Independent horror film companies uk,marketing card templates for photographers,small business marketing strategy examples advertising,marketing agency london internship 2015 - Review

As 2014 draws to a close TFC reflects on five (5) film distribution lessons from 2014 in anticipation of our 5th Anniversary at Sundance 2015. As we have seen every year for several years now, we are experiencing additional technological revolution that will change our business forever. As much as all of us at TFC have talked about the need to identify and target niche audiences, the ones who would be the most interested and excited to see a project because it speaks to a belief or lifestyle or cause, most indie filmmakers still aren’t heeding this advice. If you think someone else is going to [attract and maintain a niche audience] for you, you haven’t been paying attention to the shifts in the indie film marketplace. Or if you want to try it all, still, your strategy would privilege the direct sales anyway.
And while it may feel like you are giving up revenue by allowing your film to be streamed (hopefully for a limited time!) through a broadcaster’s portal, you may find this is a good career move for your next feature because people will be familiar with your work having had the opportunity to see it.
The emerging mega strength of incredible television series available everywhere threatens narrative film even more than before, and of course, especially the smaller indie fare.
We have seen time and again how narrative dramas or comedies almost always fall flat in sales unless they have very strong names and not just C-list or B-list names.
We at TFC wish you and yours a delightful new year and we are looking forward to being even more of service to filmmakers in 2015! Whether engaging in digital distribution via a distributor or on one’s own (DIY), the burden of producing deliverables is increasingly shifting onto filmmakers.
At TFC, when we speak of empowerment through education, we are often talking about the digital landscape as a whole.
Accordingly, arming yourself with a little more knowledge about how the industry works, and, in particular, how technology works, can help you dodge a few more bullets down the road.
For other mainstream digital platforms, pretty much any time there is a digital storefront, whatever is outside of the pay wall needs to be viewable for all audiences: free of foul language, nudity, excessive violence, etc. I can’t tell you the number of trailers we have seen with words like fuck and shit still in them…iTunes is not going to take a trailer with any language that needs to be bleeped out on television.
We totally get it…filmmakers want to be as provocative as possible, don’t like being inhibited, and want their trailers to represent as closely as possible the tone of their film.
Many platforms, including iTunes and Netflix, now require that all new films be submitted with closed captioning for the hearing impaired. However, we have seen a number of cases where mistakes have been made, which can result in a rejection of your content by the platforms and a delay in your scheduled release date. But by far the biggest cause of rejection is when closed captioning covers some of the lower thirds in the film. The catch is that the most common form of subtitle file, .SRT (SubRip), does not hold placement, so while it is OK to ask for this file type merely for checking timing and accuracy of dialogue, you will not see any difference between lines that are on the bottom or those that have been moved to the top—they will all appear on the bottom. Lastly, speaking of subtitle files, we have seen many filmmakers obtain subtitle files from international film festivals (especially Spanish) and want to know if they can submit that as an extra to their North American release. The answer is yes as long as it, like closed captioning, doesn’t cover up the lower thirds, and as long as your English master is textless (i.e. So if someone produced an .SRT file for you, and you have lower thirds with dialogue spoken over them, you’ll need to get it converted and fixed before submitting to digital platforms.
Knowing exactly what you need will help you save time and get the best deal from your Subtitling Lab., because you will have pre-negotiated what you need in advance.
