What I Learned: Distribution 2

In the book “Think Outside the Box Office” by Jon Reiss is an entire section I have been ignoring: “Sanity and the Future”.  The first chapter is:  “Keeping Sane”.   Last night I took that chapter to bed with me and as I read it I must have had a hundred “AHA” moments.    As in: “Wow, I’m not the only one who feels like she’s working into a black abyss of self-distribution” – it was like reading confessions of a “DIY-Distributor’s Anonymous” meeting. – DIYDA.The book talks about other things the fact that creative talent hates to deal with the business side of things, but that’s not even it for me.  I’m a producer and I run small business and I actually very much enjoy the business side of things, but what drives me absolutely NUTS is the fact that everything moves at a glacial (as in when glaciers didn’t melt yet) pace.   In production decisions are made fast and you get bids, crews, equipment, answers, etc. immediately.  Now everything feels like pulling teeth – and very slowly so.  Consultant Peter Broderick gave me one good piece of advice:  don’t rush anything, take your time to decide what to do….  great advice, especially for a producer, but more than not it feels like I don’t have a choice either.

I think a very obvious piece of advice and one I wish I would have gotten from the get go would be: your film is not like any other film and what worked for others will not necessarily work for you – sounds really straight forward, no?  Yes, and no.  There are SO MANY moving variables.  Every decision you make has ramifications for other venues of distribution and some of them demand a very strict sequence of distribution, lest you shoot yourself in the foot and have your world premiere inadvertently with a small screening in a library and the big film festival you’ve been dreaming about will now no longer consider your film.

I would say, first and foremost:  learn who likes your film; show your film:  who loves your film, who responds to your film – how do different groups react? Are there common denominators with groups of people, e.g. educators, women, religious groups, professionals? LISTEN….