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Fair and explotitive distribution revenues available to indie filmmakers

Psychomanteum - Our self-financed independent portmanteau psychological horror film consisting of several very different tales of terror from the UK is now available for purchase on Vimeo On Demand from £0.76 to rent and less than £2 to buy.

Dozens of ShootingPeople members contributed incredibly generously both in front and behind the camera to enable this film to be made, support the British film industry by buying British independently produced films to enable further films to be made, with training and opportunities to UK talent and creatives.

Please note that Vimeo gives contributing filmmakers 90% of all sales as opposed to Amazon that only gives filmmakers a measly 6% and don't even get me started on YouTube (benchmark to earn, stuffing your films full of annoying ads, poor video viewing quality due to high compression rates).

Also Vimeo pay you every month, others quarterly or yearly or never it seems.

Vimeo supply you when paying you with statiscal information that is clear and extremely useful when trying to build a viable business, others obsticate and the sales stats and what they do provide in my humble opinion is completely useless.

I would love to hear everyones thoughts on this and also any other fair profit share distribution revenue options presently available to the indie filmmaking community please?

Ray Brady

  • So, Vimeo "gives" you 90 percent of the net, but charges conversion fees (last I saw, they take all the money in dollars, so if you're outside the dollar zone, you lose out.) And, they usually pay through systems that charge additional fees (Paypal's processing fees and so on). They also charge an annual fee for the privilege of being with them.

    There used to be a competitor that was like Vimeo without the annual fee, but vimeo bought them up. The competitor also allowed you to sell the movies from your own website, rather than registering with Vimeo and all that (it was more of a video host and processing facility, but only charged ten percent, no membership fee.) Hopefully, Amazon won't buy up vimeo.

    But, Amazon is a predator, and it's probably only a matter of time before Google, Microsoft, or Amazon buys Vimeo.

    The problem with all online distribution is the lack of a Nielsen ratings system, or independent audit of any kind. You basically have to trust them that they're being honest about how many people bought your stuff or saw your trailer. At least with ebay and physical delivery, you know who bought your stuff, because you have to deliver it.

    Big companies like Disney create their own online distribution systems because they know they'll get cheated otherwise.

    2 years ago
  • Hi Vasco, Yes I fully appreciate there are some inherent costs and deductions to be made and take into account from the 90% but...90% v 6% (minus Amazons inherent costs and deductions (Paypal fee deductions or bank transfer costs etc) from the 6% they are offering...come on now, they're not even in the same ballpark when it comes to making comparisions? Also, importantly what other better alternatives can you suggest please or is this the best deal available?

    2 years ago
    • Hi Ray, It depends on scale.

      Basically, as much as people attack distributors, if you can find one that's better. Producer, director, writer and actors get residuals for tv screenings. Yes, some films never make a paper profit, but there are advances that cover production costs.

      At a certain level, you can host your own films. And, there's always the option of selling physical copies direct from your website.

      Amazon is pretty rubbish. But, some microbudget and near-microbudget films have made it to itunes and elsewhere.

      2 years ago
  • OK let me try and breakdown and respond to your reply Vasco.

    "Basically, as much as people attack distributors, if you can find one that's better."

    Better than what please, selling via Vimeo?

    "Producer, director, writer and actors get residuals for tv screenings."

    Yes that is true if you have made a sale to a broadcastor, which is not the case here.

    "Yes, some films never make a paper profit,"

    ? Where did this point come from please?

    "but there are advances that cover production costs."

    Are you talking about a funded/financed movie? Again this is not relevant to my question Vasco.

    "At a certain level, you can host your own films. And, there's always the option of selling physical copies direct from your website."

    Sorry but been there seen it done it and I know that it doesn't work and importantly it requires far more expense outlay after the film is finished, I used to have my own DVD lable over ten years ago now i.e. BBFC certification, creating artwork and authoring blue rays & DVD's, publicity materials and promotion all were very expensive, then finding a reputable trade wholeseller. I once personally lost over twenty thousand pounds worth of DVD stock when my DVD wholeseller went bankrupt and into liquidation.

    "Amazon is pretty rubbish. But, some microbudget and near-microbudget films have made it to itunes and elsewhere."

    Hmmm...and how much do iTunes pay out per centage wise
    and what do they take off the top of sales before money gets to the filmmakers. Importantly...


    but this was my original question Vasco, what are the alternatives. I was looking for alternatives and tried and tested return rates.

    It would be great if anyone out there that has actually made, financed and sold independent features that has actual personal experiences of income in from sales made would please join in this conversation as pages of vaguries are writen on this list and many others all the time but rarely by those that have the actual sales return figures to hand that they managed to make them on their films?

    2 years ago
    • Hey, how come it lets you edit your replies and not me? Are you a moderator on this website?

      2 years ago
    • @vasco de sousa
      I haven't edited anything and no I am not a moderator

      2 years ago
  • Hello all,

    I can give you the real world perspective on the above as I deal with all this daily. I have what is effectively a studio's worth of content which I'm constantly trying to promote behind what we've got coming next. This isn't speculation, I make and distribute content. I also run a film festival and see how much people waste on production costs over marketing musts. At this level returns are poor but the game is creating a bigger platform for your brand. Self-distribution options are limited without serious hard work and on trend, real world experience which, incidentally, only comes from having product to actually push.

    I've made 13 no budget indie feature films since 2010 and pursued all avenues of online distribution from the get go. To broaden my presence and brand I also started the Nightpiece Film Festival in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and since 2014 I have presented over 250 films in 5 years (including Ray's film 'Afraid of the Dark' - part of Psychomanteum - this August).

    Amazon is a gateway to massive exposure and if you're not using it you are simply missing a trick. Give up earning a decent return on it - economies of scale operate here, it won't happen. It's not rubbish by any stretch. It's a key component to any modern film distribution plan you just have to learn how to harness it. You really can't argue when IMDb becomes a point of sale and clicks thru to your film. Amazon offers you a monetised method of distribution for free provided you have closed captions and can upload basic media assets. £0.04p per hour streamed is horrendously poor but you can choose your selling options and in 2018 your respective film needs exposure more than anything else. Bypassing the biggest movie and retail sites on the planet just doesn't make sense.

    Obviously to go through Vimeo on Demand you need Vimeo Pro and that costs $199 a year. You don't need closed captions to sell your film here but CC exposes your film to countless more markets. The key USP for Vimeo though is you can just sell it.

    Currently 12 of my features are available on Vimeo on Demand and the last 4 of my features are available on Amazon Prime. Amazon has multiple divisions. Without multiple CC translations (79 min film = $79 cost for CC via you're stuck on Amazon UK and Amazon US but the outreach of Amazon and the IMDb association make it an absolute no-brainer to not have your film on this platform.

    The last 4 films are also out there on lots of US streaming sites you've never heard. They've reached these sites with distribution via
    This site is in it's relative infancy but their goal
    is clear and they have had a significant impact on our figures.

    If your film is actually selling Amazon pay monthly directly to your bank and Vimeo pay monthly via PayPal. On paper Vimeo offers a better deal but it's outreach is nominal compared to Amazon and you still might lose 30% to US Tax even after you've filled out the W-8BEN (US Tax form).

    Since September 2017, we've accrued about £50 in net royalites from Amazon across 3 titles (4th th'dread rattlin' only goes up on Amazon UK on 31st October).
    The releases came out September 2017 /May 2018 /August 2018 /October 2018. Some months royalties have been pennies, others pounds, sometimes even double figures but they've dripped in since January and each film has got bigger in popularity.

    On Amazon,'Tara Reata' has streamed 11,609 minutes since it's Aug 21st release. This equates to 154 odd viewings; nothing much but if they were 154 buys at ¢4.99 you'd have something to smile about.

    Once you start releasing on Amazon you need to keep making more content available as this snowballs interest and gives you a landing page. The films are popular for around 6-8 weeks then fade without a new product or marketing push that piques further interest.

    On Vimeo in the same period (since Dec 2017), 7 titles have made a paltry 20 rentals to the tune of exactly $36.79 (gross revenue) in rentals.

    Finallly, on 'Tara Reata' alone Filmhub are currently reporting $9.72 in estimated revenue since August. I haven't had a payout from this site yet but they pay
    quarterly and we're in an interim overlap period.

    Those are brutal real world figures of how crap streaming land is. iTunes is 70/30 split and is a time consuming and expensive process that ultimately needs you to sell early to rise in sales rankings and go up the store pyramid. With an aggregator or not it still involves a QC'ed film from an Apple approved encoding house (eg. BitMax) and this costs £££ making it a pointless enquiry for the unfunded distributor.

    If you want an immediate return on your film, run a screening and sell tickets!

