Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why You Need To Self-Distribute


Most indie filmmakers make their own movie in the hopes of becoming Hollywood’s next success story.

(Come on, admit it! Hollywood success would be awesome.)

And while I would never discourage indie filmmakers from seeking not-so-indie fame and fortune – with nearly 50,000 feature films flooding the market each year, simply getting your movie made is no longer enough to guarantee success.

For many filmmakers, the process goes like this:
  1. I am going to make a movie, get into Sundance and sell it for a million dollars.
  2. Mom and dad and family and girlfriend and random crowdfunding people, give me money!
  3. Holly crap. I didn’t raise enough money – so I will need to cut my budget.
  4. Who knew practical special effects and pick-up shots were so time consuming?
  5. Dear friends and family and angry girlfriend, we spent your money and the movie is finished!
  6. Oh man – we really can’t fix it in post!
  7. Film festival submissions are expensive!
  8. We just got rejected from Sundance – now what?
  9. We just WON the Best Picture award at some regional film festival nobody ever heard of!
  10. Wait, we have been on the festival circuit for a year and Hollywood has not called.
  11. Holly crap – we just got a call from a sales agent! They want to put our movie on iTunes!
  12. Wait, I just read the agreement and the distribution deal doesn’t pay.
  13. Wait… I can get my own movie into iTunes. Without the middle-man?
  14. Dear friends and family and ex-girlfriend and crowdfunders, we are in iTunes!
  15. I really wish I would have budgeted to self-distribute and market my movie.
Obviously I am using humor to express a point. But if you have made a movie, you have probably experienced the roller-coaster ride of emotions that comes from being a filmmaker.

If you have not yet made your movie, I suggest that you plan a strategy to market and sell your movie from day one. Having this plan will allow you to first explore all traditional distribution options. And this way, if your distribution offer is not a deal, you can move forward.

Think about it. If the best offer is: “We will get you into iTunes” your response should be “so what! I can get myself into iTunes!”

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