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01-29-2007 03:33 PM
I had an email conversation with a guy who got distribution for a film. The things he mentioned were quite eye opening, and I think they are relevant and can be useful for this post. Here are some particulars that stood out to me: (these points apply to straight to video products)
*Get an agent or sales rep to shop your film. If you approach distribution companies yourself, you'll look like amateur hour and they'll either toss the movie or exploit you and essentially rip you off.
- you'll want an agent or sales rep that specializes in your genre of movie and who has contacts to get your screener seen.
*Shooting on DV is not looked highly upon still. Many companies will not even look at dv.
*Name actors are important, very important. Reps need someone they can name drop when trying to sell your film.
- taking the above into consideration, an agent or sales rep has a reputation to uphold. When they approach their contacts with a film their reputation is on the line... they send out a flick that is frowned upon and they can hurt themselves.
*Deliverables are expensive. They should be included in your initial film budget. You have to pay for them yourself... if the distribution company pays for them - it will cost you way more than it would if you covered it. The guy who told me this info paid close to $25,000 for deliverables.
If trying to sell a direct to video HORROR film:
Distribution companies get hundreds and hundreds of horror titles of all genres every year and only a handful get distributed.
You need ample T&A plus Gore to get a company interested in your movie. A big company told the guy I'm paraphrasing that if they don't see nudity or gore in a direct to video movie within the first couple of minutes, they'll automatically pass on the movie.
Also, trailers for showcasing the film to distribution companies - showcase the gore and glimpses of t&a or at least attractive eye candy.
But, this is all a double edged sword... you need to make sure your movie is able to get an "R" Rating to be carried by Blockbuster USA. Blockbuster USA is the largest avenue for dvd's, so if a company can't sell a movie to them, they'll likely pass on your film all together. So, feel free to make 2 versions of your horror film - the Uncut Version and the R Rated version... something to think about while shooting the film ie. coverage to cut away to during an overly gory scene or graphic sex scene.
Hope this is helpful stuff... I think it reflects most of the stuff Rokoko talked about.
01-29-2007 04:51 PM
Good post, Staven. Having been through this myself I can confirm nearly everything. The first thing a distributor is going to ask is: "Who's in it?" You need a recognizable face even if it is only a cameo. The bottom has fallen out of the horror genre. The distributors spent time snatching up a lot of trash and are now left holding the bag.
An entertainment lawyer we talked to gave us this reply:
"I finally took a look at the film. While I found it interesting and
entertaining, its not something I can really help with in terms of arranging
distribution (other than say a small cable deal, video on the come and maybe
some small international).
The film has a good kick in the final half, but buyers today are looking for
something that catches you right away. In a horror film, it has to happen in
the first minute or so, and then every 7 minutes or so. You go 18 minutes
before something happens, and it isn't much, then till about the 32 minute
mark till something else etc.
I suggest trying the festival route to really push the notoriety and maybe
something will pop.
I will send the DVD back in the SASE you sent me."
We did end up with a distributor for foreign distribution and he's now been talking about domestic, too but it's a hard road. If you wait until you've completed your movie (which we did) you've waited too long to get the buzz going. You should start trying to market your movie as soon as you start pre-production. It is money well spent to hire a PR guy.
01-29-2007 05:29 PM
That was pretty cool from the entertainment lawyer to give you that much of an explaination.
I feel like I have a horror film that fits into the same realm as yours. I sent my horror flick to a company that picks up the crappiest horror films I've ever seen - yet they are also a big time company. I thought it was a given that they'd pick up my film because it is literally 100times better than the bulk of the direct to dvd movies they distribute, and it actually has a story and a plot - which the bulk also seem to lack.
Rejected!! Something along the lines of "though it was a good effort it isn't what our company is looking for". Now, I could easily get down on myself and get all depressed, but I doubt now that the film was actually watched the full way through.
It sucks that I base a film on artistic merit, storytelling, style etc. - when on the other end could be a person with a checklist of things they need to see and if they don't see them, the film is tossed.
I'm searching for the right way to get a low budget film out there... but it's a tough grind when you end up at the mercy of one person whether it's a film festival or distribution company that decides whether your movie moves forward or not.
Buzz from the onset is a good idea. It is possible to do this without having to drop cash in a PR guy(i think) - with sites like Myspace and youtube, I think it's possible to stir up buzz without dropping too much cash... but it means having a core group to help do behind the scenes stuff and internet stuff.
I'm trying the angle of a super good deal on a dvd to attempt to get my movie "Jigsaw" out to an audience... but right know I'm doubting it'll be successful because as much as I've blanketed the internet advertising it, it hasn't produced much traffic on my site.
Maybe I'll do a thread regarding my self-distribution adventure... or lack thereof once I start my pre-order promotion.
If Hollywood Gothic is your movie you were trying to sell, I think it looks fun! And would check it out for sure if it got domestic!!
01-29-2007 05:36 PM
Thanks Staven. Yes, it was Hollywood Gothic which is probably as much comedy as it is horror which turns out to be a problem...oh well...we thought Horromedy when we were doing it. Just saw your website in your profile. I plan on taking a look at it a little later this evening...
Last edited by Blaine; 04-21-2007 at 10:39 AM.
02-04-2007 11:51 PM
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
Thanks for the information. Thought I'd post here as well. I have a good distribution network in Asia, and may be able to help if anyone is interested in looking for distribution here.
There are a few conditions that needs to be met though, but you can PM me if anyone would like to give it a try. It can provide extra revenue to independent filmmakers.
04-21-2007 09:50 AMOriginally Posted by Staven
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- Apr 2007
- East Coast
04-26-2007 11:55 AMOriginally Posted by Televista
06-21-2007 01:17 PM
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
I have opinions about self distribution over the 'regular' way that may be somewhat controversial depending on how you look at it. I may update my original post with my experiences and thoughts on self distribution versus trying to find a distributor. It is an area I am exploring now for the first time myself.
09-20-2007 10:09 PM
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- Sep 2007
Yes it's possible to get the buzz going out there without dropping tons of cash on a PR person.
You've got the right idea with MySpace and YouTube...but have you also tried posting your trailer up on sites like REVVER? Some other sites that do Video On Demand, where you can even make a few bucks include: www.bside.com, www.greencine.com, www.indiepix.net, www.eztakes.com, www.imoovie.com, and www.cinemanow.com.
Have you also been trying Google Ad Words?
What about submitting to some of the Horror Festivals?
Then there's always doing a grass-roots theater run in college towns...projecting from a DVD of course so you don't have to buy prints!
Anyway, let me know what you think if any of these suggestions would work for you.