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.
But before we get started on that, it’s worth a few sentences of analyzing the distribution and marketing are related, but NOT the same thing. So what is the difference between film marketing, film sales, and film distribution? The simplest way to put it is that Distribution is making your product available for sale, and marketing is convincing end consumers to buy it. Sales is the process of getting it to the various distributors. Now that that’s done, on to the topic at hand.
Also, before we get started it’s important to note that not all distributors will accept your help. Some control and participation in your home market should be part of your negotiation with your distributor if you’re dealing with them directly or your international sales agent if you’re not.
1.More money for everyone!
If you want to make money from your film, and have the distributor keep the marketing for the film intact, you’re going to have to give them a reason WHY they should listen to you. As such, you’ll have to help push the film out there. Also, after they recoup the money they put in, you will be taking the lions share of future sales, so it does have a dramatic impact on not only how much you get paid, but also how soon you get paid.
Also: most distributors don’t do a lot beyond the initial publicity push. If you want to continue sales and generating awareness of your movie, you’ll need to keep talking about it.
2. Helps you build your BRAND
Related: 5 DOs and DON’Ts for selling your film online.
3. You’ll get a much deeper understanding of the process
If you want to make a career in film, you’ll need at least a cursory understanding of what it takes to sell a film, unfortunately there’s no money in making films, only in selling them. Getting a much better idea of how this process works will make it easier for you to make a salable film in the future.
4. Gives you a better idea of what’s going on with your movie
One of the biggest frustrations faced by many filmmakers is not understanding wheat’s going on with their film. One of the best ways to stay in the loop is to help your distributor with marketing. This can give you a lot more up to the minute data that you can act on to make better marketing decisions and with luck get closer to creating a positive feedback loop of sales. Admittedly, in the current system that’s A LOT of luck.
5. If you’re putting the work in, your distributor will be more likely to take your requests.
If you’ve got more face time, and you film is performing well, your distributor is more likely to make pitches they might not otherwise make. Part of that comes down to perspicacity, and part of it just comes down to numbers.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, please share it with your filmmaking community on your social media, or drop a comment down below with your thoughts about what you’d like to know about film distribution. Also, Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and connect on Linkedin, or join my email list for great free resources.
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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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