The Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution
By Stacey Parks
Focal Press – 2012 – 200 pages
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 an international buyer. Self-distribution and other alternatives to traditional distribution are also considered. In addition, you'll hear some success stories from producers and hear exactly what buyers are seeking.
Stacey Parks has worked with hundreds of hungry filmmakers to get their films a distribution deal and knows how frustrating the whole process can be. Let her show 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.
. Interviews and case studies with producers and distributors
. Ten ways to market your film for self-distribution
. Sales projections per territory
. Distribution resources listings
. Negotiation tips for distribution agreements
. Sample distribution agreements
. What you must know to get your independent film distributed
. Written by a distributor who knows the process inside and out
. Interviews with buyers and acquisitions executives from every sector of the business on what kinds of films they look for, what they're sick of seeing, and how their acquisitions processes work
. Website features sample distribution agreements, budgets, and more!
New to this edition:
. Completely updated for modern distribution practices (broadcast, DVD, VOD, and other kinds of distribution deals)
. New coverage on crowd-funding, social media, film marketing, and deal memos
. Get the best inside distribution secrets from brand new interviews with an international cast of directors, producers, and distribution experts who share their experiences
. Companion website features helpful downloadable forms and templates, sample distribution memos, and a great resource section
"Well written, concise and (most importantly) honest! A must-have for indie filmmakers."--Kate Pearson, SVP, Programming, The Documentary Channel
"Finally, a contemporary and practical book about film distribution that explores this often mysterious and misunderstood part of the industry. As an academic text the approach is both classroom and reader friendly, providing information not easily found elsewhere."--Sharon Badal Faculty, New York University Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Institute of Film and Television
"The book is well worth a read especially for those filmmakers who take the business of filmmaking seriously." - Karen van Schalkwyk, SCREEN AFRICA
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
V. Post-Production geared Towards Distribution
a. M&E Tracks
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.
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
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.
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
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'
X. The future of Distribution
a. How technology is changing Distribution
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
Stacey Parks is the author of the "Inside Guide To Independent Film Distribution? (Focal Press), a comprehensive educational program for filmmakers and producers dedicated to film distribution and the marketplace. Stacey has worked in independent film for over 10 years, and is currently a sales executive at the BBC Worldwide in Los Angeles. She was previously a foreign sales agent for many years. You can join her film distribution community on the web at www.FilmSpecific.com.