Revisit every place you’ve played your film in advance of release (all film festivals, community screenings, etc.) and consider how you can bring them aboard as a partner to blast or otherwise promote your release. Most film festivals have a vested interest in promoting the success of their alumni films and their careers, so you can likely get inclusion in their newsletter etc that includes a link to purchase your film.
If you are working through an established distributor, find out if they have “affiliate programs” in place (meaning your promotional partner can share in a percentage,usually 5 -15%, of the revenue generated by the link from their website), and find out if you can extend those affiliate programs to your promotional partners. You can also set up DIY affiliate programs yourself through services like Amazon Payments, but the set-up charges are not cheap and probably won’t work for a one-off film. However, if you are building yourself as a BRAND, and expect a slate of films that you can promote, affiliate programs are a must.
Orly Ravid August 12th, 2010
New Video-They are choosy about the films they represent and they charge 15% of all revenue generated.
IndieFlix– They go through New Video and charge a 30% Fee on all revenue generated (we think that’s inclusive of the New Video fee but are waiting to confirm).
Indie Rights– They go through New Video and charge a 20% fee in addition to the New Video fee.
IndieRights and IndieFlix also work with platforms other than iTunes as do we at TFC so that should be factored in when making distribution decisions.
Tunecore-Aggregates straight to iTunes. Distribber uses Tunecore to access iTunes. Distribber charges a flat fee of $1,295 for iTunes and all the revenue flows back to the filmmaker, no backend fees. TFC uses Tunecore and works with Distribber as a partner (we are working with them for no extra charge to filmmakers).
Gravitas– A VOD / digital aggregator (who often goes through Warner Bros), they will handle your iTunes submission, but that’s two fees (each at 15% as we understand it and they claim that Warner Bros and studios in general get better revenue even from Apple).
Warner Bros and Lionsgate- TFC works with Lionsgate and it seems that both have more marketing leverage (as does New Video) to get best promotion possible on iTunes. This can make a big difference and should be factored in along with analysis of backend splits and fees.
TFC works with both the flat fee and commission models because of the fact that when cable VOD or even sometimes DVD is a valuable option, regular digital often goes with them.
Orly Ravid August 9th, 2010
Nothing is more disconcerting than filmmakers who spend $100K (or whatever) to make their film, but now have nothing left to make screeners, exhibition masters, hire publicists, set up buyer screenings, hire a team to oversee their web presence, etc. A film in the can is only a tree toppling in the forest, and if you have nothing left in the bank then your tree will certainly fall silently on deaf ears.
Remember that everything AFTER you complete your film will still cost some money, even if it is only Festival submission fees; the postage and assistance to get the film out there; a few key trips to important Festivals and markets where you can promote your film; and distribution deliverables (including MUSIC CLEARANCES). A good guideline minimum is 10% – 20% of your production budget to help you start the distribution process…so if you are thinking your film will cost $100K to make, then make the budget 110 or 120K at least.
Don’t get caught in the ultimate trap that so many filmmakers find themselves in; a film in the can with nothing more they can do with it. You didn’t max your credit cards to end up in this dilemma! Think about distribution expenses IN CONJUNCTION with production expenses. Please!
Orly Ravid August 6th, 2010
Whatever subject matter and themes you are tackling in your film, chances are pretty good there are prominent (and not so prominent) bloggers already writing about these topics and targeting folks who will care about your film.
Unlike the traditional mainstream press, you don’t need an expensive publicist to reach them….just find their contact info on their blogs and reach out directly with a nice personal note that includes your synopsis, your web links, and your offer to send them a screener or trailer if they want one. None of this is brain surgery. Within a few days of google research you should be able to identify most of the major players in your niche.
Theme and topic aside, there are also of course many bloggers out there just writing about quality independent film, so remember to reach out to those folks as well.
One additional hint — find a way to INCENTIVIZE the blogger to write about your film! A contest to give away a way a few free DVDS of your film is often the best. It gives the blogger a prize to offer his or her readers and gets you the free viral press you need!
Orly Ravid August 4th, 2010
Posted In: Marketing