    Hope that info might help!

    Al Carretta

    2 years ago
    • Holy cow... that's extremely depressing. The way you describe your Amazon experience, makes it sound completely pointless in terms of revenue. It may increase your audience but for what gain? There is literally no point in making £100 because the time put into getting it on the platform, getting CC's etc is worth way more. We may as well flip burgers in Maccy D's and sell dvd's to the customers...

      2 years ago
    • @Michael Lebor It's not as depressing as I make it sound and it's a dead simple process if you're an efficient administrator. It's by no means pointless; you're just working in a saturated market at the bottom end of the 'Long Tail'. It's a pure economy of scale and a necessary evil in platform building exposure so the pros far outweigh the cons every step. Also, you can't laugh at £100 - in streaming that's around 2200 views of your film and so many films just don't get seen.

      2 years ago
    • @Al Carretta
      I agree with Al here. With the exception of neg pick-up by a major on your first feature film (if only) you need to be thinking of the long haul plan . Your earlier films will help you to establish the audience for your next film, connections to festivals, sales & distribution. By repeatedly producing new films for Netflix, Amazon etc who merely see us independents as providers of virtually free content for their sausage machines that is sadly the present reality of modern distribution. If you do manage to make a hit film, then you'll ride in an express elevator to the elite higher levels of distribution and earnings, where you can ask for and find modest budgets for your next opus. Until then you just have to pick your self up and go again. A slight plus is that if you have managed to retain control to the rights of your earlier films, then you will have created renewed sales interest for further distribution of them by those curious to see where you came from. I intend to start production on my next indie feature in a few months time, do I have a production budget yet? The answer is no, but I have experience and skills learned from making my earlier films and have learned from my past mistakes, I am therefore confident that with the support of many of my past collaborators it will be enough to create enough momentum to make a film where neg pick-up is a distinct possibility.

      2 years ago
  • Hi Al,
    I've tried hiring cinema's and selling tickets, "four walling" as its known, rarely made a penny after costs of the cinema hire, always expensive since they could be doing a screening of the latest blockbuster movie release so the hire rates understandibly need to allow for what the cinema screen usually would be earning them. Also it's only worth doing a limited theatrical release if your prepared to heavily promote by, attending each screening and doing a Q&A, weeks in advance orgainizing local radio and press to do tie-in stories to promote your event. Your main costs are for travel and accomodation and the screen hire which all equates to, even with quite high or sold out attendance you just breaking even. In reference to Amazon, I agree that if you can repeatedly make and release films, you can build a following, but you need to stick to the same genre or at the very least a consistant unique style. With a bit of luck all the hard work will enable you to contimually improve and hopefully get to the point where you start making direct sales from your own website or from Vimeo, better still reach the level where either Amazon or Netflix or whatever will agree to buy your film lockstock as several filmmakers I know have done this and received the best payouts that they've ever had from their films. I've to have several films available to buy on Amazon, some for several years and agree that the income that comes in from them is quite pittyful, but if you managed to have a hit it's then that you'll make money from having them up there. Just having them up on there doesn't mean anything if people don't know they are there or are interested in searching and watching them, you have to create a demand someway to drive purchases and sales as Amazon do nothing to promote small (low-budget) indie films at the moment but hopefully that too might change in the future along with the tiny proportion precentages on sales that they are presently paying you for you content.
    Ray Brady

    2 years ago
    • From what's being discussed here I think going down the Vimeo route would be much more rewarding than Amazon and then our job would be to drive people to watch it. Driving people to Amazon would be pointless and the returns are close to zero. These sums make a mockery of our skills and experience.

      We'd make more money just trying to get our friends and family and networks to watch on Vimeo, as long as the film is good it should get traction and everyone gets something for their money.

      2 years ago
    • @Michael Lebor
      Hi Michael, whilst film professionals are happy to sign up to Vimeo it's hard to get friends and family to do so, but with a bit of polite persuasion, you can get them to do so. The general population simply do not want to give their details and sign up to another platform, since Amazon, Netflix, Sky etc are well established as purveyors of quality product most people, in general, believe that anything of quality will eventually turn up on their platforms and will be available through them. So the best bet is, firstly go the Vimeo way of self-distribution before then after you have maxed out any possible revenue income on there then move on to much wider distribution via the above mentioned larger network, where you will not make hardly any money by you will reach an audience potential a million times bigger. The hard reality is that without the money to pay for a huge promotional publicity campaign you are very, very unlikely to reach much of an audience.
      Regards Ray

      2 years ago
    • @Michael Lebor Elaborating on Ray's comments,
      irrespective of income Vimeo is by far the hardest platform to generate interest from. To give an analogy it's like looking at a shop that always seems to be shut. Technically it doesn't seem to dynamically adapt as swiftly as the other sites do (e.g YouTube/Netflix will play 144p - 1080p depending on how much internet signal it can find) and this is real world user feedback I've seen constantly - people struggle with playback. It's storefront is complicated and you really have to learn how to navigate the site. You can't just get at what you're looking for in the way you can with Amazon and other other streaming sites. Although some of the content is incredible from an art/visual perspective it has some heavy bias with 'Staff Picks'. Generally buying from Vimeo is the difference between picking up The Rock's latest blockbuster from Tesco or going to the National Theatre on Southbank because they're the only stockist of a director's latest avant garde creation.'s specialist and therefore appeals to niche.

      2 years ago
  • Hi Ray, it's all interesting stuff and a good discussion to have. I see lots of filmmakers with product who don't see that (on this level) self-promotion is now the future and cost-cutting is a must. The key I'm always looking for is value; my marketing spend on all 13 films effectively stands at zero. I looked at cinema hire with Cineworld and Odeon back in 2010 when I'd made my first feature and decided the fees and requirements were cost ineffective when I could hire a theatre and put in a projector and fastfold screen for less. This directly influenced my decision to launch Nightpiece Film Festival in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In the future, I feel whichever cinema chain starts embracing the filmmaking community and offers their respective theatres in an accessible hire package will become the future of the indie game in a click.


    2 years ago
    • A friend of mine runs a company called "our screen" and is effectively crowd sources ideas to show films at all of the usual cinema chains. If enough people vote for Bladerunner and pre order a ticket then they get hold of the film and show it. I've been to a kids party where a parent hired OurScreen to put on "Sing".

      I've discussed this with him for my film Buddy Goes to Nollywood and he's interested in partnering with me because Nollywood is a niche that could attract an audience in London because of diaspora. It is unlikely to make me enough money to bother though... it would involve me doing a lot of social media marketing, which is not my thing. But if I had a producer who wanted to take a cut, and do all that stuff I would go for it.

      2 years ago
    • @Michael Lebor

      Our Screen is a great company, I really love what they are doing and have achieved in a relatively short amount of time as a company. The first expense and job you would need to do to be able to do this would be to create a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) which is possible to make yourself, but I suggest that you most definitely take it to the venue to test that it works well in advance of your screening date, alternatively pay some company two hundred and fifty to a thousand pounds to make one for you. On the plus side the filmmaker gets a goodly piece of the action after the venue costs have been covered but most importantly you have to put the time into marketing and promoting the event/s. Why a Producer would be interested in doing this I wouldn't know as it would be a lot of hard work and wouldn't actually be for a screen credit. There are professional bookers, but they would charge a fee. The only real viable way I could think of for you to bother doing this is to 1. Do it for a cast and crew/ press/potential distributor or sales agents in attendance to see how the film played to a real audience or 2. If you did a national four-wall release where you did a day and dated tour to do a Q&A at each screening. Again costly but you might build a following off the back of it to get people to crowdfund your next film.
      Regards​ ​Ray

      2 years ago
    • @Ray Brady
      Yes that all sounds true, my producer is unfortunately now a fitness instructor so he won't get involved...!

      I do have a DCP, none of the festivals I've been accepted into have needed it thankfully.