One of our members from Australia asked us about getting all of their lab deliverables taken care of at once so that they could qualify for The Producer Offset, which is a refundable tax offset (rebate) for producers of Australian feature films, television and other projects. If you produce a DCP or HDCAM, which can cost $2K or more, and approximately $350, respectively, before you sell your film, what happens when your distributor asks you to submit deliverables with their logo in front of it? As far as DCP goes, until you are SURE that your film is playing at a top-notch festival, or that your film is even going to have a theatrical release, it may be best for you to wait, and only produce deliverables like ProRes, Blu-Ray and DVD in the short-term. And by way of conclusion, speaking of DCP, TFC’s head of Festival Distribution, Jeffrey Winter, has offered a post on DCP headaches HERE. In the past 2 posts, we have covered knowing the market BEFORE making your film and how to incorporate the festival circuit into your marketing and distribution efforts. If you are new to the distribution game, here are some terms you now need to be familiar with. Applications for many digital platforms can be found on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets),Over the Top (OTT) internet-enabled devices like Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Playstation and Xbox and on smart TVs. In the latest edition of our Selling Your Film book series, Amsterdam based consultant Wendy Bernfeld goes into great depth about the digital distribution market in Europe. Rather than give all of your film’s rights to a foreign sales agent for years (often 7-10 years duration) just to see what the agent can accomplish, think seriously about selling to global audiences from your own website and from sites such as Vimeo, VHX, Google Play and iTunes. Often, sales agents who cannot make foreign deals will use aggregators to access digital platforms and cut themselves into the revenue.
If you do happen to sell your film in certain international territories, make sure not to distribute on your site in a way that will conflict with any worldwide release dates and any other distribution holdbacks or windowing that may be required per your distribution contracts. The release window is an artificial scarcity construct wherein the maximum amount of money is squeezed from each phase of distribution. So, while there are certainly bends in the rules, you will need to pay attention to which release window you open for your film on what date. Also, sites like Netflix will likely use numbers from a film’s transactional window purchases to inform their decision on whether to make an offer on a film and how big that offer should be.
Also be aware that some TV licensing will call for holding back Subscription VOD (SVOD) releases for a period of time. If your film is truly a candidate for theatrical release, most cinemas will not screen a film that is already available on TVOD or SVOD services.
The way you choose to release your film is a judgment call in order to reach your particular goal. When it comes to distribution, one of the best things you can do to help your movie is to get recognizable actors with whom your audience already has a positive relationship. Whether you yourself are a writer or you’re looking around for material to produce or direct, look for parts and stories that will specifically appeal to actors. The script for The Big Ask was the fifteenth or so that I had written and the first I tried to make because it was the first I thought was good enough.
Everyone wants to feel safe and supported when embarking on a creative enterprise that will leave them incredibly vulnerable. There are so many things that you have to think about when putting together a small movie.  It’s nearly impossible to make something even half-way good, and equally as difficult to get people to pay attention to it. Now that the line up for feature films screening in Park City has been announced and the Berlinale is starting to reveal its selections, let’s turn our attention to the potential publicity and sales opportunities that await these films.
For those with  lower budget, no-notable-names-involved films heading to Park City this January, we understand the excitement and hopefulness of the distribution offers you believe your film will attract, but we also want to implore you to be aware that not every film selected for a Park City screening will receive a significant distribution offer. Top festivals like Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Toronto give a film the start of a pedigree, but if your film doesn’t have that, significant distribution offers from outside companies will be limited.
Do  understand that the digital platform takes a first dollar percentage from the gross revenue (typically 30%), then aggregators get to recoup their fees and expenses from what is passed through them, but there are some that only take a flat fee upfront and pass the rest of the revenue back.
If you do decide to release on your own, knowing how release windows work within the industry is beneficial. Furthermore, subscription sites like Netflix will likely use numbers from transactional purchases to inform, at least in part, their decision as to whether or not to make an offer on a film in the first place. Also be aware that some TV licensing will be contingent on holding back subscription releases for a period of time. Many low budget American films are not good candidates for international sales because the audience worldwide isn’t going to be big enough to appeal to various international distributors. You can sell DVDs, merchandise, downloads and streaming off your own site with the added benefit of collecting contact email addresses for use throughout your filmmaking career. You should try to carve out your own festival distribution efforts if a sales or distribution agreement is presented. The month of October seems a good time to look at films in the horror genre and we will be releasing a series of posts all month long that addresses the business of releasing these films. Long the domain of ultra low budget filmmakers everywhere, horror audiences are now spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a film that terrifies.
