Unfortunately, a great number of key digital platforms must be accessed through the use of an aggregator. Of course there are always exceptions, but the general rule is that to get your films onto Cable VOD, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Sony Playstation and other device oriented options and retailer digital platforms , you will have to go through an aggregator or a distributor. We either directly or via partners offer both a commission or a flat fee option (range depends on platforms).
However, you can get onto Amazon directly. Also, you can access DIY oriented ones such as Mubi, Fans of Film and other platforms like them. To the best of our knowledge, more money is made on the key high trafficked platforms, if one can get on them.
Once again we remind you, MARKETING, MARKETING, MARKETING is key to your film’s success no matter what distribution outlet you use.
This concludes our series of tidbits for the time being. As always, if you have questions or need guidance to figure out your film’s distribution path, we would love to hear from you. No rights taken.
Orly Ravid August 27th, 2010
For as long as it lasts, DVD is a key example of where a hybrid approach (mixture of self and distributor distribution) can be critical. Sometimes the filmmaker’s traffic on his/her own site is significant (and that is the goal after all). At times, direct sales can match sales to retailers via a distributor so reserve the right to sell direct off your site or at least have a good AFFILIATE FEE (where you get an extra commission for referring your direct customers to your distributor or Amazon). Certain films may get into WalMart or Blockbuster (while it’s still around) and that level of sale needs to happen via a distributor, but the direct sales can be very significant.
TFC negotiates contracts for clients through DVD distributors, we don’t distribute DVD’s ourselves. We have facilitated hybrid deals for clients and know of other filmmakers employing this strategy. We will get numbers for our forthcoming case-studies. One negotiation deal we did was for “Prodigal Sons” with First Run Features. That film is a perfect example of a film that employed hybrid distribution(some DIY & and some licensing)… and Kim Reed got on Oprah!
Orly Ravid August 26th, 2010
Many films enjoy their greatest success both on an awareness and financial level via HYBRID THEATRICAL / NON-THEATRICAL screenings. The film “For the Bible Tells Me So” had a successful two-year run. We (under our previous company New American Vision) worked non theatrical screenings for END OF THE LINE to screen at over 200 venues. Caitlyn Boyle worked many screenings of the film after us. The film “Age of Stupid” made 6-figures in profit from automated house-party screenings.
Documentaries,issue-oriented films and niche films lend themselves to this model and it can absolutely be done by yourself or with a professional company, it all comes down to how much time and energy you have to do the work entailed. TFC recommends asking filmmakers who have tapped into a similar niche that your film targets for tips and advice on reaching the audience. Educational / Institutional distributors such as Bullfrog and Cinema Guild can definitely get you bookings you could not get yourself simply by virtue of having the right database, so investigate ahead of time. You may want to hold off on regular DVD and digital distribution if this is part of your plan, non theatrical screenings are a window after all.
On the THEATRICAL side, we recommend you check out our recent blog on the topic and remember there’s a lot you can do on your own (including booking theatres). We recommend comparing the realistic upside with the investment. If you can’t come close to the recoupment on the cost of theatrical booking, really weigh whether it is worth it. Beware of service companies charging too much. We did just learn of a narrative film that self-released and grossed $650,000 and will actually profit from the release overall because that theatrical screening campaign elevated the profile of the film and therefore it got the DVD, digital and TV business the investors were hoping for. We’ve been ask not to name the film, sorry. In any case, examples like this can go both ways so be careful and get educated *before* the release.
Orly Ravid August 25th, 2010
TFC books film festivals for filmmakers when that work is too time consuming for the filmmakers themselves to handle. Bookings can be done by yourself and you can charge fees for an in demand film. However, there is something to be said for the ability of a distributor to command more in fees and know of more fests to get the film placed more broadly.
Know your film and yourself to determine how your festival run is best handled. Especially with niche films, make sure you are working with someone who has the knowledge of all the appropriate fests and can command decent fees, or make sure that person is you. More to consider if working with an outside company: make sure they are not too glutted with so many films that cannibalize each other both attention wise and content wise and ask what they do to work the film at the festival level.