      2 years ago
    • @Michael Lebor
      Cool. I wouldn't bother making a DCP now if you haven't needed one, worth making one though if you were right at the start of your feature release as you could then state in your publicity bumpf "DCP available for festivals", which might get the interest of a few of the larger festivals. You are right though, a high quality well graded 4K quality copy put up onto Vimeo will satisfy the majority on film festivals nowadays and save you save yourself a shed load of money on print or DCP courier transportation costs. Shame about your Producer now becoming a fitness instructor and therefore not being up for further promotion of the film as. Making the movie is only have the required effort. Getting your film out there and with wide distribution takes as much effort, cost and time as making the film in the first place also, this work needs to be done often when your credit cards are already completely maxed out from the costs of making your film and your initial production war chest, depleted or even empty. Without the follow through effort once your film is finished, often enough films get little real distribution even sometimes never even seeing the light of day, as without marketing and promotion they very understandably make, any or more than a few sales, so rarely re-coop their production costs. This is the main reason why people do not bother to make another movie after their experiences and disappointment making their first one. Stephen Follows recently did some excellent research on this and found that of the one hundred percent of filmmakers that make one feature film, less than ten percent go on to make a second and then about five percent a third (you can see where I'm going with this). Unfortunately, most filmmakers do not anticipate, plan or budget for this essential time-consuming part of the filmmaking process which is marketing, sales, and promotion. They seem to just go into production hoping that they will simply be selected to screen their finished film at a major festival and that then they will get their film picked up for a huge amount of money as a buyout by Netflix, Fox Searchlight (or similar) so that they can then move straight on to making another film and just leave the promotional part to the distribution company that bought it. Sadly this only happens for less than a tenth of one percent of the hundred of indie feature-length films now made every year. On a more positive note though, that one in a thousand chance is always there for the right film at the right time and I intend to make one soon!
      Regards Ray

      2 years ago
  • Whilst this conversation is well informed by all of its contributors personal experiences and knowledge, it would be presumptuous to assert that any one of or even all of the realities posited and declared are definitive.

    "one ought not take ones own case for a generality"

    2 years ago
  • Nice one John. Very true indeed sir.
    Several people have made low budget features, got picked and distributed in cinemas and made a fortune or at least gave themselves huge careers boosts. "Paranormal Activity" for one, "Tangerine" another, the right film at the right time discovered and picked up by the right distributor, anything can happen.

    2 years ago
  • Hi All,

    These are the other key VoD distributors I haven't yet mentioned. Distribber and Quiver cost mega money. Quiver for example will pitch to Netflix for you for an extra $1500 but realistically just at basic level you are looking at $1000 - $2000 spends to go through these channels but Hulu and iTunes will be top of the distro list. Indie Rights charge no up-front fees with 80% return to the filmmaker but aren't on the scale of the others.

    You can work directly with Apple if you have enough content, e.g.more than 5 features and a US Tax ID but you'll still spend £££ on an Apple approved encoding house like BitMax so you're best to go through aggregators without a catalog of films.


    Quiver Digital

    Indie Rights/Nelson Madison Films


    So, if you've got money to step up your VoD game the above is where you go...but it might not make you any more money.

    Al Carretta

    2 years ago
    • Hi Al,
      If Cinistream "are offering OVER 30% off of Cinistream Premium pre-orders! Get 1 year of ad-free, high-quality movie streaming for only $61!" also "+ a free month of Cinistream Premium!". OK, It's going to be cheap, they will make money from any and all advertising (intrusive adds dropped into content), my question is how are filmmakers going to make anything from this. Call me cynical (pun intended) but this seems to be several times more exploitative for filmmakers who add their content than the startup version of Spotify for musicians?
      Do you have their percentages and any figures please to justify that this is a potentially fair revenue stream for filmmakers?
      Regards Ray

      2 years ago
  • Say your indie film sells to Netflix for 100,000K ($ that is) sounds great but they used to out pay out $20K adavance on deliveribles and then the rest over four payments per year quarter, now changed to the same advance but the rest of the $80K over three years in twelve payments, so not as sweet as before. On top of that they would demand to have first bite of the VOD cherry (beofre release on other platforms as mentioned ref above by Al (by the way great input/work Al), sometimes demanding a window of six to twelve months beofre allowing you to release on other platforms. The only way around this is that they either commision your film or you win Sundance or similar i.e. Cannes, venice, Toronto or fill out film theatres for weeks, then they will come at you with serious money but again, paid over several years now, on the plus side they will most probably green light and fully finance your next couple of projects.

    2 years ago
    • Hi Ray, if you don't mind me asking, how has Vimeo On Demand been working for you? I'm guessing it's too soon to say with your current movie but have you used it before for your previous projects?

      I've been researching, reaching out to people in different film making communities who self distribute, asking how Vimeo has worked, or not, for them.

      As you've said I agree it's the best percentage out there for us (even with all the fees) and in theory I want to funnel my target audiences direct to Vimeo to rent or buy first, especially for the first month or so, before moving the movie onto other platforms where the percentage is not as good. I want to capitalise on the bigger return possible first, which on paper, Vimeo seems to be.

      The only problem I've been finding out, and it's overwhelming, that people just don't seem to want to purchase via Vimeo.
      I've never purchased using Vimeo myself and I don't know anyone else who has, but I'm sure people do.

      It's frustrating because Vimeo are very generous but the general responses I've been getting are:
      It's difficult to drive people to Vimeo.
      Google searches are poor, their films show up in other ways but occasionally not for Vimeo.
      Even with targeted marketing to their lists they make hardly anything as no one makes the leap to purchase, but on Amazon they get far better results, even though the pay structure is nowhere near as generous.

      I'm still going to try Vimeo OD, maybe not in the same way I mentioned above, but it can still be utilised as an extra revenue stream.

      Good luck with your project and I sincerely hope you get good results on Vimeo, I really want to hear some positive (profitable) responses for that platform!

      2 years ago
      Every sale I made through Vimeo, I drove there myself. After I did a blog post linking to it, the purchases came in. When I didn't promote, nothing.

      Vimeo claimed that my trailer had many hundreds of plays to each purchase. So maybe my trailer sucked? Or, maybe it was their payment system (one of my customers complained that it was extremely difficult to use.)

      VHX I bought from. That was easy to use. Vimeo, no. Vimeo bought VHX, ruined it.

      90 percent? Not really, they nickel and dimed me with other fees. What do they do for that 10 percent (it doesn't even include taxes, conversion fees, payment processing, plus you're paying for hosting)? Not a lot.

      2 years ago
    • @vasco de sousa
      That's good you got sales after directing traffic to your film.
      So would you say, if you kept up the marketing and kept driving traffic to your film on Vimeo, it would be doing well for you, especially if you're keeping roughly 90%?

      I would argue taking 90 percent from each sale is fantastic. After all you're using their platform, the payment gateway etc. I'd happily pay 10% for that, plus the little extras, especially if it's paying off (that seems to be crux of it all).
      I sell a lot on eBay and people complain about their fees, but their platform gives me access to selling worldwide, which is fantastic. Everything has a cost, unfortunately, it just needs to be factored in.

      I didn't realise Vimeo bought VHX, I did pay once using VHX and that was easy enough.
      Doesn't sound good if the same can't be said for paying via Vimeo.

      2 years ago
  • Hi Philip,
    Apologies for my tardy response I been away attending and screening my latest feature Psychomanteum at the Festival of Fantastic Films Manchester. I can not figure out from his info on ShootingPeople and his film CV/Profile data what exactly Vasco has been supposedly selling on Vimeo, can you, care to please quantify Vasco? I have been selling short and feature-length films on Vimeo and made actual sales and real experience to share rather than hypothetical fantasy information. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but when giving advise I find it reproachable to offer it when is not backed up by real-world facts and experience.
    Please DM Philip and I will share.

    2 years ago
    • Ray,
      I don't waste a lot of money on IMDB qualifying festivals or vanity IMDB pages. I sold Dara Says and United States and Ukraine on Vimeo years ago.

      Your buddy John Lubran doesn't have much of an IMDB page, but as he's not Latin, your racist mouth doesn't question him.

      As for numbers, two fingers. It's between me and anyone I have financial dealings with.

      2 years ago
  • Racist?
    "United States" and "Ukraine" what are these, where are they mentioned anywhere but in your reply and me here questioning their reality. How many votes by members does "Dara Says" have, so you didn't show it at any festivals, but was it simply that it wasn't accepted by any film festivals? Has anyone actually seen it? Is it as dirivitive as your masterpiece "His Palm is Itchy", whcih seems to be the only film that I can find, a short so very much like an excerpt of South Park the Movie? Oh...and you could be the most rude person I have had the displeasure of encountering online.

    2 years ago
  • PS My ex-wife was Indian and my daughter is half indian.
    I not rascist I just do not like unqualified people answering questions made to me, for me. I do not express to be an expert but I do have experience which I am willing to share.
    "Hi Ray, if you don't mind me asking, how has Vimeo On Demand been working for you?" It's the "Hi Ray" bit that explains that Philip was asking me a question and not yourself Vasco, in case it's still a bit confussing for you. Competing at Raindance, Edinburugh, Sitges, etc are honary not vain, I didn't submit to, I was invited to screen the Viennale in Austria, one of the most prestigous film festivals in the world, I've also been invited to screen at several national nternational film festivals, so no money was wasted. Talk about what you know, don't talk for others and listen when people are kindly providing you with useful information rather than interjecting inexperienced opinions and then having insulting hissy fits when someone calls you out for talking nonsense.