The trouble for filmmakers creating in this genre is there is so much being made of questionable quality, it is like asking audiences to find a needle…in a stack of needles (hat tip to Drew Daywalt). At a recent event hosted at the LA Film School by Screen Craft entitled Horror Filmmaking: The Guts of the Craft, several involved in the horror genre talked about budgeting and distributing indie horror films.
Other film distributors are candidly talking about the complete decimation of the market for horror, largely brought on by the internet and piracy, but also a change in consumer habits. As for iTunes, there are standards barring graphic sex for films in the US and in some countries, they are now requiring a rating from the local ratings authority in order to sell from the iTunes Movie store.
The major companies in cable VOD (Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon etc) are now requiring a significant theatrical release (about 15 cities) before showing interest in working with a title. Selling from your own site via DVD or digital through Vimeo or Distrify is still an option, and the cut of revenue is certainly larger. If after reading this, you are still set to wade into the market with your horror film, stay tuned to future posts looking at the numbers behind some recent horror films and what options you’ll have on the festival circuit. I used to be the resident regular blogger here at The Film Collaborative, but some of you may know, I’m wrapping up a law degree and I only weigh in on the blog periodically. One big lesson I learned in law school is how legal theories of a claim or case involve classification of law, elements, factors etc. I’m weary of hearing the irrational expectations of filmmakers who did not think about the business side of their film before they made it.
You all know me and know I’m the last person to just blindly defend a traditional distributor.
Again, I have no issue blaming companies for being in breach because that can definitely happen. I think if a distributor offers you no advance or a small advance for all or even part of your rights, that’s a big vote of little confidence in the title. I find it increasingly frustrating to talk with filmmakers who have little or no evidence of their own to demonstrate their film’s appeal. Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett are part of a wave of independent filmmakers updating the look and feel of modern horror movies.
Although the film industry is in something of a transitional phase right now, one genre is still flourishing like a zombie that refuses to die (again). Modern horror movies are, generally, relatively inexpensive, have built-in audiences, and tend to do well internationally. Writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard are among a group that also includes Ti West, Joe Swanberg, and others, who have made modestly budgeted indie horror movies that make their studio counterparts look relatively tame. Adam Wingard: Really, the only way you can learn to be a filmmaker is through trial and error, and we definitely have a lot of that under our belt. Barrett: One of the many things that unites us in our values is that we always want to be making as many movies as possible, and we want them to be as good as they possibly can be.
Wingard: Making a movie feel more expensive is about having all the tools and using them in motivated ways. A Kickstarter to fund the production of a new type of monster film (titled Boggy Creek Monster) is underway. The Horror Movies Blog provides the latest info about unexplained mystery, paranormal, aliens, ghosts, demonology, orbs, haunted houses, bizarre, horror movies, promotional services and more!
The New York City Independent Horror Film Festival (NYCHFF) takes place from November 10th - 14th, 2010. Awards will be given to: Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best, Cinematography, Best Special Effects, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay (Submitted), Best Screenplay (Screened Film), and Audience Choice. In 2014, we said adieu to the preview DVD (for festivals, distributors, exhibitors, press etc.) in favor of the online screener link.
Of the consultations I had this year, most were with filmmakers who made micro-budget dramas with no notable names and were without prestigious festival accolades.


You NEED a small, but highly passionate audience that you can reach given the resources and assets you have. Which is better for your goals, a film that gets national broadcast airings or a film that turns down that opportunity only to be buried in the iTunes store? Of course there are exceptions to this rule and Sundance can be part of that, or a hot director, or simply just an exceptional break out film.
On the other hand, however, we were surprised at how many filmmakers still resist it—resist sharing their data, even anonymously. So easy in fact that filmmakers often forget that these platforms are anomalies when it comes to requirements for eligibility. Neither will it accept scenes with a butt shot, a sex toy, naked breasts…the list is long and can get murky real quick, and, like MPAA ratings, may be quite subjective and potentially unfair. And they usually make their trailers long before they ever have to think about digital distribution.