Orly Ravid August 24th, 2010
TFC Tidbit of the Day 46 Balancing Old World Model Licensing Distribution With New Media Opportunities and DIY
The Tidbits this week will be bolstered by CASE STUDIES and real numbers to come after the initial releases have completed. These TidBits are the conclusion of our first DISTRIBUTION TIDBITS series and a bit of a general overview of how to blend traditional distribution with new DIY opportunities.
FOREIGN (OUTSIDE US DISTRIBUTION): TFC usually employs a hybrid approach when it comes to distributing films outside of the US. There is still a lot a distributor in another country can do with your film that you cannot do yourself, i.e. theatrical and non-theatrical, additional festivals per territory are harder to suss , and of course
retail DVD and often TV etc. To balance things out, TFC often combines licensing rights to distributors with some DIY. For example, we make sure filmmakers can sell off their own site (we can help facilitate that) and also have the right to get the film onto any
digital platforms that the distributors cannot and we can facilitate a worldwide iPhone App and other Apps which also allow for direct digital distribution in many countries around the world. We also aggregate directly and through our partners to key digital platforms available worldwide.
TFC helps filmmakers with foreign sales and will also soon have a booth at key sales markets. If you are going with another sales company, we will help you not get stuck in an abusive deal or one that recoups excessive costs at your expense of reasonable revenue. And many buyers will buy directly from filmmakers if they are properly motivated, thus decreasing the need for a sales agent.
Orly Ravid August 23rd, 2010
Here are a few links to some of my favorite crowdfunding case studies. These will give you more ideas on what others did successfully and how they felt about the experience.
King is a Fink http://bit.ly/aUVCqi; Gary King http://bit.ly/9unWbp; Jacques Thelemaque http://bit.ly/9UyA5o; Coffee and Celluloid http://bit.ly/d3HXgD; @craigmod http://bit.ly/d55B0I ; John Trigonis http://bit.ly/buz4bA
Orly Ravid August 20th, 2010
Posted In: crowdfunding
Remember that the platforms you use to crowdfund have fees associated with collection and access to the marketing tools they offer. Kickstarter takes 5% of the money raised and Indiegogo takes 9% (but if you reach your goal by a specified time, they will rebate 5%). On top, there are 3rd party fees such as Amazon payments fee or Paypal fees to receive the money you raised. Then, there are your fulfillment costs associated with the perks you offered (DVD copies, tshirts, etc. & postage for these). Take these into consideration when you are figuring out how much you need to raise so you don’t run short.
Orly Ravid August 19th, 2010
Posted In: crowdfunding
You must think of fun, interactive and interesting ways of soliciting funds. My friends from Tilt the movie had a really fun way of engaging their donors. They created a map of the town where their film is set and “populated” the town with their backers, complete with fun, made up bios of each one. For $15, a donor could see what kind of creative backstory could be invented for their presence in the story of Tilt. All from the creative minds of the filmmakers.
Think of the target audience of your film, what drives them, what interests them, what can you give THEM for donating? You will find that your donations are easier to get when people feel great about helping.
Orly Ravid August 18th, 2010
Posted In: crowdfunding
Ask any filmmaker who has run a successful campaign and he will tell you it was a full time job to get those funds. It is a crusade to exert your goal continuously and strenuously, basically you are bothering and cajoling everyone you know to help get to the goal. You must be committed to doing that to be successful.
Statistically, the shorter the campaign deadline, the faster the funding comes. I know this sounds unlikely, but if you drag out the process beyond 90 days, interest seriously wanes even from those benefitting from the funds. It is just not possible to keep momentum going for a long length of time. Keep it tight and focused.
Remember, Kickstarter’s policy is all or nothing. If you don’t raise your goal amount in the time allotted, you get none of the money pledged. Indiegogo allows you to keep what you raise, but if you raise it in a specified amount of time, there is a rebate on their fees.
Orly Ravid August 17th, 2010
Posted In: crowdfunding