I’m a bit late in pointing to this, but if you haven’t read it, I’d suggest you do so. Distribution consultant Peter Broderick posted a two-part article on indieWIRE during Independent Film Week that is, in essence, a primer on the changing distribution landscape for independent film. Unlike the rants and raves we’ve been seeing (my own included), Broderick puts forward examples of successes and some very practical information for filmmakers who are trying to figure out what to do with their movie.
Part I Here.
Part II Here.
Or download a PDF from Broderick’s website.
Here are some of Broderick’s take-away tips about how you should consider approaching distribution:
Be strategic – In the Old World, most filmmakers have reactions not strategies. They chose the best offer from those they receive. It is essential to be proactive in the New World. You need a strategy to navigate it successfully.
Think long term – Be clear about your goals. Are you creating a business around a group of films with common content? Are you building a career as an artist with a core personal audience?
Stay flexible – Implement your strategy stage by stage and modify it as you go. You learn valuable information in every stage that will enable you to improve your plan for the next stage.
Split rights – Retain overall control of your distribution. Take a hybrid approach, dividing certain rights among distributors and retaining the right to do direct sales.
Target audiences – Research, test, and refine your approach to core audiences. Understand who is most responsive to your films, and how to reach them most effectively.
Find partners – Look for national nonprofits, websites, sponsors, and distributors to team up with to bring your film to their members, subscribers, and customers.
Build a team – Find teammates who can help with the website, outreach, fulfillment, theatrical, domestic sales, and foreign sales.
Harness the internet – Use your website to build awareness, develop a mailing list, attract user-contributed content, and make direct sales. Design a compelling site that will have a life of its own.
Be creative – Avoid formulaic distribution ruts. Apply the same creativity to distribution as production. It is often harder to bring a movie into the world than to produce it. An innovative approach to distribution can make all the difference.
Make distribution happen – Design a distribution strategy and find the distributors, partners, and teammates to help you implement it.