Closed captioning is different from subtitling in that it sometimes includes descriptions of non-speech elements, like sound effects or music. There are many closed captioning requirements, particularly regarding things like when captions come on and how long they stay on screen, and we have seen some problems in this area. This is especially true in documentaries, where subjects are interviewed and their names appear as text graphics on screen. One is to go through your film and note the approximate time codes of all your lower thirds and ask your captioning lab to pay special attention to these areas. So the key is to ask for a different file format if you have dialogue spoken over lower thirds.
While this credit may not apply to filmmakers who are not down under, I’d like to reiterate here what I told him: that producing deliverables too soon can cost you more in the long run. VHX, Distrify, Vimeo on Demand) are all services that allow filmmakers to upload their films and host them on whatever website they choose.
Viewers must add the applications to their devices and then either subscribe or pay per view to the platforms in order to see the film.
Many low-budget, independent American films are not good candidates for international sales because various international distributors tend to be attracted to celebrity actors or action, thriller and horror genre fare that translate easily into other languages.
The volume of potential viewers or sales it takes to attract a foreign distributor to your film is often very high. An example: You have signed a broadcast agreement that calls for a digital release holdback of 90 days-6 months-1 year or whatever. Each window is opened at different times to keep the revenue streams from competing with each other. Each release window is getting shorter and sometimes they are opened out of the traditional sequence. For example, it might be enticing to try to negotiate a flat licensing fee from Netflix (Subscription VOD or SVOD window) at the start of release.
Subscription sites such as Netflix also pay attention to general buzz, theatrical gross, and a film’s popularity on the film’s website. If your film is strong enough to achieve a broadcast license deal, you will need to wait before making a subscription release deal. In fact, most of the chain cinemas will not screen a film that is available in any other form prior to or at the same time as theatrical release.
All decisions have consequences and you will have to live with the decisions you make in releasing your film. While I would never recommend choosing fame over talent, why not aim high and try to get that dream person who is an amazing actor and also brings an audience with them? Like in all endeavors, you have your best chance of being successful if everyone involved is getting something they want.
He has previously shot a number of short films, and along with his writing partner, Matthew Gasteier, he is repped by UTA and has projects in development with Broken Road and Scott Stuber Productions, among others. During his five years at Lakeshore Entertainment, Beatty helped guide thirteen films from script to screen including UNDERWORLD 3 and CRANK. There are a many other opportunities, perhaps BETTER opportunities, for your film to reach a global (not just domestic) audience, but if you aren’t prepared for both scenarios, the future of your film could be bleak. Time and again we at The Film Collaborative see filmmakers willingly, enthusiastically going into debt, either raising money from investors or credit cards or second mortgages (eek!) in order to bring their stories to life.
These are the elements that should help gauge your expectations about your film’s impact as well as its profitability. Aggregators  have direct relationships with digital platforms and often do not take an ownership stake. Then distributors will recoup any of their expenses and their fee percentage, then comes sales agents with their expenses and fees. Though the time to sequence through each release window is getting shorter, you still need to pay attention to which sales window you open when, especially in the digital space. In other words, showing sales data, showing you have a real audience behind your film, is a key ingredient to getting on any platform where you need to ask permission to be on it.  Netflix is not as interested in licensing independent film content as it once was.
If you think your film is a contender for a broadcast license, you may want to hold off on a subscription release until you’ve exhausted that avenue. Unless you are paid handsomely for all worldwide distribution rights to your film, your North American distributor should not run the channels where you connect with your audience; the audience you have spent months or years on your own to build and hope to continue to build. Rather than give your rights to a sales agent for years just to see what they can do, think seriously about selling to global audiences from your own website and from sites such as Vimeo, Youtube, and iTunes.
Above all,  don’t hold out for distribution opportunities that may not come when publicity and marketing is happening.
