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Shooting People
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So, do you really want your film in the multiplexes? (Not a festival, but proper distribution?)

Aargh! We always talk about distribution, but it's mostly a bunch of hot air by people who make documentaries and corporate things, or maybe television, or who are too cowardly to approach anybody in the industry.

How many people here actually have contacts at Disney, Sony releases, Lionsgate, eOne, Odeon, and the big distributors and cinema chains? How many can actually know what the men and women who work for the distributors really want, what makes them tick, what makes them decide what to show?

How many of us have access to the top marketing companies, and to old timers who made the classic British films that won the world over?

The answer is, all of us. We can all take a free course (I've already been through it) that is fun and informative, on futurelearn (free for a limited time only, then you'll have to pay.) I've been through it, and am amazed at the level of talent involved, and even more amazed at the level of candor (they really spill the beans about the industry.)

Yes, I've read books about distribution, but this format can really work, and this is more fun than books.

NOTE: If there are young children, or people who are easily offended, in the same room, I suggest you skip the trailer for "I Tonya." Let's just say, I'm glad the kids were out when I played that one, considering the language used. Spend more time on creating your own Ferdinand poster instead. That's fun.

Okay, the link:

No, I don't have stake in this course. I simply want you all to take it so that you become more educated, and have more interesting discussions rather than blowing hot air with your mindless conjecture. :) And, after you're done, and see the more accurate data presented, and learn how to recognise better sources, you'll be able to teach me a thing or two about film distribution. ;)

Happy Shooting,

  • Cheers for the heads up about Futurelearn Vasco. It might be just the thing for those budding movie producers wanting to move up that particular food chain.

    Clearly those distributors and cinema operators have evolved their business models in concert with the market forces that have, and still do, inhabit their reality bubbles, to the tune of billions of money units. The 'success' of productions where the marketing and promotion budgets have been huge and even bigger than the production budget says a lot. It used to be, until only recently, that 'straight to video' was a derogatory term, but the exponential growth of online platforms has created business and distribution vectors that reach as many and often more viewers than does cinema.

    Another factor in this equation is the evolution of leaner production costs. Whilst huge mega budget movies are being successfully distributed by the big studios, with super star casts that can eat up even more than half the budget, lean business methods exploiting the empowerment of low cost but powerful technologies (we've not seen anything yet with regard to the potential of digital) and the increasing readiness of frustrated talent to forgo the desire to become as rich as Croesus, has opened up opportunities to be independent of the traditional moguls.

    But all this 'how to successfully distribute your movie' stuff is somewhat moot. First one has to have a marketable product and an audience who might appreciate ones creation. Turds, whether polished or not, are still turds.

    2 years ago
  • John,
    Turds, marketed as manure, can still make a profit. :)

    Seriously though, there are a lot of bad films out there, yes. And, some of those somehow make money. Then again, there are some great ones, including sundance winners, that fail to get the audience they deserve because they aren't picked up by the right distributor, or they overlooked something until it's too late.

    Frozen River, Smoke Signals, this Spanish film about a boy and a train, Loving Vincent... I believe all these films could have brought in larger box offices and reached greater audiences than they did.

    If you took the course, you'd understand that marketing often begins at script stage. Sometimes, distributors will even commission the script.

    A lot of people are telling us there's a market for horror because there are so many horror films out there. That's like saying all farmers should grow nothing but wheat and baked beans, because those are the most popular genres of food. A farmer who is deciding what kinds of seed to grow should instead talk to the supermarkets, restaurants, and distributors, to find the gap in the market. And, filmmakers can benefit from doing likewise.

    2 years ago
  • OKay, y'all can ignore my mini-conversations with John if you like.

    Why aren't microbudget films in the cinema? Why does it seem that Disney franchises take over all the screens? How has digital changed the film industry?

    We see a lot of opinions, but why not hear it from the horse's mouth? And, added bonus, these guys from the industry, not low budget filmmakers but distributors with power to get films made an in the art houses and megaplexes, actually ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS!

    Filmmakers from all over the world are on this course, but it deals mostly with UK distribution, and the experts are the Brits working in distribution (for American, British, and Japanese companies.)

    2 years ago
  • Sadly Vasco, I imagine that there's not many high powered distributors following conversations on SP. Even more sadly there seems little to suggest that shorts and arthouse films are likely to find a viable commercially rewarding platform any time soon. I for one am grateful for the often excellent work that people create with little hope of financial reward. Valuable stepping stones towards a viable project or career they can often be though.

    2 years ago
    • Stepping stones? I've seen people make excellent shorts, and then their career stalls. Others make shorts that they show no one, because these shorts are amateur, and go on to become Robert Rodriguez, Steven Spielberg, M Night Shyamalan. (and others who are too controversial to mention at the moment.) Watch the extras of "The Village" for one of those that doesn't look like the filmmaker will go anywhere. (But he is probably the most talented director of his generation.)

      Short films are overrated as a stepping stone. Sure, they are great for learning, but just like the science fair you do as a kid, they don't make a career.

      2 years ago