Film distribution is a minefield. No matter how talented a filmmaker you may be, it is never an easy process. But with Epic Studios’ Film Distribution Advice, we hope to simplify things.
We can’t make film distribution easy for you, but we have highlighted some basic rules for you to consider below. If you can think of others that may be of help to readers please let us know in the comments section, we would love to hear from you.
Competition is high and you will need to plan meticulously, while maintaining flexibility, in order to give your production the best chance of reaching the audience it was intended for.
Plan beyond film festival rights. It’s great that you have permission to screen your film at a festival – but when it gets the reaction you want, it’s important that you are prepared for the next stage. If you don’t plan ahead, you may find yourself at the mercy of rights holders who could hold you back or even stop you completely in your tracks.
Think you’ve made your final edit? Think again. You will probably need to adapt your production to fill the time-slot that is available on any given broadcaster’s channel. It is quite possible that you will need to re-edit, so be open to this and ensure that you are able to do it if required.
Consider semi-theatrical distribution for you film. This can generate a similar level of income and publicity to theatrical distribution if it leads to positive sales results around DVD, broadcasting and video on demand.
Start by aiming high when entering your film for festivals, rather than working upwards on the scale. If you’re successful, great, if not, try smaller events. If your production gets selected for a ‘top tier’ festival, it will be viewed by the world’s distributors and international sales agents – gaining a very real possibility of TV, DVD and/or online success. Try to be strategic when creating your festival route.
We shouldn’t need to mention this, but always read contracts thoroughly to avoid any unwelcome surprises later that could spell financial disaster. Look out for any ambiguous ‘costs’ and ensure that you are absolutely clear on what the extent of any costs could be.