretty expensive to have done, and the others are simply the cost of a hard drive.
3. Digibeta Masters
What is this, the 80s? If you thought that Digibeta lost the format wars to VHS, you’re only half right. Digibeta was is a much higher quality format as compared to VHS, and as such it was used in broadcasting for quite a long time. In fact, it was even used in the US until all broadcasters made the switch to HD. I still have some digibeta tapes laying around my apartment from Film School. (and I’m only 31, thank you very much.)
The reason that some (admittedly thorough) sales agents put this on their as-needed deliverable lists is the same reason they put the HDcanSR on their deliverable lists. Some broadcasters (Particularly in Eastern Europe) Still use digibeta tapes as their primary workflow.
4. Clip/Footage/Stills/Bonus Material Licenses
I almost put this in the legal section, but that one was already a bit long. These are essentially licenses for any bonus materials or stills that may appear in DVD extras. Similarly, if you licensed any stock footage for the film, you’ll need to prove you have the right to use it.
5. US Distribution Deliverables
The rest of this list is generally only required for US Distribution. However, that is not always the case.
5A. Closed Caption File
There’s a well-defined professional file format for closed caption files. If you expect to distribute in the US, you’re probably going to need to get one of these.
5B. Copyright Search and Title Reports
This is essentially proof that you have the rights to license the film to distributors, and that there aren’t any legal reasons barring you from licensing the film. Generally, this will be required at least 3-6 months prior to distribution. Contact the copyright office for more information.
5C. E&O Insurance Certificate
Generally, E&O Insurance is only required for wide reaching Domestic Television and Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) sales. However, a distributor may require it for other purposes as well. The exact coverage amount will vary depending on the distributor. The specifics will include per instance coverage caps, aggregate coverage caps, and minimum deductible.
Often the sales agent/distributor will have a preferred vendor for this, and may provide it as a recoupable expense above the existing recoupable expenses. If they do not provide it as a recoupable expense, there’s a good chance that their vendor gives them a sweetheart deal, and it’s still in your best interest to consider using their vendor.
5D. MPAA Rating
If the Distributor is planning any level of a wide theatrical release, they’ll need a rating certificate from the MPAA. Often there will be ratings caps such as R for any adult oriented movie, or PG for any family oriented movie. The Producer will be expected to bear the cost of acquiring this certificate. Also, unless you have the official certificate, the film is unrated. DO NOT attempt to rate the film yourself without going through the MPAA.
Thanks so much for reading! Hopefully this 4 part series has been illuminating as to what’s involved in deliverables. If you’re a film school teacher, feel free to use this information in your classwork. You can also reach out to me via my contact form and let me know you’d like something more suited for a hand-out. Thanks for reading, and next week I’l be back with a more though tough examination of chain of title documents.
In the meantime, you might want to consider booking a strategy session with me, or submitting your project so I can help you deal with distribution. We can talk more in depth about independent film distribution, indiefilm marketing, film financing, or packaging your movie by attaching a director or recognizable name talent. Click one of the links below to set those up
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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.
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