    2 years ago
  • Wow! This conversation has taken more twists and turns than with a bag of Spritzals. Lots of name calling and casting of aspirations. Has anyone in this conversation actually met?

    Just for the record, for the avoidance of doubt, if anyone wants to know, there's a representative taste of what I've been upto over the last three decades or so on

    I've never sought to generate money from VOD or on line viewing platforms because it's been clear, since for ever, that the odds of such an things being worth the effort are too long. The chances of short films and low budget features achieving something commensurate with a viable business model are statistically weak. Sure there's some great examples of success against the odds but they're not representative enough for one to base a business plan upon. There's lots of good reasons to make these films but making money isn't one of them. Unless one has an edge.

    I've enjoyed and supported a great many projects that had little or no expectation of monetary or distribution success. Where I've been working for at least some sort of profit or even just needing to break even, I've sought to satisfy clearly identifiable markets and audiences, mostly factual and commercial. I can only repeat my mantra that for an independent or underground film maker who needs to extract a financially viable project from a low base, the first requirement is to ask oneself if that project has appeal to an audience for more reasons than just being another story in a saturated market where bigger budget movies with powerful marketing and distribution resources dominate and displace. Typically, when one looks into it, most low budget shorts and features rely upon the accomplishments of unrelated wealth, patronage or the impoverishment of it's producers. One of my heroines, with whom I was pleased to have a minor role, has been Franny Armstrong, who the best part of two decades ago raised some £600,000 through innovative methods of crowd funding to produce her feature drama documentary 'The Age of Stupid' and then raised further funds in money and kind valued at another £400,000 to facilitate a truly worldwide distribution. Franny demonstrated one template for viable alternative film making, beyond the bumping along the bottom sort, for those who don't rely upon 'established' mechanisms, so often suggested to be the proper way to go. Franny's model was not definitive of the alternative film business models available but certainly offers an insight as to how to duck and dive without following those overtrodden pathways so beloved of those who place their souls into the keeping of film festivals, even though they can be fun. The real world of opportunity lies beyond the establishment and it's party games.

    First have a story that people really do care about. That usually means a story that accords with realities that affect people. Get that right and much of the rest ought to fall into place; even if it's not quite as easy as falling off a log.

    2 years ago
  • Wise and thoughtful words John and very greatly appreciated. Personally, I'm testing all the online distribution models available using my own indie films, their sales to discover more and more about possible revenue streams from online distribution. Interestingly though. I feel a lot more in control with online distribution than in my past twenty years of distribution by DVD and even on VHS (dust and cobwebs and visible pixels here) when I was constantly being ripped off by bottom feeding sales agents, dodgy wholesalers and high street rental sharks now thankfully deceased. Have been working at online distribution for nearly a decade now as was trying right from the start to get it to work, now finally after all this time, I am beginning to see a chink of daylight shining through from so much darkness. Analytics, blockchain sales figures and money are finally starting to become less hidden, now if only Amazon would open up a little about how they run their system for low budget films rather than having for me to try and work backward to try and figure out revenue percentages.
    Many thanks as always for your perspective John
    regards Ray

    2 years ago
  • Ray, you're a doer and you've done a lot. You've also invested a lot and taken risks. It's good to know that your seeing light through the chinks of armour. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    2 years ago
  • You too have done a lot and really great to hear that you supported Franny Armstrong and her most excellent film. Met and got the time to talk to the late greatly missed Pete Postlethwaite in Berlin at an after party for the world premiere of "In the Name of the Father", he too was a much respected, altruistic, very generous and an incredibly positive supportive gentleman.
    Many thanks, John
    regards Ray

    2 years ago
  • Pete Postlthwaites premature death was a tragic loss, bless him. I have to stress that my part in Franny's film was very minor. I did spend time with her though and provided some help with regard to maximising the effectiveness of lower quality cameras and formats. Franny made a couple of seminally important documentaries before The Age of Stupid, including 'Drowned Out' and 'McLibel', which demonstrated the power of alternative independent production being capable of deeply unsettling powerful bullies, to say the least. Iconoclasm is one of the most viable pathways for film makers to maintain sustainability while operating out side of established bubbles and presumptions.

    2 years ago
  • Hi John,
    It's a small world in the film business indeed. I met Franny when we both for a time had the same Pro Bono legal representation. Stephen Millicent was giving her legal advice preparing to defend the 'McLibel' case and we met in their offices in the evening whilst waiting for the paying clients to finish up, when they very kindly took the time to give their Pro Bono/free clients council. We were at the time preparing to take a case to the European Courts after our feature "Boy Meets Girl" 1994 was banned by the censor for openly criticizing the way the film censors worked then in the UK, namely forcing cuts of realistic violence whilst passing incredibly uncut, totally unrealistic comic book violence as acceptable and less likely to damage viewers or prurient viewing.
    Many thanks, Ray

    2 years ago
    • It is a small world Ray. Interesting case you tell of. I'm always a sucker for challenging statutory authorities, any authority will do!! How did that 'Boy Meets Girl' case go? Did you succeed?

      2 years ago
  • Sorry for my tardy response John. We were just set to roll when another film failed in an attempt to reverse a decision made by the board ref Wiki: "In 1996, Wingrove challenged the British Board of Film Classification, which has refused to grant a distribution certificate for his short film "Visions of Ecstasy" on the grounds that it was blasphemous, at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He claimed that the ban breached Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and was disproportionate.[1] Wingrove's case was supported by the notable figures such as authors Salman Rushdie[2] and Fay Weldon,[3] and film director Derek Jarman,[4] however The Court dismissed the claim and accepted that the criminal law of Blasphemy, as it was applied in England, did not infringe the right to freedom of expression under Article 10. In 1994". Though Nigel's film was banned for a completely different reason our council felt under the circumstances we would find it too difficult to continue to pursue a highly expensive case against the BBFC at that time, we were advised to stop and to wait for some time before trying. It took seven years for the time to be right, when I was contacted unofficially with the advice to resubmit, which I did and my film "Boy Meets Girl" was passed completely uncut, not a single frame, without a legal battle, not even a whimper, but by then Ferman had lost control of the board and several other films that he had personally taken a disliking to managed to then pass certification, and most importantly violence in films was allowed to be shown realistically, as shocking and disturbing as it should be to see. Below is a link on Vimeo where if your curious, you can copy and paste it into your browser to watch where I recently spoke briefly about the issue, please jump along the timeline to 21mins in to reach the appropriate point:
    Regards Ray

    2 years ago
    • Cheers for the link Ray. I now feel that I've almost met you in the flesh!!! The case re Boy meets Girl, and others, starkly underlines how problematic it is with giving too much 'judicial' power to an individual or even a panel. They used to execute people for minor crimes only 150 odd years ago. The change in attitude over just seven years with this censorship case reveals just how backward and reactionary are too many who sit atop power pyramids. As with the Orwellian system of the corrupt judging the rightious. The judgement of the European Court of Human Rights also reminds us that even those institutions, commonly held to be enlightened and progressive, can't be relied upon to be so. The relatively swift example of revisionism proves it. Even though the Internet is full of bullshit and nastiness it's also the greatest single source of progressive enlightenment currently on offer short, of Cosmic Consciousness.

      Congratulations for your award and persaverence too.

      2 years ago
  • I'm very interested in what you're finding out about online distribs.

    My own case study is my recent feature doc ALL THE WILD HORSES. The film was in production for 3 years, being filmed in Mongolia over 3 summers.

    An early mistake was to agree to work with a UK exec producer who'd approached me in his role as a well known UK indie distributor. It's taken me a year and a half to finally just about prise his claws open and nearly — but still not entirely — throw him off the project again.

    Distribution-wise, the film has lurched everywhere. We premiered in Galway and unexpectedly won Best Feature Doc, and then kept winning across the States and Canada. This allowed us to sell to Hulu, Amazon, Sundance Selects, Canal Plus, RTÉ in Ireland and Iceland. But UK itself still hasn't sold, because I believe no serious buyer will touch this UK outfit.

    The film did screen in around 40 screens in the UK, but the main objective was to get national papers to review the film.

    We had a huge amount of interest way before the film was even finished, because it is a very niche subject matter and n-one has managed to film it before. Once the film started its festival run this worldwide interest wasn't seriously capitalized on by the sales agent. The whole promotion of the film, the festival wins, the thousands of followers were all generated by the producers but not really followed up by the sales agent.

    I think this translated into patchy sales. Even with what sounds like impressive sales, and a small overall budget, we still haven't broken even.