That way you will see these festival screening fees and immediately start receiving revenue. If your tapes fail QC and you need to go back and fix anything, the cost could escalate upwards of $15,000. Be sure you have not completely raided your production budget or allocated a separate budget (much smarter!) in order to distribute directly to your audience and for the delivery items that will be needed if you do sign an agreement with another distribution entity. Yes, everyone with access to a digital camera and buckets of fake blood seems to be honing their craft and turning out product by the thousands. The same challenges for fundraising, marketing, and distribution that plague every production, plague horror films as well. To get good word of mouth, the film HAS to be great and have a significant marketing push.
All agreed the production value bar has to be raised so much higher than everything else in the market in order to get people to part with their money for a ticket when competing with studio films. While horror does travel much better than American drama or comedy, there are horror films being made all over the world and some are much more innovative than their American counterparts.
Why buy a copy to own of that low grade splatterfest when you can easily stream it (for pay or not) and move on to the next one? But unless there is a budget and plan in place to market the site, traffic won’t just materialize. My colleagues at TFC have been picking up the slack, and doing an awesome job of it, if I do say so. I want filmmakers to actively get real about what’s possible in today’s marketplace and assert some ownership of the results of the performance of the film.
Distributors have lots of titles in their catalogs and each will not get the same amount of attention.
Why would a film that is not going to have an impact festival premiere, has low website traffic numbers, low social network following, small or no email list to contact fans be assumed to wildly succeed?
And because of easier access to equipment and distribution than ever before, the playing field for making these movies has been leveled. You could just buy one of those SLR cameras, get a decent editing program and a laptop and start making professional films that you can get into festivals.
The festival has grown to be a world recognized event, with industry, filmmakers, and press attention from around the globe. They still believed a distributor would be willing to take on their project and give it a full release.
As a filmmaker, you only have leverage to demand a higher licensing fee if your film is a hot commodity.
I’m sure every filmmaker can rattle off a list of annoyingly small screw-ups with deliverables and assets that ended up throwing multiple members of his or her team into a tizzy for an entire day, wasting precious time, manpower and financial resources. But if you don’t want to have to go back and recut your trailer down the road, you need to think about these things. In those cases, the offending line of closed captioning must be moved (usually to the top of the screen). Subtitle file types that hold placement are .STL (Spruce subtitle format) or iTunes Timed Text (iTT), a subset of TTML. Just to be clear, we are targeting these posts mainly to filmmakers who seek to self finance and actively control their distribution. A signed and binding contract takes all responsibility for the film away from its creator and places it with the distributor to decide how to release it into the public.
Aggregators have direct relationships with digital platforms and often do not take an ownership stake. Vimeo on Demand also hosts the video player on its own central website and has just integrated with Apple TV to allow for viewing on in-home TV screens. In agreements we make with distributors for our Film Collaborative members, we negotiate for the filmmaker to have the ability to sell worldwide to audiences directly from their website. You cannot go ahead and start selling via digital in that territory until that holdback is lifted.
The reason it is artificial is the film continues to be the same and could be released to the audience all at one time, but is purposely curbed from that in order to maximize revenue and viewership.
Magnolia Pictures has pioneered experimentation with Ultra VOD release, the practice of releasing a film digitally BEFORE its theatrical window and generally charging a premium price; and with Day and Date, the practice of releasing a film digitally and theatrically at the same time. However, from a filmmaker’s (and also distributor’s) perspective, if the movie has not yet played on any other digital platforms, it would be preferable to wait until after the Transactional VOD (TVOD) window in order to generate more revenue as a percentage of every TVOD purchase, before going live on Netflix. There is value in gathering web traffic analytics, email database analytics and website sales data in order to demonstrate you have a sizable audience behind your film.
On the other hand, holding out too long for a broadcast distribution offer might cause the publicity and interest you’ve generated for your film to dissipate. Like all decisions, you base them on what you know at the time with no guarantee as to how they will turn out.
