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The Insider's Guide To Independent Film Distribution

Stacey Parks

Innovation in technology means that almost anyone can make an independent film these days. Although this may be good news for aspiring filmmakers, it also means that the oversupply of independent films on the market has caused acquisition prices to dramatically decrease. As a result, producers and investors rarely recover their initial investment in the films they make. But don't be discouraged! Use this book to learn the realities of the market in advance and map out a winning distribution plan.

This comprehensive manual for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace could mean the difference between getting your film out to the public and keeping it "in the can." Learn how to sell your movie to a studio, a cable network, a video distributor, or international buyers. Self-distribution and other alternatives to traditional distribution are also considered. As well, you'll hear some success stories from producers and hear directly from buyers what they are seeking.

Stacey Parks has worked with dozens of hungry filmmakers to get their films a distribution deal and knows how frustrating the whole process can be. Let her tell you how you can take control of your filmmaking career and start getting your work seen by audiences with a few little-known distribution secrets.

Features include:


Interviews and case studies with producers and distributors

Ten Ways to Market Your Film for Self-Distribution

Sales Projections per Territory

Distribution Resource Listings

Negotiation tips for distribution agreements

Sample distribution agreements

Contents

I. Introduction

II. State of the Market: A Reality Check

Add a brief history of film distribution
Add interview with Dylan Leiner of Sony Pictures Classics (or comparable source) on how the U.S theatrical market has changed over the last 5-10 years.


III. Before you start Production: Getting a leg-up on Distribution
a. Getting in touch with the market: Doing Market Research
b. The importance of genre and format
c. Casting for distribution
d. Financing options - to include domestic and foreign pre-sales, private investors, completing a business plan, etc.
Add interview with Packaging agent from William Morris Agency
Suggested Exercises: (will add in 3-5 suggested exercises to appeal to academic market)

IV. Production Geared Towards Distribution
a. Shooting digital vs. Film
b. The importance of stills
c. Starting publicity during production: blogs, production diaries, hiring an PR agent, etc.

Interview with Michael Baker, head of Acquisitions and Development for Think Film

Suggested Exercises:

V. Post-Production geared Towards Distribution
a. M&E Tracks
b. Trailers
c. Music
d. Third party feedback
Add short interview/blurbs from buyers and distributors on post-production elements and what they mean in terms of getting distribution.
Suggested Exercises:

VI. It's in the can, now what: Creating Your Distribution Strategy
a. Creating a campaign
b. Applying to film festivals: what are the first tier, and second tier film festivals
c. Finding Producers Reps and Sales Agents
d. Navigating International Film and TV markets
e. Should I have a Distributor screening for my film?

Add interviews with Foreign Sales Agents in the UK and France
Suggested Exercises:

VII. Getting a Distribution deal
a. The U.S Distribution deal
b. Foreign Sales and What to Expect
c. Non-theatrical distribution and ancillary markets
d. Diagram/Table of expenses required to market and distribute an independent film
Add in interviews/blurbs with filmmakers who were NOT successful getting distribution and what they would do differently.

Suggested Exercises:

VIII. Dealing with the Distributor After you get a Deal
a. Anatomy of a Distribution Contract
b. How much will I make: Realistic Sales Projections for your film
c. When will I get paid? Typical cash flow situations
Suggested Exercises:

IX. Alternatives to Traditional Distribution
a. On Demand DVD distribution
b. Video on Demand distribution
c. Online film and television markets
d. Platform theatrical release
Interview with Betsy Chasse 'What the Bleep Do We Know'
Suggested Exercises:

X. The future of Distribution
a. How technology is changing Distribution

XI. Conclusion
Interview Stephen Winter 'Tarnation'

Appendix A: Ten successful indies and what made them successful
Appendix B: Distribution Agency Guide (US and outside US)
Appendix C: Anatomy of a Distribution Agreement
Appendix D: Sales Projections per Territory

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The Insider's Guide To Independent Film Distribution
Publisher: Focal Press
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-0-240-80922-9

 

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