    We've now started experimenting with four-walling in a few countries, with Dutch, German and Italian subtitles to start with. And this has been a big eye-opener. If you go to the countries, and the towns and regions where your subject matter strikes a chord (in our case adventure, travel and horses) you get a response. With our first cinema in Holland (a single cinema) we sold £3k of tickets in 3 weeks, and we're only starting. Same in the States, and Germany and Italy are starting right now. I had really given up hope regarding cinema releases, but as it turns out, the UK is a really bad example for what is possible, because UK audiences and/or buyers are too lethargic.

    So we're going to do a lot more theatrical releases, across Europe and Australia, NZ and the States before we move to DVD on demand next year.

    Do you think the only real way to generate more online sales on Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo and YouTube rentals is to drive audience there? We haven't done that at all yet even though we are on all these platforms, because we feel we haven't even exploited cinema in most territories. But maybe it would be fiancially better to create a strong drive online?

    2 years ago
    • Wow, what an amazing project. I guess your costs were high, travel, crew etc? You must have made a decent sum from this... And Netflix/Amazon weren't interested in buying it outright?

      2 years ago
  • Hi Ivo,
    Firstly welcome to this forum and thank you for your input. Secondly, thank you for sharing and kudos for what you have managed to achieve so far. Three years making a film and it seems like three years selling and promoting a film I completely understand. Independent filmmakers start out planning and making a feature-length film often do not realize that when completed that they are only then half way there. Finding sales and distribution to reach a large audience means learning many more skills, wearing different hats and sometimes a lot of trial and error to reach your goals. This is the reason why most feature filmmakers only make one film, less than half two, ten percent then go on to make three or more. Until you establish yourself, identify a loyal audience and learn how to handle the sales and promotion side of filmmaking you and your associates will find that money continues to flow out of your accounts whilst struggling to manage to bring in any revenues. The reason why some filmmakers give up is simply that they have exhausted all their money in trying to reach the break-even goal (plus experience).
    I love the fact that you are having such success with four-walling, old school, really old school as in that is the way that cinema started out, filmmakers making their films and then hiring out whatever venues they could hire inexpensively and charging admission to watch. Cons you have to be there organizing and running the events (when you would much greatly prefer to be off making another film), Pros: there are no middlemen or gat keepers taking huge/the majority of revenue and then throwing you pennies for your efforts for you to pick up from the gutter.
    I once met Melvin Van Peebles that told how to made a lot of money screening his film "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (1971) simply because he knew that since no films were being made representing black people that he needed to make one, then when he did he couldn't get the screen owners to let him show his film for fair amounts of money, even though when he did screen he sold out and had round the block queues waiting to watch the next screening, what did he do, he hired out alternative venues and finally managed to start really earning money. He followed the money and reached his target audience. We all as filmmakers when setting out to make a film need to plan ahead, need to prepare to be able to do this. Expecting that making a great film that wins festivals will be enough to jump-start a career is just not very likely. Only a few really lucky people, in the right place at the right time ever manage to achieve this. Setting out knowing that the marketing, promotional, sales side of things will have to be dealt with after completing our films is a reality in a world controlled by huge greedy corporations and duplicitous middlemen that have a nose for taking advantage of a naive filmmaker who has made a great film, been there, seen it, was it, learned the hard way but still here trying to make headway.
    Yes, digital distribution is easier and more profitable than traditional DVD, Bluray, 4K UltraHD distribution and it's inherent expensive costs and finding trustworthy honest distribution outlets and wholesalers. Testing the waters by as much research as you can afford the time to make so that you can then extremely cautiously/carefully pick the right companies to go with that best suit your film is the tricky part to digital distribution.
    More Anon soon in regard to answering your question more directly, sorry have to work now.
    Regards Ray

    2 years ago
  • Thanks for sharing your experiences Ivo. Everyone of us who have actually done something of real substance in trying to find a pathway to some kind of independent viability can provide experience based realities that contribute to solving this distribution issue.

    Your Mongolian story sounds lovely. Why hasn't it had a terrestrial broadcast? Possibly because broadcasters only want to buy limited transmission rights to programmes that they didn't commission and don't own. Rarely does the transmission fee meet production costs unless multiple broadcasts and territories can be achieved. It's interesting that you're having some progress with internationalising the film. It's a bit of a 'Long Tail' business model thing. Before the digital age of limited communication, essentially before our Saint Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, niche interest productions could only be afforded through public broadcasters. The Long Tail means that all those niche interested folk can be joined together no matter how geographically fragmented around the world they may be. Consequently those niches are now big enough to be viable. They also tend to be much more enthusiastic and supportive of their interest than most.

    The long tail is probably more effective with factual films that touch those niche interests in a progressive or supportive way than with fiction movies, unless those fiction movies do the same thing but poetically.

    What the 'long tail' has proven is that it's a business model that can achieve fully front loaded and fully rewarding budgets where that global niche interest is willing to fund a project up front for no other reason than to see it made and distributed freely on every platform. Quality and broadcast standards are essential so that films can be given freely to broadcasters. For maximum airing, time and territory limited exclusives can be given prior to general release.

    Other models are available.

    2 years ago
    • Hi John,
      All good stuff but I would like to put a magnifying glass over one point that you brought up namely: "Why hasn't it had a terrestrial broadcast? Possibly because broadcasters only want to buy limited transmission rights to programmes that they didn't commission and don't own." Always found this an anathema, to commission a feature film or doco costs millions so why after proving themselves internationally at film festivals by trial by fire do TV companies not acquire inexpensively independently produced product. In my whole film career of over twenty five years, I've only managed to sell one feature-length doc to C4 who paid half the production budget for the UK rights, which is standard, leaving the producers the rights to the ROW to recoup your other outstanding fifty percent. If there is anyone out there that knows how to broker deals or introduce films to broadcasters would you please say hello or get in contact, either on this list or by PM, please? Why is it vitally important to redress this problem? Well from my experience at film markets, the first question that buyers for foreign TV rights invariably
      ask is, does your film have a UK terrestrial broadcast deal in place? When you answer no they immediately see your film as a lower tier, straight to DVD/BluRay film and set their pricing levels around that as they believe that if you haven't made that benchmark your film is B movie or lower in quality, not understanding or appreciating that only a tiny, tiny percentage of multi-award winning feature films or docos are ever picked up by UK broadcasters, really maybe, incredibly one or two a year.

      2 years ago
    • @Ray Brady & @ John, I agree there seems to be a total oxymoron with regards to broadcast buy-in's vs commissions and makes zero sense. My feeling is that people like to feel they're involved and have creative input. If you let them have their say with a couple of amazing ideas like to use Futura Light for the credits or put a fade here or there, they feel they've had a significant input and feel a much stronger responsibility for the film. And the invested money will make them work a lot harder to bring the product to the market.

      An indie production will sell at WAY less than a commission. Also, our sales agent for example is fairly big, so their book is also fairly big, which means they sell cheaper and quicker and thus film up their pantry but it's not as good a deal for filmmmakers. Like Sainsburys working with lots of farmers and product and a low price, so no one but Sainsburys and their customers (in our case networks) wins.

      My new production is set up completely differently, with a large MG so that the sales agent has already committed to working hard to make back the MG and then turn a profit.

      2 years ago
  • Well done Ivo. Or should I say well doing since you're not there yet. Good posting. You could almost do one of those old Hollywood pix from the 30s?40s about making a pic about making a pic. I can remember several of these from my childhood. It stimulated me to start thinking (or scribbling) again a short story that got some praise into a viable screen-play. Yeah I can see it! It's all there in my head. Until I read your post Ivo. Damned if I could handle all that aggro. I was going to say 'but keep at it' which is of course superflous because you are doing. Good on ya mate.

    2 years ago
    • @Allen I am keeping at it. I can't find any other employment so I'm working from project to project trying to get better commissions and /or MGs as I go, get better at finding/pitching clean stories with a better idea who your audience is, and a screenwriting background helps I feel.

      Don't be dissuaded by my post. Just trust your first instinct when it comes to potential collaborators. If there's no IMDb record, its just bs. The UK film industry is absolutely awash with self-entitled "industry veterans" (shudder) that still like to think of themselves as big fish because they go to Cannes every year or teach a couple of filmmaking courses or they're Bafta members and like to overshare that on Fb, but actually they're only big fish in a bottom-feeding cottage industry that caters to aspiring filmmakers, and whose interest very much is to keep aspiring filmmaker just that, aspiring. Instead, you can go your own way, you can call it another lonely day :-) but you'll get the thing made!

