What I learned: Distribution

Have you heard about the “new hybrid distribution model” for films?  I hear you cry.  A quick tutorial from my beginners POV:  in the olden days (like 12 months ago, ok, maybe 24 months), it seems that you finished a film, put it out to distribution companies hoping that someone would sign you.  And either you signed and then had THEM do all the work FOR YOU – for a (smallish) cut of the profits or you went into the corner without a distribution deal and cried.   The pros to this approach:  you where done with your film. The con: you where done with your film.  So far so good.

Now, if you have a narrative film I think that’s still a pretty good model, since they tend to need a theatrical or TV release.   However if you have a documentary with a social message, then maybe you want to make sure it gets seen by the right people – those who care about your topic, or even better, those who don’t – YET. Are you with me?

A few years back and with the help of the interweb, sorry I mean the internet, artists, filmmakers, producers and the like where able to reach their fans, friends and followers directly.  And all of a sudden giving away all your rights to ONE company seemed insane.  Add to that a lousy economy and a hugely risk adverse studio and distribution community and BINGO – the new hybrid distribution model.  DIY distribution (do-it-yourself – for those of you who are acronym-challenged – me included).

Today, thanks to the internet and social networking you can do it all yourself.  That is:  IF: you have the upfront money, never need to sleep, have no family and love abuse.

For now I leave you with two books that are an absolute must read if you are self-distributing or considering it:

For ANYTHING self-distributed:  “Fans, Friends & Followers“, by Scott Kirshner – very inspiring and informative.

If you are self-distributing a film:  “Think Outside the Box Office“, by Jon Reiss – very detailed and as far I can tell, timely.