This is especially true for indie dramas that are incredibly difficult to sell without notable cast to market. On your low-budget indie, you can’t make a fair money trade, but you can give actors the opportunity to do special work and to expose their audience and other filmmakers to parts of their range they haven’t gotten to show before.
If your film doesn’t have prestige, or names, or similar publicity coverage or a verifiable fanbase, it won’t have the same footprint in the market. Sometimes distributors also have direct relationships with digital platforms, and so they themselves can also serve as an aggregator of sorts. Anyone who has ever had a Netflix account knows that, as a consumer, you would rather watch a film using the Netflix subscription you have already paid for rather than shell out more cash to buy or rent a stream of the latest movies. It is likely that if your film is not a strong performer theatrically, or via other transactional VOD sites, it may not garner a significant  Netflix  licensing fee or they may refuse to take it onto the platform. These channels can be used to sell access to your film far more profitably for you than going through several middlemen. In agreements we make with distributors for our members, we negotiate the ability to sell worldwide to audiences directly off of a website without geo-blocking unsold territories.
So many times we are contacted by filmmakers who insist on spending a year or more on the festival circuit with no significant distribution offers in sight and they are wasting their revenue potential by holding back on their own distribution efforts.
Our colleagues, Jeffrey Winter and Bryan Glick, typically handle festival distribution for members of The Film Collaborative without needing to take ownership rights over the film (unlike a sales agent). Then there are the creative deliverables such as still photography, key art digital files if they exist, electronic press kit if it exists or the video footage to be assembled into one, the trailer files if they exist.


Also, seek guidance, preferably from an entity that is not going to take an ownership stake in the film for all future revenue over a long period of time. If the offers aren’t what you envisioned for your film, be ready to mobilize your own distribution efforts. Talent manager Andrew Wilson of Zero Gravity Management pointed out that comments like the film did a lot with so little doesn’t hold water with audiences outside of the festival circuit.
France, Japan and Korea were cited as countries producing fantastically creative horror films.
Titles that might have shipped 10, 000 copies to retailers are now only shipping maybe 2,000. The cable operators often do not offer advances and you must go through an aggregator like Gravitas Ventures to access. Still, for ultra, ultra low budget films (like made for less than $5,000) with a clear marketing strategy and small advertising budget, selling direct is the way to go. While I am writing only sporadically these days, sometimes I just have ideas that must be written. I have thought about this lately in terms of filmmakers’ complaints when they have chosen to give their films to  traditional distributors and then were unhappy with the results. With all the new tools, and by now, not even new discourse about direct distribution and how it gives filmmakers the ability to handle their own releases in the manner they envision, why are so few choosing that route? Such opportunities are of little consequence, however, for those who don’t possess the talent, creativity, and drive to bring something new to the scary movie table. I assure you that when you lock yourself in an apartment and work on a script for six weeks straight, you do not know at the time you are done with it if it’s a good or bad script. With You’re Next, I wanted to do something that had more of a mainstream kind of cinematic language to it. We struggled with the problems of the DCP and all its imperfections and inevitability (at least for a few more years). I won’t say this is easy, but before you embark on a project that could take thousands of dollars and years of your life, first think about how you will approach the audience for your work and how you will maintain it on a consistent basis.
Otherwise, while online (or in-app) streaming will possibly gut your transactional VOD sales, you can’t beat the reach a broadcaster can give to your film. The pattern we, at TFC, see repeated too often is the making of a decent or good but not exceptional narrative with names that are okay but not great and then wasting time trying to make a big or even medium sale. It’s meant to be good for the filmmaking community as a whole but maybe individually folks are scared about what the truth will bring. If you want two versions of your trailer, that’s fine, but at least one one of them has to be no more than, let’s say, PG. Mainly platforms do not deal directly with creators, but insist on signing deals with representative companies such as distributors or aggregators.