      2 years ago
  • Hi Ivo,
    Very interested to know based on your past recent success (kudos) if your minimal guarantees from your sales agent cover the full production budget? Did that dictate the production budget? Please understand that I'm not asking you to reveal any figures, but proportional percentages would be useful? Also I curious to know why your sales agent can't put in place a UK terrestrial broadcast deal of so kind, not the top ones who only ever screen what they've commissioned, but the second tier national broadcasters that do occasionally acquire/pick-up broadcast rights without committing budgetary expenditure and are up for possible first look acquisition deals even if they are only provisional, may become useful in your distribution strategy? Also, could you or your sales agents possibly reach out to Netflix, Amazon, BT, Facebook or whatever company is this year aggressively buying into the market trying to establish themselves as a new player as opposed to the past dictators, or ironically kingmakers if you are invited into the fold, namely the BBC etc commissioners and their heads of acquisition?
    Regards Ray

    2 years ago
  • Hey Ivo - 'big fish in a bottom feeding cottage industry' - I'm going to pinch that

    2 years ago
  • Points brought up that haven't been addressed and also some updates:
    1 "Why hasn't it had a terrestrial broadcast? Possibly because broadcasters only want to buy limited transmission rights to programmes that they didn't commission and don't own. Always found this an anathema, to commission a feature film or doco costs millions so why after proving themselves internationally at film festivals by trial by fire do TV companies not acquire inexpensively independently produced product."
    Any feature filmmaker with experience of doing a deal and selling their completed film to a UK Broadcaster acquiring pick-up rights to a film that they themselves didn't partly produce please let us all know who you did the deal with, Tv company and individual is possible please, say in the last five years would be very greatly appreciated.
    2 It is far easier to do your sales deal to Amazon via FilmHub.Com, yes FilmHub do take a small percentage of your earnings, but importantly they represent hundreds of films and are therefore far less likely to be given inaccurate sales numbers or treated poorly down-the-line after you have contracted with them, also when you submit a film to FilmHub they let filmmakers know exactly what deliverables they require to satisfy all their buyers, so once you have passed through the submission process you know that every part of your deliverables will look optimum wherever they are then used.
    3 Do you have any updates since your last posting for us all please Ivo?
    4 re the title of this thread "Fair and exploitative distribution revenues available to indie filmmakers",
    my research results are in from Mowies, though initially promising I sadly would not be able to recommend their V.O.D. platform for distribution unless it was your first and only platform for distributing your film. Sadly once again it fails to promote titles that are not at the top of their sales board, some films are heavily promoted (as in appear either as a single page or in a very truncated list of available film options, without having to find and then search for the full list of available titles), on the plus side, you set the revenue amounts, payments to content providers are almost instant and viewers are encouraged to join as new members and pay for content by being given some free credit to watch when joining, but without any noticeable advertising or marketing being done sadly the platform as a whole will continue to remain very niche and underdeveloped.
    5 I'm still hoping to find a V.O.D platform that works as clearly and efficiently as FilmHub in its provision of sales and revenue information that has a large self-promotional/marketing budget to draw in a larger membership and therefore sales. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to find a globally recognized V.O.D. company that is open and honest about sales figures whilst also providing timely revenue payments to the filmmakers that provide content.
    6 Sadly there still seems to be no middle ground with the big net distribution companies. They seem to be very happy to throw huge amounts of money at established name filmmakers for pet projects (which always generates huge amounts of press coverage for them), whilst excluding all the other ninety nine per cent of their content providers with any form of sales figures and numbers or the chance to earn fair revenues for their produced accepted content. OK some are far worse than others (I'm talking about you YouTube), but while they are all making globally land grabs into production as mini studios I'm still hoping that one of them will set out a fair and policy of practice that provides clear statistical information being given to their content providers and revenue streams that are also fair and paid, at the very least, monthly.

    Footnote: What am I trying to do. Find producing allies to enable a cross-collateralized branded slate of five or more inexpensive genre feature films with high production values, also with the intent to create a TV series in the same vein, if this interests you please do get in touch.


    2 years ago
    • Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Even though I haven't used them, I came to roughly the same conclusion after doing a bit of research on Mowies. My view is that I think they're missing a trick, I can see what they're wanting to achieve but I do think it's the self serving aspect that would be letting me down as an indie film maker, and I guess I wouldn't be alone.
      Of course it's imperative we drive traffic to our own products but there also needs to be a bit of marketing help from them too, not just pushing the popular titles so they can capitalise on their cut.
      A small note that was a little frustrating, I found their site a little clunky, I kept getting pages in their original language even though I clicked English, I can't remember the country they're from as it was a while back.
      I think they could have a lost opportunity on their hands. I could be wrong.

      I like the sound of what you're trying to achieve and would be interested in chatting with you on it.

      2 years ago
  • "Mowies INC" is a Spanish language website
    The company address is: Avenida El Poblado 1 S-106, Medellin, Antioquia 050022, Colombia
    Company size: 11-50 employees
    (Please note: Not to be confused with "Movies" which is a United States exclusive, digital-locker solely, cloud-based operation, owned by The Walt Disney Company)
    Curiously, after doing a search for "Mowies" and "" on the pro two references and distributors come up USA and NP, but no contact names, staff, C.E.O. or addresses are stated on there or any connections to any films whatsoever. So a bit of an enigma, anyone got any more information other than what's stated on their own website?

    Greatly looking forward to meeting soon Philip

    2 years ago
  • My experience of distribution is just recently making my money back on a film I was DP on (I didn't get paid for my time and forked out expenses myself). It's a genre movie, got into Frightfest and that was enough (with a decent amount of social media promo) to get distribution in various territories, physical DVD sales in the UK, Amazon prime and Sky movies. It's got two names "Fever" and "Mountain Fever". I think it cost around £25K and we've recouped, which is tiny considering we shot in the alps and had a big spooky house for a location.

    this is not a way to make a living though... The director is using that money he got back to move on to his next project, which may or may not make more money, but we both work in the industry and make money doing our day jobs. I suppose this is the Christopher Nolan model!

    The problem is there is a lot of talent out there trying to break through in the same way.

    2 years ago
    • @Michael
      A really great start, you've probably made and learned from a few mistakes and got lots of press and exposure for your personal C.V's and press books. Most importantly you made your money back, which has already put you in the rare company of successful first-time filmmakers, rather than the unfortunate ninety-five of first time feature filmmakers that are the percent that does not make their money back, or make any real sales, or achieve any form of professional distribution, national or international. So Kudo to you all for what you have achieved and bloody well done. Now, I suggest you arrange to meet up and discuss how you could have improved on your first feature, right from development through to sales and marketing, make an improved plan and then double down. Yes, go again but try this time to make a film that gets into major competitions and finds you an attractive pick-up deal from a international distribution company, one that can if they wish to buy your completed film for say, one to five million dollars outright, then you would find an awful lot of doors opening to you, great paid deals being put on the table, start to perhaps live the dream. I know easier said than done, I've been working on the above same plan for twenty years plus now and still haven't cracked it, but from every film made I learn a little more, so that the odds of successfully achieving the plan get smaller.
      Regards Ray Brady

      2 years ago
    • @Ray Brady
      Thanks Ray, sounds like a plan!! Funnily enough the director wants to make a documentary about dogs and wants me to shoot it... I can see where he's coming from in a commercial sense but I'm not sure I want to commit the time to it.

      2 years ago
    • @Michael Lebor
      Hi Michael,
      I learned the hard way that in the embryonic stages of your filmmaking career it is better to stick to projects in the same genre as I did exactly the same, going from making a relatively high profile horror feature to then making a feature length doco that was broadcast on C4 to acclaim, but everyone said to me why did you do that, as it wasn't at all a logical filmmaking progression. When starting out as a filmmaker you can, therefore, maximize on any relevant contacts established and most definitely this is the case when it comes to social media, connections to festivals, marketing by sales agents and the press. The awareness and momentum that you have managed to build up and achieve with the success of "Mountain Fever", your first horror feature, will be completely negated if you switch now from horror to a different genre, even morefold by crossing from a narrative to documentary as your next film. I know sometimes you have to just follow the money and do whatever your financiers suggest or alternatively we all would like to think of ourselves as doing a Kubrick, namely jumping from genre to genre and making a classic film in each before moving on but, please do recommend to your director to consider trying to develop another horror feature on the side of the dog doc, that could be perhaps the next project that follows immediately after it if you go ahead with the doc as to make headway in that genre will be a lot easier now that you have proved yourselves as possible future contenders, so to speak and just my personal recommendation.
      Kindest regards Ray Brady

      2 years ago
  • What REALLY freaks me out is watching very good films made BY Netflix, ON Netflix... it's like Walmart making their own guns. Is our industry ready or this assault on independent cinema?

