To Celebrate the launch of the Second edition of my book, The Guerrilla Rep, American Film Market Distribution Success on No Budget, I'm giving away the first chapter for free. This blo represents a small fraction of the 58 additional pages in the second edition. The book is currently the only book that currently exists on film Markets. So without further adieu, Here's the first chapter.
After the prologue, you have a 50,000 foot view of AFM. Let’s zoom in a bit, and check out a bit more about the total landscape of Film Markets in general, as well as the sales cycle for them.
What’s the difference between a Film Market and a Film Festival?
When speaking, I get asked this question more than any other, with one possible exception that will be covered in the next chapter.
Put simply, a film festival is a celebration of the artistry of film. Film markets are centered around the commerce of film. Film festivals are about the pageantry of film, and film markets are about the business of it. Some festivals have a lot of crossover, like Sundance and Toronto. Some film festivals have markets attached. AFM is attached to the AFI Fest, Berlinale is attached to the European Film Market, and the Cannes Film Festival has the biggest film market in the world attached, Merche du Film.
The biggest difference between a film festival and a film market is the focus of the two. When most people thinking of Cannes, they think of the festival, not the market. However anyone involved in distribution thinks the opposite. While the festival is full of red carpets and pageantry, the market side is much more about the business behind the scenes. More money flies around at Merche du Film than almost anywhere else in the word, at least in regards to the film industry.
Of course, I’m not trying to underplay the importance of film festivals. They serve a vital role in the promotion of the film. If used properly, they can greatly increase the visibility and marketability of the film, particularly if you’re self distributing. The bigger festivals will even help you get your film sold, or at least increase the sale price.
However, speaking solely in regards to international sales, the only festivals that really matter are top-tier festivals. These are festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto, and Cannes. Other festivals can help to raise your social media presence and marketing proliferation, but they won’t increase your international sales price in a meaningful way.
There’s already a book on film festivals. Chris Gore's written it better than I could. You can find some helpful links to that in the resource packet at TheGuerrillaRep.com/Resources.
Related: Free Film Market Resources
What are the other Film Markets?
While AFM is the biggest narrative feature film focused market in the US, there are many more media markets across the country and across the globe. Here are 14 Film and TV Markets you should know about, but there are many more. Markets generally take place for anywhere between a few days and a week around the same time every year. Here’s are a few for reference.
How Many Markets do Sales Agents/Distributors Attend in a year
Any good sales agent will go to at least the three major markets. Those would be AFM, EFM, and Marche du Film. If they’re not attending at least those three, it’s probably not a good idea to sign with them. Although, it’s better if they go to other markets as well, since it often takes as many as 5 face to face touch points to get a sale.
As such, even if you can get your film placed at AFM, it may take a while to get your money back. Sometimes as much as a full market cycle.
Producer’s reps are a bit different. Producer’s reps take a bit less of a cut to sell domestically, and a much smaller cut to hand off to a sales agent for international sales. Since they maintain relationships primarily with Sales agents, they can get away with only attending one or two of those markets every year.
How many Film Markets should Filmmakers attend in a year?
Well, that’s a tricky question. There’s some very high level networking to be had at such a convention, but beyond that there’s not always a great way to justify it as an ongoing expense.
I’d say a producer should attend several markets throughout the course of their career, just so they know what’s entailed in each one. That said, they only really need to consistently attend the closest one closest to them. If you’re looking to be a powerful executive producer or studio head, then you will need to spend time traveling to all of them, but if you just want to make movies, you’re probably alright only regularly attending one.
Want more? Buy the book.
With the launch of the second edition of the book, Ben has launched a completely free contest for film schools. Any school course that chooses to use the book as recommended or required reading, will be eligible for a useful contest with prizes ranging from free workshops, books, software packages, and much more. Prizes will be given on a school level, and a national level. For more information, visit www.ProducerFoundry.com/FilmSchools.
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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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