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Wrangling a Distribution Deal For Your Film

Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck|May 18, 2015

A film can be a beautiful piece of art, a wonderfully entertaining stretch of farce or any number of other productions meant to capture the imagination of the audience, but what if there is no audience?

Wrangling a Distribution Deal For Your Film

A film can be a beautiful piece of art, a wonderfully entertaining stretch of farce or any number of other productions meant to capture the imagination of the audience, but what if there is no audience?

Obtaining a distribution deal is crucial for filmmakers, but the process is not what it once was.

If there’s any money to be made off a film, it comes through distributing it. Once upon a time, a filmmaker could present his creation at a flashy festival, wow the audience with juicy plots and shocking visuals and grab a distribution deal on the way out. All he or she had to do was hook a distributor. These days, acquiring a deal has isn’t the same as it was then. From determining how distribution is structured to raising funds to get the film into theaters, getting your movie out there can be a long process and may require the help of advisors such as attorneys. For a crash course in distribution contracts, have a look at the bite-sized advice below:

  1. The global deal is a ghost
    While it’s not impossible to acquire a single global distribution deal for your film, the odds are stacked against you. These days, distributing your film comes down to selling off certain territories and letting distributors pick their rights. One company is in charge of television rights, another will handle the DVDs. Making a single deal may sound enticing, but unless there’s a handsome advance check coming through the agreement, split rights deals may be the more rewarding route for filmmakers.
  2.  

  3. Distributing with a service deal
    A service deal may seem counterproductive, but there’s actually good reason for this arrangement. Usually a distribution company will pay the filmmaker for rights to distribute his or her creation, but in the case of a service deal, the agreement is the other way around. The movie’s creator pays the distributor to set up viewings for booking agents, implement publicity campaigns and take care of the general distribution process. This situation can work to the advantage of the filmmaker because for what it lacks in immediate financial return, it makes up for in greater flexibility.
  4.  

  5. Theaters can be costly, but worthwhile
    Getting your film into theaters nationwide can be a costly venture, but the publicity that comes with such wide distribution is immense. While the theater owner and distributor will each cover a chunk of the cost, this still isn’t a cheap deal to make. When pursuing theater showings, the hope is that once the film hits cinemas, the public will catch on to the quality of the movie, and the media will rave about it. That sort of publicity can offer massive return on investment.
  6.  

You can find other ways to get your film into theaters. For example, there is Tugg, an online platform that helps filmmakers get their productions into local cinemas. Its service model is similar to Kickstarter’s, except rather than monetary donations, the project’s progress is measured in viewing reservations. First a screening of the movie is set up at the chosen theater, then tickets are made available for reservation. If the minimum number of tickets is reserved five days before the select screening date, then the event will go on as planned. This ensures that any film can make it into a cinema, as long as there are people who want to see it.

Distribution can be a tough thing to acquire, with complex contracts and a number of deals to be made. If the task seems daunting, look into help from an attorney who can advise you on how to proceed with your film to ensure that there is an audience for it. Finding viewers for a new film can be tough, but with knowledge of the process and some legal help, you can woo the world with your movie.

Wrangling a Distribution Deal For Your Film

Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck

Obtaining a distribution deal is crucial for filmmakers, but the process is not what it once was.

If there’s any money to be made off a film, it comes through distributing it. Once upon a time, a filmmaker could present his creation at a flashy festival, wow the audience with juicy plots and shocking visuals and grab a distribution deal on the way out. All he or she had to do was hook a distributor. These days, acquiring a deal has isn’t the same as it was then. From determining how distribution is structured to raising funds to get the film into theaters, getting your movie out there can be a long process and may require the help of advisors such as attorneys. For a crash course in distribution contracts, have a look at the bite-sized advice below:

  1. The global deal is a ghost
    While it’s not impossible to acquire a single global distribution deal for your film, the odds are stacked against you. These days, distributing your film comes down to selling off certain territories and letting distributors pick their rights. One company is in charge of television rights, another will handle the DVDs. Making a single deal may sound enticing, but unless there’s a handsome advance check coming through the agreement, split rights deals may be the more rewarding route for filmmakers.
  2.  

  3. Distributing with a service deal
    A service deal may seem counterproductive, but there’s actually good reason for this arrangement. Usually a distribution company will pay the filmmaker for rights to distribute his or her creation, but in the case of a service deal, the agreement is the other way around. The movie’s creator pays the distributor to set up viewings for booking agents, implement publicity campaigns and take care of the general distribution process. This situation can work to the advantage of the filmmaker because for what it lacks in immediate financial return, it makes up for in greater flexibility.
  4.  

  5. Theaters can be costly, but worthwhile
    Getting your film into theaters nationwide can be a costly venture, but the publicity that comes with such wide distribution is immense. While the theater owner and distributor will each cover a chunk of the cost, this still isn’t a cheap deal to make. When pursuing theater showings, the hope is that once the film hits cinemas, the public will catch on to the quality of the movie, and the media will rave about it. That sort of publicity can offer massive return on investment.
  6.  

You can find other ways to get your film into theaters. For example, there is Tugg, an online platform that helps filmmakers get their productions into local cinemas. Its service model is similar to Kickstarter’s, except rather than monetary donations, the project’s progress is measured in viewing reservations. First a screening of the movie is set up at the chosen theater, then tickets are made available for reservation. If the minimum number of tickets is reserved five days before the select screening date, then the event will go on as planned. This ensures that any film can make it into a cinema, as long as there are people who want to see it.

Distribution can be a tough thing to acquire, with complex contracts and a number of deals to be made. If the task seems daunting, look into help from an attorney who can advise you on how to proceed with your film to ensure that there is an audience for it. Finding viewers for a new film can be tough, but with knowledge of the process and some legal help, you can woo the world with your movie.

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