    2 years ago
    • Hi Michael,
      Netflix, Amazon, Disney owned ESPN, HBO, CBS, AT&T, Apple, Rakuten (announced today), BBC, C4 & BT and soon to be WarnerMedia (I probably missed loads, sorry) now moving into production is really great news. OK, lots of new gatekeepers, but they are bound to create diversity as they try to create theirs owns recognizable brands. Instead of half a dozen huge monolithic studios controlling fifty percent of production and ninety percent of the cinematic distribution, now they have series competition, their risks are covered by TV streaming enabling them to take chances on films like Alfonso Cuarón modern masterpiece Roma. Yes, the majority will watch the film on huge TV's but many like me appreciated that they had funded the film in the first place and made it available for cinematic screenings. You could be cynical and say that they were only made to meet the Academy's stipulations, but the prints went out and were widely watched and very greatly appreciated. So I don't really care who gets into funding future productions, Coca Cola, Jim Beam, Nike and even Walmart as long as funding is been given to hundreds of diverse filmmakers rather than the studios making twenty to thirty films a year with average budgets of fifty million I'm personally loving it and feeling very optimistic about the way distribution is going and I believe that independent cinema will thrive because of this development. Exciting times indeed!
      Regards Ray
      PS Please feel free to add any streaming distribution companies that I missed, especially new companies to the market.

      2 years ago
  • That's good to hear Ray. I'm agnostic to what the effects might be.

    I'm hoping to get my film Buddy Goes to Nollywood on the Nollywood section of Netflix, but have no idea how to go about trying... I do have a contact but might not be in the right department and I think I need to keep raising the profile first.

    2 years ago
    • FYI Micheal the following was announced by Variety a few days ago "
      HOME TV NEWS MARCH 20, 2019 6:30PM PT
      Netflix’s Lisa Nishimura Named Indie Film, Documentary Features Head
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      In the wake of Bela Bajaria’s recent move to lead Netflix’s international non-English original TV series, the online streamer is shuffling its leadership team to more clearly distinguish between development of its English and non-English language content.

      As a result, Netflix has elevated Lisa Nishimura to vice president of independent film and documentary features, a shift from her prior post as VP of original documentary and comedy programming. She will now oversee independent film, English and non-English documentary features, documentary shorts and limited documentary series"
      Kindest regards Ray

      2 years ago
  • @Al Carretta and @Michael Lebor
    Hi Michael, check back further down this discussion is Al's really useful comments on the film the following aggregators:


    Quiver Digital

    Aggregators usually charge a handling commission to get your film before a Netflix commissioning editor but sometimes will work off a commission from any sales made via them. Worth contacting and see what they come back to you with after viewing your film. A rough definition of film aggregator as follows: a volume distributor. These film distributors take on as many films up as they can and then release them into the digital marketplace to see what gains traction. I really like Filmhub their fees are very reasonable, haven't had any success with Netflix yet but it's most probably down to in all honesty looking at the previews available and then deciding that my films aren't for them rather than not taking the time to look.
    . I've heard horror stories of aggregators asking for thousands in advance to get your film onto Netflix only then to turn around and say that they passed on it, sorry, so any aggregator that takes no advance and only ten percent commission on actual sales gets my vote even if they oly pay out per quarter, which is pretty standard in film royalties historically.
    Purchased a DVD copy of "Fever" from Ebay and will get back to you Michael as soon as I have the time to view it.
    Secondly, I watched Al's latest short film "As the Frost Glistens Or: The Envious Temptation of Redemption by Forgiveness" and was very impressed. Fantastic low-budget intriging short. Kudos Al superb production design and I really liked your script and performance. Just goes to show what you can achive on a miniscule budget with a bit of ingenuity.
    Regards Ray Brady

    2 years ago
  • Nice one Ray, that's very helpful, thank you! I hope you enjoy the film, it's fairly light on dialogue, quite slow and moody so not everyone's cup of tea! But pretty good I think considering the budget etc.

    2 years ago
  • Hi Michael, managed to watch it last night, I really enjoyed your cinematography, didn't realise that you also produced it ( well stated in the credits)? Well done for getting a feature made and for getting it out there as always good to hear about another Shooting People success story. Looking forward now to seeing your latest "Buddy Goes to Nollywood", is it out anywhere at the moment, I know that you're still trying to it onto Netflix, but wondered if it was up and available any other distribution platforms yet like Amazon?
    Ray Brady

    2 years ago
  • Hi Ray,

    Thanks for watching the film. The producer credit was for investing time, equipment and my expenses, so not really producing in the real sense :) We shot in France and a local girl who was 18 at the time managed to go from production assistant to producer within a couple of weeks of pre prod! She was great.

    Buddy Goes to Nollywood is just entering a few more festivals. I found it quite useful last week being at the lift off in Manchester, it was the first time I'd seen it in front of an audience and it was interesting to hear the feedback and it scored well on the feedback cards (8.8 out of 10 average from 24 people to be precise!).

    I am about to move on to try for distribution of some sort. I'll definitely look at the platforms you've mentioned here. I did apply online to Gravitas Ventures a few days ago, I can't remember what led me to them though...

    There's one called "The Orchard" that look interesting and I met the CEO once. A friend of mine has a Dogwoof commission possibly in the pipeline and he's keen to get it in front of them (although I don't think it's a great fit for them).

    Here's the website, which has the new poster and trailer.

    I might work on the trailer before it's presented to Dogwoof. let me know what you think!

    2 years ago
    • Hola, in Marrakech at the moment shooting so my reception is sketchy. Dogwood are one of the best independent small distribution labels going at the moment but they have specialised in award winning documentaries not narrative drama which I thought Buddy goes... Was? The test screening with LiftOff clearly went very well and all any any any notes from an unbiased audience to use to help you decide the final locked film edit and trailer will be invaluable. I would greatly recommend yet a further test screening after you have made any revisions as any opportunities to improve your edited material before showing to potential distribotrs is essential as you only get one shot at each of them and there is only a small number of trust worthy and capable ones out there that would consider taking an indie film without a name involved as such films are always a very hard sell especially if they haven't yet garned lots of major festivals awards and exposure.
      Regards Ray

      2 years ago
  • Thanks Ray, Very true about the one shot at each distributor. I often rush into things because I get bored of waiting!

    Buddy Goes to Nollywood is a documentary so it would suit Dogwoof in that sense. I think I need to be selected at better festivals to stand a decent chance of being noticed though, even if my friend has an in with them now.

    good luck shooting in Marrakech! Anything fun? I might have been on holiday there now if it wasn't that my daughter had chicken pox and couldn't travel.

    Best wishes,


    2 years ago
    • I've been guilty of that myself, namely being so Keen to get the film out there, not taking the time to polish and tweak the finished film and promotional materials to the very best of their full potential. It takes years to plan, fund, cast and produce an indie feature, but sadly often little budget and time in allocated towards the marketing and promotional of the finished film which is the work that enables to reach a large audience. Working backwards this time, am focusing on those elements first before rushing into my next feature production as I now want to create an audience and interest to see the finished film before I actually go ahead and begin planning shooting.
      Oh...I hope your daughter is well on the road to recovery Michael.
      Regards Ray

      2 years ago
  • There are good distributors out there, but you have to do your due diligence to find them. It's easy if you use IMDBPro to identify producers that have worked with anyone you are considering. Make sure they have a year's worth of experience and ask if they get paid quarterly, get detailed reports and are accessible. Also find out what marketing support there is. If you do this, you will find someone to help you. As long as you have a good film, it doesn't matter if it cost $10,000 or $200,000, it's possible to be financially successful with a distributor. My company, Indie Rights has many ultra low-budget filmmakers making good money.

    There are many advantages to signing with a distributor - expanded exposure, more territories (2 territories if you DIY, but 120 if you use the right distributor), access to outlets that are not available without a distributor, like TubiTV, cable, etc.

    Don't discount Amazon. I see so many filmmakers complaining about the low payrate. The point you are missing is that it is better to have a million eyeballs on your film that might review and share about it than to have 100 that pay for it on TVOD. We have small films that have made over $20,000 a month on paid transactional and others that are making more on Prime. That being said, you MUST be willing to accept some responsibility for what we call "Post, Post". This is the final and longest phase of production. If you fail to embrace "Post, Post", you most likely fail to be profitable.