Aggregators usually focus more on converting files for platforms, supplying metadata, images, trailers to platforms and collecting revenue from platforms to disperse to the rights holder. If you are negotiating agreements directly with distributors, the right to sell directly via your own website can be extremely beneficial to separate and carve out because sales via your website will generate revenue immediately. The Hollywood legacy window sequence consists of movie theaters (theatrical window), then, after approximately  3-4 months, DVD release (video window). If the transactional release and subscription release happen at the same time, it cannibalizes transactional revenue. This is useful information when talking to any platform where you need their permission to access it. Do you understand how many middlemen may stand in the money chain before you get your share of the money to pay back financing?  Was any research on this conducted BEFORE the production started? However, sometimes it is necessary for a distributor to work with outside aggregators to access digital platforms.
Many filmmakers and film investors do not understand this and wonder why money doesn’t flow back into their pockets just a few months after initial release. If you are negotiating agreements with other distributors, the right to sell directly can be extremely beneficial to carve out.  If you do happen to sell your film in certain international territories, it is wise to also make sure you do not distribute on your site in a way that will conflict with any worldwide street dates  and any other distribution holdbacks or windowing that may be required per your distribution contract. TFC shares in a percentage of the screening fee and that is the only way we make money from festival distribution. Also, all talent contracts and releases, music licenses and cue sheets, chain of title, MPAA rating if available etc.
That may have made up the majority of the horror film sales 7 years ago, but distribution advances paid for such films are now exceedingly low (maybe $5K per territory, IF there is a pick up at all) and now the genre is perfect for the torrent sites.Unless you plan to make films as an expensive hobby, the pressure to produce a stellar horror film that people will talk about (see The Conjuring, Insidious, Paranormal Activity) is very high.
American filmmakers with aspirations of distributing their films overseas need to be aware of the competition not just with fellow countrymen, but with foreign talent as well. There was once big money in fooling audiences to buy a $20 DVD with a good slasher poster and trailer, but now they are wise to the junk vying for their attention and don’t see the need to pay much money for it. Some stores will only take 40 copies, see how they sell and order more if needed in order to cut down on dealing with returns. It can be motivating, but also it can blind filmmakers to the realities they must face in the market.
Perhaps being precise with the production’s goals and persuasive in presenting how the film will sell in the market in order to meet those goals is something that filmmakers should be practicing. Is it easier to put the blame on an entity instead of taking the responsibility from the start?
What I do want to address is the filmmaker theory that the distributor screwed up without having any coherent evidence as to how and what would have happened otherwise to making the deal. Little investment in acquiring the rights to your film means little marketing effort is going to be made, and likely little will result from the release for you. We shot our first stuff on 16 mm and you really had to go to film school to shoot and edit 16 mm.
And to do that, I watched a lot of Hollywood movies again, and I realized the main throughline is just having lots and lots of coverage—having the ability to film and film and film and then cut to wherever you want to later. And we are RIGHT ON THE VERGE of the greatest evolution we will experience in recent years, which will be full delivery of films for exhibition via the Internet…whether it turns out to be Vimeo or Drop Box or iCloud or other.
If you think someone else is going to take care of that for you, you haven’t been paying attention to the shifts in the indie film marketplace.
Not all types of films make the same money on all types of platforms so does your film demand-to-be-owned? As we have always said, knowing your film’s ACTUAL potential and combining that with your HIERARCHY OF GOALS will help you answer these questions and decide your distribution strategy. So you should ask your lab to convert it into a subtitle file and send that to you as well (this file would be solely for checking purposes…it shouldn’t be submitted to anyone).
Sometimes distributors (Cinedigm, FilmBuff) also have direct relationships with digital platforms, helping reduce the number of intermediaries being paid out of the film’s revenue. However, if you take a look at your own analytics via social media sites and website traffic, you may find that audience interest in foreign territories is certainly high enough to warrant self distributing in those territories. However, this tactic is now being scrutinized by distributors who are allowing direct to audience sales by filmmakers, but asking in their agreement for a percentage of the revenue generated.