    This is a great time for independent filmmakers if they take the time and make the effort to learn about distribution. As the major studios like NBC/Universal, Disney and Warner Bros, get into the streaming wars, it will be more important than ever to find a great distributor to work with. There a great list on Sundance's website. You can find it here:

    1 year ago
  • Hi Linda,
    Thank you so very much for taking the time to contribute to this thread, really wonderful to have input from someone actually working in sales and distribution. Your experience will hopefully shed some light on some of the present almost unfathomable areas of modern-day revenue streams collection. For decades I sold my films territory by territory, legal contracts were expensive to negotiate and even when contracts were agreed and signed income collection agreements often were not honored, which is difficult for indie filmmakers, for you are fully aware that to litigate would cost more in lawyers fees than the amount being chased, whilst distributors like your self can minimalize this problem through having developed long term relationships with your buyers that they wouldn't want to risk jeopardising your trusted relationship for just one film. The problem with distribution today, on the whole, is the entry into the market and dominance by huge global players like Netflix, Amazon etc, why? Because from them it is very difficult to get any figures from (being so protective of giving anything away to their competitors), blockchain may yet save us, small independents, though. I know and appreciate how to be widely distributed is a blessing in its self, via Amazon I can make sales all over the world in every territory. But whilst this is all well and good without the numbers of viewers and other vital demographic statistical information being held back it is impossible to be able to grow a business, prove the performance of titles to use when seeking investment for future productions. There also seems to be a huge divide between what famous directors are paid for their films compared to the ninety-nine point five percent other product suppliers get, whilst I appreciate that these huge deals get a load of promotional exposure and new subscribers, it still means that every one that isn't able to get production finance or huge neg pick-up deals is left hardly anything, approx fifteen pence per view. OK make better films that win major awards and festivals and things might change but it is so hard to do this when you are being paid peanuts for your last expensive (in time and energy at least) film, any thoughts or advice please would be very greatly appreciated?
    Lastly, though I pretty much have a good understanding of delivering "Post, Post" I would love to hear, in your professional opinion, your comprehensive list of "Post, Post", if possible please in case I am missing anything? I always advise people making a feature that making a feature film is only have your journey, selling your film to recoup its costs and reaching a wide audience is the second half of the whole. Without putting in your time and effort to deliver your film properly, taking the time to market, promote to enable sales is the part of filmmaking that so many filmmakers fail to appreciate or put the time into believing wrongly, that their film will simply be a smash hit at a major festival and then get neg pick-up by a major company that will then invest their own money to market and promote the film into becoming a box office smash, something that happens for less then a tenth of one per cent and if then, nothing going back to the filmmakers on top of the original deal payment.
    Many, many thanks, Linda
    Kindest regards Ray Brady

    1 year ago
    • "Post, Post" is a long term comprehensive marketing strategy. It involves understanding how to set up your social media and optimize it for maximum exposure. Once set up properly, it doesn't take all that much time to maintain. We teach all our filmmakers how to do this and the strategy involves using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, a Youtube Channel and garnering reviews on each platform where your film is available along with getting reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. The strategy involves understanding who your audience is, where they hang out online and how to engage with them. Paid advertising is optional, but can accelerate growth.

      The key for truly indie filmmakers is to keep your budget as low as possible while you build up a body of work. If you really embrace "Post, Post", you will be setting up an annuity type revenue stream that will at some point finance your films. Streaming is replacing DVD, Bluray and even broadcast at a rapid rate and growing exponentially across the globe. We all need to learn to find out how best to make sure that our content gets noticed.

      1 year ago
  • Hi Linda,
    Many thanks for taking the time to respond and clarify. Very greatly appreciated. If and when you have any thoughts about Blockchain, preparation needed prior to attending film markets or any other exciting news in regard to sales and distribution developments and changes to present essential marketing materials, please do remember to revisit this thread and update us all as your insights and generous input would be very greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks
    Kindest regards Ray Brady

    1 year ago
  • I've now moved into the real life experience of getting my film Buddy Goes to Nollywood distributed (Thanks so much Ray for coming to see it this time last and reviewing it on IMDB!). I emailed a bunch of sales agents and found one who was interested in working with me, they then found a distributor who have just this week released it on Amazon, Apple TV (iTunes), Google Play, Sky maybe too..).

    It's a UK only deal and I doubt I'll make any money at all but we'll see. I think at best we'll get 14p of every £ spent on Amazon, I guess it's good kudos for future projects.

    I am also about to sign with a totally independent platform in Nigeria, which a film director who appeared in my documentary has started, called Nollyflix (if the Netflix legal team don't shut them down!). He is offering me a 60/40 split of gross revenue and apparently a totally transparent viewing counter, so you can log in to the back end of the website and see the data yourself, which apparently cannot be manipulated.

    So that sounds quite good.. The platform itself will spend money marketing their site and mine will be one of just a dozen or so titles so it could well make some sales. The director Moses Inwang (also the the founder of Nollyflix) has 3 of his own films on Netflix, which is an interest aspect of this. He must feel like the returns he is making on Netflix are not good enough so he's started his own platform.

    1 week ago
  • Hi Michael,
    Good to hear from you and that you have been making distribution headway, kudos.
    The amount paid to filmmakers per hour of viewing I agree quite pitiful, about twenty pence every time your movie is watched before tax and your delivery costs which can also be incredibly time-consuming. As an example, I have been selling films via Filmhub for several years, one very old film, my first Boy Meets Girl 1994 just received the following request:
    "We have noticed some errors with your listing of Boy Meets Girl and need to fix them before your listing can go live again and further channels can select your title. Note: this does not affect any of your current deliveries.

    Mandatory Fix(es) Needed:

    Artwork: Stretched - 1 or more image(s) has been stretched or narrowed in order to meet the aspect ratio requirements. Please provide artwork which has not been stretched or narrowed.
    Main: Pre-roll > 2s - There can be no slate or other pre-roll footage before program start. Program should start within 2 seconds of start of video file and should not be cut off. No cards should be on screen for more than five seconds. Please trim the top and re-upload the video.
    Captions [English]: Not in sync - Captions are either offset or drift in sync over time. Please upload a new caption file which is in sync with the picture.
    Trailer: Pre-roll > 2s - There can be no slate or other pre-roll footage before program start. Program should start within 2 seconds of start of video file and should not be cut off. No cards should be on screen for more than five seconds. Please trim the top and re-upload the video.
    Trailer: Post-roll > 2s - There can be no extra footage after program ends, or the end is cut off. Please upload a new video.
    Highly Recommended Fix(es):

    Chapters: Missing or inexact - Chapter markers are not available or not every 8-12 minutes, within 2 minutes of end credits, or on scene cuts. We recommend adding chapter markers for ease-of-navigation of your title and for AVOD use.
    Trailer: Interlaced occasionally - The video is occasionally interlaced, probably due to use of mixed media. Please fix this error if possible and re-upload the video.
    Once you have made the necessary changes, please submit your listing again for review. We will then review your listing within 5 business days.

    If you have further questions, please review our Asset Requirements:"

    If I were to take the time to make the requested amendments (several of which are non-sensical since they would involve re-editing the film and trailer to amend intentional integral stylistic elements of the film and therefore would never agree or allow be changed or edited under any circumstances), it would take weeks of effort, re-encoding and uploading, all that for such an old title, all for the potential minimal further sales at minuscule payments per viewing that you mentioned just wouldn't make financial sense.
    I guess what I'm trying to say in a roundabout way is that in my experience I'm finding that buyers and distribution outlets are demanding ever-increasing delivery list of deliverables to their specifications whilst offering ever-decreasing payments in reward for independents films. Sadly I expect this to get worse as it is a buyers market and the key players, the gatekeepers are now more powerful than the studios used to be. I can only hope that the delivery requirements in Nigeria are less exhausting.

    Looking forward to seeing what you have been working on since we met Michael.
    Until then, stay safe.
    Ray Brady

    6 days ago
  • Oh boy... that sounds horrendous. Trying to fix interlaced footage from many years ago in your trailer.. eek.

    I guess that's one good function of the distributor I'm working with, they have QC'd the film and are a trusted aggregator (or whatever it is that they do...). They also added a 15 second animated logo to the start of my trailer and film, which is fairly annoying but pushing back on that was useless.

    It's astonishing how little the filmmakers get, Amazon may take 50%, the distributor takes 50% of what's left (why? what have they done to deserve that?!) and my sales agent takes 20% (a more reasonable amount for their hard work). there would be no film if we didn't put £1,000's of our own money and months or years of our time into it. Absolutely bonkers...

    I'm looking at Filmhub but not sure I can see the value in it unless VOD platforms and streamers really rake through the library of films to find what they are looking for. Not sure how likely that is to bring results?

    I'm looking forward to more niche platforms opening up, I have some hope for the Nigerian platform, but perhaps I'm being naive! I guess we need to make commercial decisions on what we make films about and try and fill a niche that has a pre-existing audience.

    6 days ago
  • I can very highly recommend selling via Vimeo. It is the highest paying platform by a country mile. Also, they pay fast, video and streaming quality is excellent and the initial uploading process is simple and completely painless. I'm becoming quite disenchanted with Filmhub their reach is huge but earnings minute, payment slow.

    5 days ago