After an additional 3 months or so, a release to Pay TV (subscription cable and cable pay per view) and VOD services (download to own, paid streaming, subscription VOD) and approximately two years after its theatrical release date, it is made available for free-to-air TV. Radius-TWC just shortened the theatrical only window for Snowpiercer by making it available on digital VOD within only 2 weeks of its US theatrical release.
Caution: Netflix is not as interested in licensing independent film content as it once was.
With the amount of information on sites like The Film Collaborative, MovieMaker, Filmmaker Magazine, IndieWire and hundreds of blogs online, there is no longer an excuse for not knowing the answers to most of these questions well before a production starts. You guys are in the back of the line so hopefully, if you signed a distribution agreement, you received a nice advance payment. So if you release your film on Netflix or another subscription service (SVOD) right away without being paid a significant fee for exclusivity, you are essentially giving the milk away. Many regional fests no longer have a policy against films with digital distribution in place. Is it easier to think that if a film is chosen for pick up by a distributor, it has merit and then when that merit doesn’t materialize in the market, it must have been the fault of the entity handling it? A filmmaker agreeing to that arrangement should be clued in as to how likely the film will succeed.
Now, everybody is shooting on video as opposed to film, and it’s a separate series of technical talents that you have to learn to become a filmmaker. I kind of have to immerse myself in the movie to make sure that I’m making the right creative decision.
Having someone constantly getting you out of your own headspace and your own ego can save you from making a bad movie. If we can remove the SHIPPING part of the independent film business, filmmaker (and distributor) profits may greatly increase without that part of the equation. During its first weekend in US multiplatform release, Snowpiercer earned an estimated $1.1 million from VOD, nearly twice as much as the $635,000 it earned in theaters.
All the performances in our movie are incredible and I hope that the script and our style of directing helped in that.
This research is now your responsibility once you’ve taken investors’ money (even if the investor is yourself) and you want to pursue your distribution options. By premiering at a world class festival (Sundance, Berlin, SXSW etc or at a prestige niche festival) or having notable name cast. Mindsets that once may have worked for the majority now have to give way to a more productive, informed and aggressive one in order to see success.
Again, I am not speaking about being in breach of promises in writing such as projections and a marketing plan that is not actualized. Figuring out these things makes the audience think, on a subliminal level, that you spent more time and money on the movie, and it makes them think of it as a more legitimate film.
Ultimately, I’ll go in the editing room and make a cut of the film, so that way he can judge it based on what it is, and what I wanted to make of the script. By giving each other space, there’s always someone on deck who can be objective about the work. Again, there are exceptions, and of course certain niches such as LGBT may be one of them, but we advise discerning between passionate optimism and sheer folly. Still, we encourage sharing the real data for the greater good and we will keep on working to inspire and facilitate more TRANSPARENCY. Netflix is no longer building its brand for subscribers and it has significant data that guides what content it licenses and what it produces. Always find out about middlemen before closing a deal, even for sales from a sales agent’s or distributor’s website, there may be middlemen involved that take  a hefty chunk that reduces yours.
The cost can be upwards of $900 to provide this file.  Additionally, many territories (such as UK, Australia, New Zealand and others) are now requiring official ratings from that territory’s film classification board, the cost of which can add up if you plan to make your film available via iTunes globally. They may offer distributors a 2 year streaming deal for six titles at $24,000 total, but there will be a cost to get them QC’d properly (which comes out of your cut, after the middlemen take their share of course!). If big projections were made based on a clear marketing plan presented in writing outlining all efforts that will be made, then not executed, there is reason for complaint. For distributors, closed captioning and foreign ratings are recoupable expenses that they pay for upfront, but if you are self distributing through an aggregator service, this expense is on you upfront. Do you have a direct-to-fan distribution strategy that you can employ in tandem so as to not need to rely on other digital platforms in the first place?



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